Episode 5 of House of the Dragon lays crucial foundations for the continuation of the series. In particular, the color of the dress worn by Alicent Hightower has a special meaning.
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It’s a simple sentence, pronounced at the bend of a reception in House of the Dragon. A seemingly banal phrase, the importance of which has undoubtedly escaped those who discover the HBO series without having read the book first. Fire and Blood of George RR Martin from which it is taken. It is however crucial, with regard to the context in which it is released.
This sentence foreshadows the coming war in Westeros, the continent on which the plot takes place. At this point in the broadcast, it won’t surprise anyone that things are going to go wrong. Even without knowing Fire and Blood, HBO’s marketing went in that direction. Also, it remains the prequel to Game Of Throneswhere violence reigns supreme.
But if all that is said so far can hardly be akin to a spoiler, the explanations that follow will explicitly reveal to you the rest of House of the Dragon. We are going to have to explain the meaning of this sentence, as well as the meaning of the green dress that Alicent Hightower wears at this time. The whole sequence revolves around her.
A little background, first: the sequence takes place during the reception in honor of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon, whose political marriage is supposed to strengthen the links between the two ancient houses. The main powers of the continent are represented, since Rhaenyra is the daughter of Viserys, lord of the kingdom of the Seven Kingdoms.
But, at that time, Viserys’ future succession was already a problem: the king had failed to have a son with Aemma Arryn, his first wife. But in the kingdom of the Seven Kingdoms, a woman cannot claim the throne. He eventually resolves to prepare the ground for his daughter, Rhaenyra, even though he fears the conservative reaction of the people, who might reject her.
A widower, Viserys remarried Alicent Hightower. With her, he has a son: Aegon (Aegon II, precisely). A male child, the eldest of the children he had with Alicent (Helaena, Aemond and Daeron will follow). Since he is the king and she is the queen, Aegon appears as the rightful heir to the throne. But Viserys had promised to make way for his daughter Rhaenyra.
We see it: there is a conflict between Rhaenyra (and her future descendants) and Alicent (and her children). To this, one could add that the legitimacy of Viserys is partly disputed by Corlys Velaryon, the husband of Rhaenys Targaryen, the cousin of Viserys, since she could have been queen. It was, however, discarded in favor of Viserys in a vote of the main lords of the continent.
As the episodes go by, Alicent understands that Rhaenyra, whom she believed to be a sincere and selfless friend, actually turns out to be endowed with a character and an ambition she never knew existed. Alicent begins to perceive a threat to herself and her children. Because if Rhaenyra wants to take the throne, she will have to stifle any challenge. So kill the other bloodline.
A color that symbolizes a future faction in the war
It is in this context that we must interpret the green dress that Alicent wears at the reception: it is a harbinger of the war to come. For some guests, this color does not go unnoticed and the message is deciphered. This is shown in an exchange between Harwin and Larys, the two sons of Lyonel Fort, when Queen Alicent crosses the room to sit at her husband’s table.
” Hightower Harbor Lighthouse. Do you know what color it shines when Oldtown raises its banners in war? Larys asks. ” Green Harwin replies.
Villevieille is the seat of House Hightower. It is the stronghold of the family of Alicent, whose members also send him a message during the reception. ” Know that Villevieille stands by your side his uncle told him. The Hightowers intend to defend their interests through Alicent, especially since her father, Otto, was humiliated by Viserys by kicking him out of the small council.
This green color will take on enormous importance in the rest of the story. Thus, during the Dance of the Dragons, there will be a terrible war to settle the succession of Viserys Targaryen. Two factions will then emerge: the Blacks, who are allies of Rhaenyra, and… the Greens, who support Alicent. On each side, there will be dragons. Fire. And, blood.
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