Warning! This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 7.House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke addresses Queen Alicent Hightower’s complicated love for King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine). Set approximately 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the spinoff series centers on the familial conflict brewing within the House Targaryen following Viserys naming Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) as heir to the Iron Throne. With Viserys nearing death as his debilitating illness consumes his body, Alicent fears for the well-being of her children if Rhaenyra is ever to ascend to the highest position in all of Westeros.
Following the death of his first wife, Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), the King found comfort with Alicent. This eventually led Viserys to choose Alicent as his next wife, creating a rift between Alicent and Rhaenyra. As the years passed, Alicent birthed two sons and a daughter, however, the Queen continued to feel that Rhaenyra held Viserys’ favor above all. She found this to be true following an incident at Driftmark when her son fights both of Prince Daemon Targaryen’s (Matt Smith) daughters and Rhaenyra’s two sons, losing an eye in the process. In the aftermath, Alicent demands that the perpetrator have his eye taken in retribution, but Viserys denies her wish, causing Alicent to attack Rhaenyra in a blind rage. This marks a significant moment when Alicent realizes she must take matters into her own hands to secure the safety of her family.
While a guest on The Official Game of Thrones Podcast: House of the Dragon (via Collider), Cooke discussed Alicent’s complicated relationship with Viserys. The actor believes Alicent has a “genuine love” for her husband, developed over time and fostered by their mutual connection through their children. However, Cooke theorized that Alicent no longer respects Viserys based on his relationship with his daughter. Read what the actor said below.
I think so. I think she’s got a genuine love for Viserys. I think a fondness and a love have really grown, but I think that’s also because they have these children. But also, Alicent is almost like a primary caretaker for Viserys now in his various ailments.
But I don’t know if she respects him. I don’t know if she thinks that he’s the best ruler. I think she thinks he’s too soft and that’s probably because of the way he handles his relationship with Rhaenyra.
What Will Alicent Do Next In House Of The Dragon?
Cooke recognizes that Alicent has spent over a decade with Viserys and helped him through a great traumatic experience following the death of his wife. Alicent has stayed compassionate toward Viserys as he slowly deteriorates in front of her eyes. However, following the events of episode 7, any love for him that she may have had is likely gone as Viserys seemingly backed Rhaenyra’s children over his own. Along with the fact that he called her Aemma, Alicent may finally see her true value to the King.
With another time-jump set for House of the Dragon episode 8, Viserys will likely be on his deathbed, incapacitated by his illness. In his stead, Otto and Alicent will take the King’s responsibilities. Her new role threatens Rhaenyra’s ascension to the Iron Throne prompting her and Daemon to race back to King’s Landing to confront them. With Viserys finally a few breaths away from death, Alicent may make a desperate move to secure her eldest son’s claim to the throne, fracturing House Targaryen and pushing them to war.