Here's Why Alicent Hates Rhaenyra In House of the Dragon

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon

HBO's House of the Dragon makes it clear that Olivia Cooke's Alicent Hightower harbors hate for Emma D'Arcy's Rhaenyra Targaryen, leaving many to wonder exactly why.

House of the Dragon Season 2 premiered on June 16 on HBO and Max, setting a frustrating record for the longest time between two seasons of a Game of Thrones series.

However, the season wasted no time reminding fans how much the two main characters hate each other.

Why Does Alicent Hate Rhaenyra?

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon

If the early episodes of House of the Dragon Season 1 taught fans anything, it is that Rhaenyra and Alicent were closer than sisters, making their current rivalry much more tragic.

Those episodes, specifically the pilot, also show how far apart the two have grown apart since being young girls.

Alicent's hate for Rhaenyra can't be pinpointed or blamed on just one occurrence but rather a steady flow of multiple acts. These acts caused the avalanche of anger in Season 1 when Alicent finally lashed out at Rhaenyra with Aegon the Conqueror's knife.

One obvious reason Alicent likely began to hate Rhaenyra is the way women were treated in Westerosi society at that time.

It was explained and showcased early in House of the Dragon Season 1 that women (especially women of royalty) mainly existed to bear children and cups.

Rhaenyra broke this mold when Viserys named her as his heir, thus putting the first straw on the camel's back.

In the coming years, Rhaenyra continued to live her life in a rather rebellious way. For example, Alicent learned of Rhaenyra's sexual relationship with Criston Cole (another added straw), as well as Rhaenyra visiting a brothel with Daemon and engaging in inappropriate relations with him.

While this is all happening, Alicent is a pawn in a political game controlled by her father, Otto. Otto wanted to ensure that his bloodline rose to an even more prominent position of power, explaining why he orchestrated the marriage between Alicent and Viserys.

So, while Rhaenyra was engaging in relationships with people such as Criston, Daemon, and then Harwin Strong outside of marriage, Alicent was forced to be in a relationship with Viserys and bear his children.

Speaking of Harwin Strong, Alicent also understood that Rhaenyra's children came from him and not her husband, Laenor Velaryon, which also frustrated her; she had children of her own (including sons) who had a much stronger claim to the Iron Throne than Rhaenyra's illegitimate children.

When Rhaenyra and Alicent's families were together at Driftmark and Lucerys slashed out one of Aemond's eyes, the camel's back finally broke, causing Alicent to lash out at Rhaenyra.

From there, things only got worse between Alicent and Rhaenyra.

What Is Next For Alicent & Rhaenyra?

As if tensions hadn't boiled over enough at Driftmark, fans will remember that the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent reached an even worse point when Aemond and Lucerys found themselves face-to-face at Storm's End in the Season 1 finale.

Although that confrontation did not directly involve Rhaenyra or Alicent, it was almost worse because it concerned their children.

Of course, the confrontation ended with Aemond (and Vhagar) killing Lucerys and Arrax, and, as the closing scene of Season 1 showcased, Rhaenyra was ready to start a war.

Without getting into any Fire & Blood spoilers, now that Blood and Cheese have killed [SPOILERS], that will give Alicent's hatred for Rhaenyra even more fuel. Since Rhaenyra is the queen of the Blacks, Alicent will undoubtedly blame this death on Rhaenyra.

House of the Dragon Season 1 is streaming on Max, and new episodes of Season 2 will be released every Sunday on HBO and Max at 9 p.m. ET.

Read more about House of the Dragon on The Direct:

Why Did Aegon Marry His Sister Helaena In 'House of the Dragon'?

House of the Dragon Family Tree Explained: Which Targaryens Have Dragons and Which Don't?

House of the Dragon Season 2 Release Date Schedule of Episodes Revealed

Is House of the Dragon Season 2 the Only HBO Game of Thrones Show In Development?

- In This Article: House of the Dragon (Season 2)
Release Date
June 16, 2024
Emma D'Arcy
Matt Smith
Olivia Cooke
- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.