on House of the Dragonfashion is a form of soft power.
*Spoilers for House of the Dragon below*
In the most recent episode of the Game of Thrones spin-off, Queen Alicent (Emily Carey) arrives late at the wedding of her stepdaughter and former boyfriend Rhaenyra Targaryen.
And when she finally shows up – no less in the middle of King Viserys’ speech! – she wears a heavy silk dress in a striking emerald hue.
Why is this significant? The series does not rely on viewers to understand for themselves the complex relationships between the homes of the Empire and the colors of the rainbow.
Instead, two male wedding guests at the dinner table decipher Alicent’s striking choice of tailoring for us.
“The beacon on the Hightower, do you know what color it glows when Oldtown calls its banners to war?” one asks. You can be sure that the answer is green.
Alicent’s father, Ser Otto Hightower, was recently released from King’s Landing on the basis of the king’s suspicion that he was attempting to undermine Rhaenyra as his heir in favor of his own grandchild. Which, of course, Ser Otto did before he was sent home to Oldtown.
But Alicent isn’t just defending her father’s honor by taking on his color here. She signals Rhaenyra, dressed in white for her wedding day, that she is going to play the game of thrones on behalf of her own child, the king’s firstborn son.
In some ways, the moment reads like a graduation into adulthood for Alicent, who until now has been controlled and protected by her own father. In his absence, she has two choices. She can either remain in a position of submission to her king and husband, or she can fight for her son to inherit the Iron Throne.
And she’s counting on everyone in attendance at the wedding to be able to interpret her dress before the cake is cut. It’s a call to arms for fans of her father, as well as those who just don’t want a woman to wear the crown.
So her dress is not just any dress. It’s a well-timed sartotial mic drop.