House of the Dragon episode 3 spoilers are included in this article.
Marriage is as fundamental as it is social for Westeros' lords and ladies. Sansa to Joffrey in Game of Thrones, then to Tyrion, finally Ramsay Bolton (gag)
So it has been, and so it supposedly must always be. Rhaenyra Targaryen, Milly Alcocks' young daughter, received much the same treatment during a meeting with her father at the end of Sunday nights' latest House of the Dragon episode.
Rhaenyra is the first woman weve ever seen onscreen to imply that you must marry, strengthen your own claim, and multiply. While her father himself rejected the idea of marrying young Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mose), Viserys made the conscious decision to marry Alicent Hightower, who is still only 15 years old.
Rhaenyra is able to sway her father into giving her the same choice she had when she married her husband. But what are the prospects if Rhaenyra is permitted to choose her husband?
Below are a few of the partners who appear to be in a race to the Princess of Dragonstone's attention, as well as a few nonstarters who might be interested in much more.
The first and most obvious suitor of Princess Rhaenyras' hand is also the most unlikely to claim it. Jason Lannister (Jefferson Hall) is an excellent breeder and possesses the qualities required for a princess consort. As his father's eldest son, Jason is Lord of Casterly Rock and the Warden of the West. The status of that title is likely to appeal to Game of Thrones fans since everyone remembers Charles Dances Lord Tywin Lannister in the original series.
House of the Dragon is set 150 years before Tywin's heyday, and the Reynes are still well-known at this time, though they lack the prestige of House Velaryon or even House Hightower. Jason already appears lost to Rhaenyra since his idea of courtship was to suggest that she give up her claim to the Iron Throne and marry him in the West. We doubt that she would.
The fact Jason suggested to Viserys that they might reach an agreement in renouncing Rhaenyra's succession also pretty much condemned him in the eyes of the only man who theoretically could still force Rhaenyra to wed.
Theo Nate is the next potential suitor for the Sea Snakes' youngest son, who was most likely to be spotted for the first time in the Sunday nights episode. Like Rhaenyra, Leanor does have some charm. While burning out pirates and crab feeders on the Stepstones, Leanor does have an impressive, if awkward, image.
Leanor is a Rhaenyras cousin who was once removed as the son of Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), the Queen Who Never Was. However, he still has the Blood of the Dragon and rides a dragon to prove it.
Hed be a politically strong match that is strengthened even more since he is the son of the actual richest man in Westeros during this time, the Sea Snake (a fact that Lord Lyonel Strong pointed out to Viserys in the latest episode). When Viserys passed over Corlys' daughter in favor of Alicent, Rhaenyra became a political adversary.
There is one more, quite glaring, alternative that may be even more politically advantageous.
Yes, this is by far the most horrifying choice, but it must be acknowledged upfront: Rhaenyra and the realm's safest political choice would be for her to eventually marry her little brother, who during the most recent episode had just turned two and was 16 years her junior. And both King Viserys and Princess Rhaenys' parents, the wise King Jaehaerys, married their younger sister about 70 years earlier.
There is a precedent for baby Aegon and his big sister to tie the knot. Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) suggested such a match in last nights House of the Dragon because he wanted to simplify Aegons journey to the throne. And, although we would be reluctant to admit it, Rhaenyra might be the most safe political option (especially if it began while Aegon was in his regency) and it would reduce the growing tension between her and
Rhaenyra will certainly refuse this due to its heinous nature, but it still allows the child and his family to savor her power (albeit less subtly) and she professes her hatred for the little bastard. And Viserys, for all his faults, showed signs of decency when he opposed Ottos suggestion of marrying his children.
Weve been acknowledging the greatest political matches for our dear princess until this point. However, we have never seen her express much interest in anyone of Velaryon descent until this point, and the other two unions would cause her to scream bloody Dracarys. But what of the men weve seen that may catch her attention?
Although shed would rather die than wed her little brother, there is no denying a connection between Rhaenyra and his more than doting uncle. When first glimpsed between Prince Daemon and his niece, the prince wears a necklace around the princess' throat with more than just avuncular affection. Rhaenyra is equally excited about meeting her favorite uncle in the shadow of the throne they both adore.
When we chatted with Alcock about their characters last month, I asked her if she wanted to leave the scene a little half-open. She doesnt fully comprehend why she falls in love with Daemon, and whether or not it's platonic or sexual or romantic. She's unaware.
However, Alcock concedes that there is a sense of attraction. It is the type that would not normally be frowned upon in Targaryen culture. Just consider the way the couple bask in private High Valyrian conversations! Happy marriages in Westeros have begun from less.
According to Ottos grandson, this would be a total political catastrophe. Arguably, Viserys chose Rhaenyra as his heir is because he and the small council feared Prince Daemon becoming the new king. Daemon's stupid-eyed stare was already hated by the King's hand, even before Ottos grandson became a little princeling. Now that the Hand is urging weak-willed Viserys to make Aegon his new
Rhaenyra's only romantic interest to date is Ser Criston Cole, her favorite knight of the kingsguard. She chose him because he was one of the few candidates for the position who actually fought her uncle in the first episodes of the tournament.
Ser Criston has been dubbed Rhaenyra's personal bodyguard and confidant in the years since. He might, indeed, be her royal consort. Until the Lannisters come to power during the events of Game of Thrones, the kingsguard are expected to carry no children and marry no wives. Granted, marriage possibilities are fantastic, summer child.
Alicent Hightower is the most unlikely finalist for Rhaenyra's heart, and who we feel obliged to mention since they are the only ones to endure broken dreams and lifetime regrets. When we first saw them walk through the Red Keep, Rhaenyra said, "I want to go with you on dragonback, see the great wonders across the Narrow Sea, and eat only cake."
Even so, some viewers have perhaps not unfairly read a romantic interest in their early scenes, according to Carey. Something we explored within the relationship between Alicent and Rhaenyra was their closeness, and their ability to delineate between platonic and romantic.
If there was a romantic attraction between the characters, they lived in a time when they lacked the vocabulary or mindset beneath a heavy patriarchy to even describe it. Perhaps their relationship fell somewhere along the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but they would never fully comprehend it in that modern context.
Despite the fact that Viserys told Rhaenyra in the latest episode that he desires to see his daughter contented, happy, even she yells, You think a man would do it.
Rhaenyra clearly does not want to marry any man at this stage in her life. If it is due to a different kind of attraction, it remains ambiguous. Her father always says, Find a match that pleases you, as I did. Perhaps it is simply due to being reminded that she married her best friend.
Latest TV reviews
The Suspect Episode 2 Review: The Plot Thickens.The Show Also Grows More Thick
Second of His Name: Review of House of the Dragon Episode 3
Review of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 1 and 2
Or, in this highly medieval patriarchy, the idea of a princess openly romancing, without even marrying, another woman is as likely as the sun is rising in the west and setting in the east. Its also a dream that has now become a nightmare since Rhaenyras former confidant has become the mother of the kings firstborn son. Betrayals are never forgiven.