Emily Carey on the “love” between Rhaenyra and Alicent

In the first couple episodes of House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) look to be the best of friends. They lounge together in the godswood, Rhaenyra says she wants to travel the world with Alicent, and Alicent helps her friend deal with the grief of losing her mother.

By the end of the second episode…let’s just say things aren’t looking up. But it’s important that we got to see Rhaenyra and Alicent as friends, since their deteriorating relationship is important to future events. Emily Carey talked to Entertainment Weekly about playing those sweet, fleeting scenes. “Fourteen-year-old girls are allowed to change in front of each other when boys aren’t, and you go to the bathroom together. Just like this tactile closeness and this emotional vulnerability that you share with one another, it’s almost like having a partner,” she said.

You want to be with that person all the time, and all in all just encapsulating you with love. You just want to love that person so deeply, and you think your best friend of 14 is going to be your best friend for the rest of your life.

Queer subtext of Alicent-Rhaenyra relationship was “talked about”

Rhaenyra and Alicent seemed so close that some viewers wondered if they were more than friends. Carey picked up on those undertones in the script, and acknowledged that, at that age, best friendships can “toe the line between platonic and romantic.”

But I also think, at 14, you don’t know what those words mean. You don’t know what the feelings mean. It’s just love. That’s all it is. Whether it’s friendship or more than that, I think it’s up to how you want to see it, but it was talked about for sure. As a viewer, I like to read into it because I also think that it makes the demise of the friendship more heartbreaking to watch… I would love if they were a little bit fruity, but it’s up to you how you want to read it. It’s just a beautiful bond between two young girls, let’s put it that way.

Whatever Rhaenrya and Alicent had, it’s likely over now that Alicent is marrying her freaking dad. We’ll see how that turns out when the new episode of House of the Dragon drops this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. CST on HBO and HBO Max.

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