A deleted scene from House of the Dragon recalls a heartbreaking parallel from the first episode of the series. The Game of Thrones spinoff stars Emily Carey, Paddy Considine, Milly Alcock, and Matt Smith, centering on the complex relationship between Lady Alicent Hightower (Carey) and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Alcock). The two girls are childhood friends in the series. Although HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood shows them of almost the same age, the sourcebook sets them nine years apart.
The girls’ ages make their friendship even more troubling, as Alicent marries Rhaenyra shortly after the demise of her friend’s mother. The series takes a leap of few years after the announcement that Alicent would be queen and her best friend’s stepmother. Later, Alicent gave birth to King Viserys’ first child, a boy. Rhaenyra is upset by Alicent’s son as it would jeopardize her claim to the throne. Her retaliation led to many people turning against her. However, in the end, she remains the official heir. Unsurprisingly, the series hasn’t included more such scenes as their relationship will be more complicated.
Greg Yaitanes, series director, shares images from deleted scenes that fill in some gaps in the storyline of Alicent and Rhaenyra. These scenes on his Instagram Story (via People) give context to the relationship between the girls during the time skip.
The first set clearly shows a fight between the women. This presumably occurred after Viserys announced that he would take Alicent as his wife. This scene would have been vital in forming the relationship between the two girls, with Alicent as the former’s stepmother. The second scene shows Rhaenyra helping her friend lace her wedding gown before the royal nuptials. Episode 1 shows the reverse, Alicent helping Rhaenyra to get dressed while the two share a sweet moment of their friendship. It is difficult to see the parallel between former friends after so much has happened. The director wrote that the scene was “reversed with heartache.” The knowledge that the scenes were recorded adds nuance and dimension to the women’s interactions in later episodes. I
Since the fifth episode of House of the Dragon featured a hint at the future wedding, the showrunners possibly wanted to focus on that crucial scene. It resulted in the decision to cut Alicent and Viserys’ wedding scene. Looking at the antagonistic relationship between the two women in the book, the next time leap might cement their opposition in the battle of succession. However, the series is taking a softer approach to the women’s friendship so far. So, we have yet to see whether the future Rhaenyra and Alicent scenes in the series will feature as much heartbreak as these deleted ones.