The first episode of the Game Of Thrones prequel has LGBTQI viewers hoping that we’ll be given the queer lead we’ve always wanted

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY HBO/SKY

After just one episode The Game Of Thrones (GOT) prequel, House Of The Dragon (HOTD), has already become my entire personality. Despite GOT ending only three years ago, I was filled nostalgia as the camera panned over King’s Landing. I was very grateful to be immersed back into this world as we were introduced to all the new characters.

Set centuries before GOT, HOTD depicts the beginning of the Targaryen dynasty and follows Princess Rhaenyra (portrayed by both Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy) and Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) both set their eyes on the throne.

There were many moments of the episode that had me holding my breath through entire scenes. The acting, world building and characters were all exceptional. But what I wasn’t expecting were the “gay vibes” between Princess Rhaenyra and Lady Alicent (portrayed by both Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke). Their intimate “friendship” reminded me of women in history who historians love to refer to as “best of pals”. I’m not alone either, many viewers are very excited by this relationship.

It would be a huge deal if Princess Rhaenyra does get canonised as a queer leading character. Yes, GOT did have queer characters such as Loras Tyrell, Renly Baratheon, Yara Greyjoy and fan fave bisexual Oberyn Martell. However, they were all side characters, many of whom endured the “Kill Your Gays” trope, admittedly in very epic ways. However, despite being canonically bisexual in the books, fans were disappointed that the Mother Of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen’s queerness was never explored in the show. Many LGBTQI fans also resonated with and assumed Arya Stark was queer, and we weren’t alone, Maisie Williams was right there with us.

In an interview with Insider, the cast had this to say about the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent. “I’m just actually in love with Emily and so I think that’s it,” Milly joked.

“It’s something we brought up with Clare Kilner, one of the directors we also work with for the younger version of the characters,” Emily added. “It was something I was immediately conscious of when I read the script as a queer woman myself.” Emily shared that her initial reaction to the script was that Rhaenyra and Alicent are “in love a little bit”.

Olivia Cooke, who plays adult-Alicent, agreed with the assessment of their character. “When you have your first intense friendship, you’re throwing all these emotions at the other person and seeing which one sticks. And it’s incredibly complex, but very passionate.”

Non-binary actor, Emma D’Arcy, will be taking on the role of Rhaenyra as she ages up. In an interview with iNews Emma has this to say on the themes of gender and patriarchy in the show: “Rhaenyra is deeply interested in gender dynamics; she has really keen awareness for the different space that men and women are afforded.”

“She feels at odds with the way that she’s read. She feels like an inherent outsider that, despite their best efforts, and from a very young age, I think she’s seeking a way of living that feels authentic. I find that very moving.”

House Of The Dragon airs every Sunday at 9pm on HBO Max and Sky.

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@niccrosara

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