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House Hightower
House Targaryen

"I find I have few friends lately. I like to believe I'm still the Lady Alicent, but... all anyone sees when they look at me now is 'the queen.'"
―Alicent Hightower[src]

Queen Alicent Hightower is the second wife of King Viserys I Targaryen and daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King.

Biography[]

Background[]

Alicent Hightower is the daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King. She has a number of brothers, the eldest being Ser Gwayne Hightower. From an early age, she has lived in the Red Keep and grown up among the royal family.[1]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

Godswood Official Guide

Alicent and Rhaenyra study in the godswood together.

At the Dragonpit, Alicent greets Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen when she returns from a ride on her dragon Syrax. Rhaenyra asks her if she would like to accompany her on dragonback sometime, but she politely declines. Alicent travels with the princess back to the Red Keep by carriage. The two pay a visit to a heavily pregnant Queen Aemma in her chambers.[7]

Later that day, Alicent tries to go over a history book with Rhaenyra in the godswood of the Red Keep. Rhaenyra is initially disinterested until Alicent brings up the approaching birth of King Viserys and Queen Aemma's child, which she reminds her friend could overshadow her and displace her position in the line of succession if it were a son. Alicent is shocked when Rhaenyra rips a page from the book, warning the princess that Septa Marlow won't be happy. Rhaenyra responds with profanity and states she doesn't care about the septa, then they both laugh about it as they walk arm in arm.[7]

Alicent and Rhaenyra

Alicent and Rhaenyra attend the Heir's Tournament.

Alicent sits beside the princess in the royal box at the Heir's Tournament. She informs Rhaenyra about House Cole of the Stormlands, and whispers to Rhaenyra about court gossip involving the betrothal of Lady Elinor Stokeworth and a young Massey squire, alleging that Elinor is already with child. Alicent is anxious when Prince Daemon Targaryen chooses her eldest brother, Ser Gwayne Hightower, as his first opponent in the joust, biting her fingernails until Rhaenyra grabs her hand reassuringly. She is frightened, putting her hand to her mouth, when Daemon trips Gwayne's horse, throwing him from the saddle and injuring his face. Daemon then asks Alicent for her favor, to which she obliges. She looks to her father, Ser Otto, before placing a laurel wreath on Daemon's lance. She is later amazed to discover that Ser Criston Cole is Dornish.[7]

Alicent attends the funeral of Queen Aemma and Prince Baelon.[7]

Otto Alicent Promo 2

Alicent is pressured by her father Otto to seduce King Viserys.

Alicent is later summoned to the Tower of the Hand by her father. Otto embraces her and asks how Rhaenyra is coping with the deaths of her mother and brother. Otto then "suggests" she offer her condolences to the grieving king in his chambers. He tells her to stop biting her fingernails, and further "suggests" that she wear one of her late mother's dresses.[7]

Alicent is escorted into King Viserys's chambers by the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Ryam Redwyne. She brings her favorite history book with her as the king is passionate about the subject, for which Viserys thanks her. After a moment's silence she brings up her own mother's death stating that people only spoke to her in riddles, wishing someone had only said sorry to her for what had happened. She offers her condolences to the king for what happened to his wife and son.[7]

Alicent and her father are in attendance at the ceremony naming Rhaenyra as Princess of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne.[7]

At her father's urging, Alicent becomes closer to the king and spends time with him privately, during which she learns much about Old Valyria from him. Viserys develops an attraction to her, and asks that she keep their meetings a secret from Rhaenyra, knowing the potential disastrous consequences of such a revelation.[6]

Alicent visits a sept with Rhaenyra, and offers her reassurance on her doubts about her father and his choice of her as his heir. Alicent guides her friend in a prayer to the Mother, confessing to Rhaenyra that this is the only way she feels close to her own late mother.[6]

In one of their secret meetings, Viserys informs Alicent that Lord Corlys Velaryon has offered his daughter, Laena Velaryon, as a marriage proposal to him. Alicent tells Viserys that Laena would be a good match for him before revealing that she had the stonemasons fix a dragon model that he had broken earlier. Viserys thanks her for the gift.[6]

Alicent helps dress her father as prepares to leave for Dragonstone to retrieve a dragon egg stolen by Prince Daemon. Otto notices the skin around her fingers, which she had picked at in her anxiety. He asks her why she, as the most comely girl at court, damages her own hands, and inquires if she will be visiting the king tonight, which she agrees to do if it pleases him.[6]

Alicent is summoned to a Small Council meeting, where Viserys announces his intention to marry her. Alicent looks guiltily at Rhaenyra, who, furious at this secret being kept from her, storms out of the chamber.[6]

SOHN Alicent Aegon and Viserys

Queen Alicent and King Viserys with their firstborn son, Prince Aegon.

Alicent and Viserys marry, and the new Queen Alicent soon gives birth to their first son, Prince Aegon.[2]

Two years later, a royal hunt is organized to celebrate Aegon's second nameday, and Alicent is pregnant again. As the hunting party prepares for departure, Rhaenyra is noticeably missing, and Alicent, knowing where she most likely is, goes to the godswood of the Red Keep, where Rhaenyra is reading and being serenaded by a minstrel named Samwell. Alicent dismisses Samwell, overriding Rhaenyra's insistence that he stay. She tries to make friendly overtures to her friend-turned-stepdaughter, but Rhaenyra is disinclined to listen and storms off.[2]

Alicent rides in the royal carriage with Viserys and Rhaenyra, on the road to the Kingswood, where the hunt is to be held. Alicent and Viserys try to make conversation, but Rhaenyra, still angry at both of them, refuses to participate. Upon arriving in the Kingswood, Alicent and Viserys emerge from their carriage with their baby Aegon, who several of the gathered lords and ladies, most notably, Alicent's uncle, Lord Hobert Hightower, applaud and hail as the "second of his name."[2]

At the camp, Alicent sits with the other ladies of the realm, including Ceira Lannister, Joselyn Redwyne, and Lynesse Hightower. They are joined by Larys Strong who, due to his clubfoot, is unfit for hunting, and thus wishes to sit with the ladies. They discuss the capture of Johanna Swann by the Triarchy during the War for the Stepstones. Lady Ceira asks Rhaenyra for an update on the war, but she denies any knowledge. When Ceira implies that Rhaenyra is usurping Daemon's place as Viserys's heir, Alicent stands up for her friend, saying that she was more suited for the role than Daemon. Alicent listens silently as Lady Joselyn criticizes Viserys on his inaction regarding the Stepstones, and looks amused when Rhaenyra snaps back at her.[2]

SOHN Viserys and Alicent

Alicent listens to Viserys as he contemplates the dream of his son and Rhaenyra's succession.

That night, Alicent watches worriedly as Viserys drowns himself in wine. She joins him in front of a pyre, where he spills out his feelings to her, discussing the dreamers in the Targaryen line, his own dream of a son wearing the crown of Aegon the Conqueror, and his tremendous guilt over causing his first wife's death in pursuit of that dream. He tells Alicent that he named Rhaenyra as his heir to try and set things right, to which she replies it did, but he retorts that he never imagined he would remarry and have a son, and wonders aloud if he was wrong to name Rhaenyra his heir.[2]

The next day, Alicent and the rest of the party watch in some surprise as Rhaenyra returns to the camp with a boar that she and Ser Criston Cole killed.[2]

After returning to King's Landing from the hunt, Alicent is visited by her father, who suggests that Aegon's birth has united the men and ended fifteen years of uncertainty and doubt. He pressures Alicent to convince Viserys to formally designate Aegon as his heir, claiming the realm would descend into chaos were Rhaenyra to succeed him, no matter how good a queen she may prove to be. Alicent is unhappy with the idea of raising Aegon to steal his sister's birthright, but Otto counters that it is Aegon being robbed of his legal birthright.[2]

Alicent visits Viserys, but does not broach the topic of succession with him. Instead, they discuss the matter of Rhaenyra's betrothal, with Alicent telling Viserys that she will not marry unless she thinks it is by her own choice. Alicent discovers a letter Viserys was sent by Ser Vaemond Velaryon, the brother of Lord Corlys, informing him that the fighting in the Stepstones is going poorly, and pleading for aid. Viserys is reluctant to send it, as to do so after so long would make him look weak, and remarks that he is forever doomed to anger one person in the pleasing of another. Alicent simplifies the problem for him: as king, Viserys must serve the realm, and the realm will only benefit if the Crabfeeder is vanquished. This sways Viserys, who sends aid to the Stepstones.[2]

Alicent later gives birth to a daughter[9] named Helaena.[10]

Some time later, a feast is held in the godswood, in honor of Daemon's victory in the Stepstones. Alicent listens as Viserys and Daemon exchange stories, and talk about their mother. Their conversation is joined by Rhaenyra, who is supposed to be on a tour to find a husband. In an attempt to break the awkward silence, Alicent asks Daemon if he would like to see the new tapestries from Norvos and Qohor on display in the gallery, but to her annoyance, Viserys laughs at this suggestion, as Daemon has no interest in such things.[9]

After Rhaenyra is tersely excused by her father, Alicent goes to sit with her. She points out that Rhaenyra is lucky to be able to choose her own husband, as most ladies don't get that choice. Rhaenyra counters that the men wanting to marry her only want to do so for her bloodline, to advance their own status. When Alicent says she still thinks it sounds romantic, Rhaenyra blurts out that she doesn't see what's so romantic about marrying so she can be locked up in a castle and "made to squeeze out heirs." Alicent is wounded by this statement, as it exactly describes her situation in life. Rhaenyra grasps her hand and apologizes. Alicent informs Rhaenyra that Viserys is frustrated that she has come home after he went to great effort to arrange her tour. She, however, is glad that Rhaenyra has come home, as she feels she has few friends lately – most people only look at her as "The Queen" now. Rhaenyra responds that she has missed Alicent too, and the bond between the two is somewhat repaired.[9]

That night, as Viserys is taking a bath, Alicent dismisses the handmaidens so she can personally bathe Viserys's new sores from sitting the throne. He comments that her touch feels far kinder than theirs. Later, Alicent receives a summons by Viserys. Though she quietly protests due to the lateness of the hour, she reluctantly joins him in his chambers where she is forced to endure boring, pleasureless sex with an ailing husband old enough to be her father. Alicent has a look of dissociation as they couple, though whenever Viserys does turn to her face she switches to a fake smile as a dutiful wife.[9]

The following morning, Alicent overhears her father Otto deliver troubling news to Viserys: Rhaenyra was seen in a brothel the previous night, "coupling" with her uncle Daemon. Shocked and hurt, she summons Rhaenyra to the godswood to confront her about it. Rhaenyra admits that Daemon took her out into the town last night, that they drank in several taverns, but she dismisses the claims that she did anything with Daemon as "a vile accusation". Alicent expresses her doubts, claiming that Targaryens have "queer customs", and insists that she only wants to help Rhaenyra. At this, Rhaenyra confesses that they did visit a brothel, as Daemon refused to take her home when she asked, but insists that she herself was only a spectator, and did nothing intimate with Daemon. She swears this on her mother's memory. Alicent can tell that something is amiss, but believes that Rhaenyra is fundamentally telling the truth. She does, however, criticize Rhaenyra for being foolish enough to put herself in a situation where her virtue could have even come into question.[9]

Alicent joins a rattled Viserys on his balcony overlooking the city. She tells him about Rhaenyra denying having sex with Daemon, and points out that she isn't known for being deceitful, whereas Daemon rarely tells the full truth, thus he was likely lying when he told Viserys that he had sex with Rhaenyra. Viserys is baffled as to how Daemon claiming such things could possibly serve him, to which Alicent suggests that Daemon's entire goal was simply to taunt his older brother for disinheriting him. Viserys says that whatever happened, he can still sense that Rhaenyra is not innocent of any wrongdoing, and Alicent earnestly insists that Rhaenyra swore to her that she remains a maiden, and that she believes her.[9]

Alicent approaches her father as he leaves the city following his dismissal as Hand of the King. She says that while she doesn't wish for him to leave, she believes Rhaenyra's claims of innocence, and insists that it was Otto's own dogged determination in pushing Aegon as heir that ultimately led to his dismissal. Otto chides her on her naivety and presents her with his cold logic of the situation: when Viserys dies, Rhaenyra will have to kill Alicent's children, whether she wants to or not, to secure her claim to the Iron Throne. Alicent therefore has only two choices: either prepare Aegon to rule, or fully commit to ingratiating herself with her stepdaughter and hope that when Rhaenyra takes the throne, this will make her merciful enough towards Alicent that she won't kill her half-siblings. Alicent breaks down in tears as her father embraces her before departing.[12]

Alicent goes to the godswood for solitude, where she is surprised to find Larys Strong, who compares her to the Braavosi flowers that thrive in the garden despite being removed from their native climate. He offers his condolences on her father's dismissal, and implies that Rhaenyra may have facilitated it. He slyly informs her that Rhaenyra was given a medicinal tea by Grand Maester Mellos, on Viserys's instructions, the same night Otto was dismissed. Alicent realizes his unstated implication that Rhaenyra must have received moon tea, and suspects that Rhaenyra may have been lying to her about not having sex with Daemon.[12]

After Viserys and Rhaenyra return to King's Landing from their voyage to Driftmark to arrange a marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon, Alicent has Ser Criston Cole summoned to her chambers. As Rhaenyra's sworn protector, she questions him about the rumour that Rhaenyra and Daemon had sex, but in her struggle to find the words to use, she never mentions Daemon by name. To her shock, Criston confesses that he himself had sex with Rhaenyra that night. He says that, while Rhaenyra instigated the encounter, it is still his own fault for going along with it, and requests that he be granted a swift execution for breaking his vows, rather than the gelding and drawn-out torture that by right the king will likely subject him to. Alicent is utterly stunned to learn of this, and realizes that her father was fundamentally right about Rhaenyra, despite getting the details wrong. Holding back tears, she thanks Criston for his honesty and tells him to return to his duties.[12]

A wedding is held for Rhaenyra and Laenor. Having decided to set herself against Rhaenyra in her pursuit of the throne, Alicent arrives late, deliberately interrupting Viserys's speech, and wearing a green dress – the colour the flames in the Hightower burn when House Hightower calls its banners to war. She silently makes her way through the feast hall as all, save for Daemon, rise for her presence. When she reaches the high table she gives Viserys a curt peck on the cheek, and coldly congratulates Rhaenyra, referring to her only as "stepdaughter", making it clear that their friendship is over. She then coldly observes the festivities.[12]

As Rhaenyra and Laenor start dancing, followed by several others, Alicent goes over to her uncle, Lord Hobert, who praises her for standing tall out of her father's shadow, and affirms Oldtown's support of her.[12]

The wedding is suddenly interrupted, as a fight breaks out between Ser Criston Cole and Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. Alicent and the rest of the crowd watch in horror as Criston murders Joffrey by beating his face into a bloody pulp. Following this altercation, the guests are sent away and the seven days of festivities are cancelled. Rhaenyra and Laenor are instead quickly married in the messy throne room, with only Alicent, Viserys, Corlys Velaryon, Rhaenys Targaryen, and the new Hand of the King, Lyonel Strong, in attendance.[12]

Following the ceremony, Alicent goes to the godswood, where she finds Ser Criston preparing to take his own life in front of the weirwood tree, and calls out to him, preventing his suicide.[12]

Alicent later gives birth to a third child, a second son named Aemond.[10]

Ten years after the wedding, Rhaenyra gives birth to her third son, and Alicent immediately orders the baby be brought to her at once. As both of Rhaenyra's first two sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, bear a striking resemblance to Ser Harwin Strong, Alicent suspects them to be bastards, and thus wants to examine the new baby before it can be switched out with another. Alicent is shocked to see Rhaenyra herself bring the baby to her, insisting that she should be resting after her labours, and has her sit. King Viserys then enters the room, now completely missing his left forearm due to the infection, and joyfully holds his new grandson. Alicent asks what they intend to name the baby, and Laenor interjects ahead of Rhaenyra that he will be named "Joffrey," a name Alicent notes is unusual for a Velaryon. Alicent hands Joffrey over to Ser Laenor, taking note of the black hairs on the baby's head, and whispers to Laenor "Do keep trying: soon or late, you may get one who looks like you."[10]

Later, Alicent sits with her daughter Helaena in her private chambers. Though clearly confused and bored, Alicent tries to feign interest as the highly introverted Helaena tells her about her insect collection. A Kingsguard then drags her son Aemond into the room. Seeing his blackened face, Alicent realizes that Aemond tried to claim a dragon again, and scolds him for his recklessness. Humiliated, Aemond tells her that the other boys dressed a pig up as a dragon and presented it to him. Alicent lovingly embraces her son.[10]

Alicent discusses the incident with Viserys, placing the blame on Rhaenyra's sons, who she refers to as "savages." Viserys gently chides that Aemond was foolish to think the other boys were capable of wrangling up some unclaimed young dragon for him on their own, and expresses suspicions that they may have been put up to it by Aemond's own elder brother Aegon. Alicent broaches the topic of Rhaenyra's sons' parentage, insisting that for Rhaenyra to have three bastard children is an insult to Viserys, House Velaryon, the throne, and decency itself. Viserys tells her a story about a black mare he had that mated with a silver stallion, and yet their foal was a chestnut brown. "Nature is a thing of mysterious works," he tells her. Alicent points out that, unless he actually saw them mating, he can't know that the brown foal was in fact theirs. Viserys, knowing the consequences of an implication such as Alicent suggests, refuses to speak of it any further.[10]

Alicent vents her frustrations to Ser Criston Cole. Viserys is being willfully blind to the obvious, the entire court already suspects that Rhaenyra's three sons are bastards, but none of them dare openly say it, and Rhaenyra shamelessly, and with impunity, continues to pursue her relationship with Ser Harwin, despite everyone knowing the truth, as her father will always make excuses for her. Criston himself then starts venting about Rhaenyra, likening her to a spider sucking its prey dry, and calling her "a spoiled cunt". Alicent, disapproving of his language and attitude, glares at him, and he apologizes. She expresses her belief that honor and decency will prevail over Rhaenyra's offenses in the end.[10]

Alicent enters young Aegon's private chamber, to find him standing naked and masturbating in a castle window. She demands to know if the pig incident was his idea, and though he initially tries to shift the blame to Rhaenyra's sons, he admits that it was him, but brushes it off as just a funny prank. Moreso than the prank itself, Alicent is annoyed that Aegon worked with Rhaenyra's children against his brother. Frustrated by her son's short-sightedness, she reminds Aegon that as things stand, Jacaerys will be Rhaenyra's heir, and as her own father once impressed on her, she tells him that Rhaenyra will kill both him and Aemond to secure her place on the throne. When Aegon innocently says that he won't challenge Rhaenyra, Alicent grabs his face and shouts that he is the challenge, simply by living and breathing. As the king's firstborn son, his very existence is a threat to Rhaenyra's claim.[10]

Alicent attends a meeting of the Small Council, where they discuss yet another border dispute between Houses Blackwood and Bracken, as well as new developments in the Stepstones, as the Triarchy have now allied with Dorne. She and Rhaenyra disagree on every issue, with Rhaenyra wanting to take a hands-on, interventionist approach, while Alicent prefers to delegate issues to the local lords, and denies Rhaenyra's claims that they should have garrisoned and fortified the Stepstones before leaving, saying that they didn't have the funds to do so. With their business finished for the day, the council rises to leave, but Rhaenyra asks them all to stay as she has another issue to address. The council all sit back down, except for Alicent who remains standing. Rhaenyra says that she is aware of the recent tension between her family and Alicent's, and apologizes for any offense she may have given. She reminds Alicent that they are all part of one house, and were friends before that. As a peace offering, she proposes a betrothal between her son and heir Jace and Alicent's daughter Helaena. Additionally, when her dragon Syrax produces a new clutch of eggs, she will gift one to Aemond. Though Viserys is happy with the proposal, Alicent is incredulous. She points out to Rhaenyra that breast milk is leaking through her dress, causing her to sit back down in embarrassment, and flatly says that she will consider the proposal.[10]

As Alicent and Viserys walk back to their chambers, Alicent dismisses Rhaenyra's proposal as one born out of desperation, and says that it's an insult to suggest she marry her daughter to Rhaenyra's son, stopping just short of saying that it's because Jace is a bastard. Viserys urges her to accept the proposal, as it will bring peace to the royal family, but Alicent sharply says that he can do what he wants when she's cold in her grave.[10]

They reach their chambers, where they are shortly joined by Lyonel Strong, who has come to offer his resignation as Hand of the King, as recent rumours have compromised his ability to give impartial counsel. Viserys insists that Lyonel tell him what these rumours are, and Alicent too demands honesty, hoping to hear him finally speak the truth they all know to Viserys. However, much to Alicent's anger, Lyonel refuses to speak, and thus Viserys refuses to accept his resignation. He does, however, allow Lyonel to escort his son Harwin to Harrenhal, supposedly to prepare him for when he inherits it. After Lyonel leaves, Alicent also storms out.[10]

Alicent goes to her private chambers where she shares a lunch with Lyonel's younger son, Larys Strong, who Alicent has come to rely on as an informant over the years. This time, however, it is her turn to inform him of the recent events: Larys's father refused to tell the king about Harwin's alleged affair with Rhaenyra, and so will remain as Hand, after escorting Harwin back to Harrenhal. Larys says that Viserys is being willfully blind to the truth about Rhaenyra's children, and Alicent refutes his suggestion that she would do the same for her own children. Alicent laments her lack of allies at court, and says that she wishes her father Otto Hightower was there. Larys points out that her father wouldn't exactly be impartial in this matter, to which Alicent sharply says in frustration that he would be partial to her.[10]

Later, Alicent learns from Larys that both Lyonel and Harwin Strong were killed in a fire in Harrenhal, and quickly deduces that Larys himself is responsible. Larys tells her that he was simply fulfilling her own wish – with Lyonel gone, now she can call her father back as Hand. However, a horrified Alicent says that she didn't wish for this. Unfazed, Larys expresses his confidence that she will reward him when the time is right, and Alicent can only stare in horror, knowing that if she doesn't want her part in the murder exposed, she must comply with Larys's wishes.[10]

Alicent and the rest of the royal court travel to Driftmark to attend the funeral of Laena Velaryon, her father Otto now reinstated as Hand of the King. During the service, Alicent exchanges a hard look with Rhaenyra.[13]

The court gathers at a cliffside courtyard of High Tide castle for the wake, which is filled with long awkward silences and strained conversations: Alicent and Rhaenyra's families are gathered in one place for the first time since Rhaenyra departed King's Landing for Dragonstone. The two women continue to glare at each other. Meanwhile, Larys Strong stares ceaselessly at Alicent, something Ser Criston takes note of and points out to her. Keeping her secrets, Alicent brushes it off, saying it's merely a look of pride, as Larys is the new Lord of Harrenhal.[13]

Evening falls, and Viserys heads for bed. As he bids Alicent goodnight, he accidentally calls her "Aemma", which visibly unnerves her.[13]

That night, Alicent and Viserys are woken, and brought into the Hall of Nine, due to an altercation between their son Aemond, Rhaenyra's sons Jace and Luke, and Daemon's daughters Baela and Rhaena. The children got in a fight, during which Luke severely injured Aemond, slashing him across the eye. To Alicent's horror, Maester Kelvyn informs her that, while the flesh will heal, the eye is lost forever. She angrily slaps Aegon, and berates him for drowning himself in wine instead of being there to defend his brother.[13]

The children begin to argue over who started the fight, but Viserys yells for silence, and demands Aemond tell the truth of what happened. Alicent has heard enough, however: Her son has been maimed at the hand of Rhaenyra's. She scoffs at Rhaenyra's claim that it was an accident, pointing out that Luke brought a blade to the fight. Rhaenyra says that Aemond called her sons bastards, and demands he be "sharply questioned" to find out where he heard these "slanders". Alicent, however, claims that this insult is nothing compared to what Rhaenyra's sons inflicted upon her own. She then asks where Laenor is, snidely remarking that he must be "entertaining" his squires. When Viserys asks Aemond, once again, where he heard the rumours, Aemond momentarily looks at Alicent, who appears worried, before saying it was Aegon who told him. Aegon claims that everyone knows the truth of the boys' parentage, but Viserys merely demands that the family stop fighting, much to the disgust of Alicent, who demands retribution for her son's lost eye. She orders Ser Criston to cut out Luke's eye, but the knight refuses, as he is only sworn to her as her protector – not her assassin. Viserys announces that anyone who questions the birth of Rhaenyra's sons will have their tongue removed, looking directly at Alicent as he does so.[13]

Shaking with rage and grief, Alicent grabs the Valyrian Steel dagger from Viserys's belt, and moves to take Luke's eye herself, but is stopped by Rhaenyra, who claims she has gone too far now. Alicent unleashes all of the feelings she has bottled up for years: She has only ever done what was expected of her, upholding the law, her family, and the kingdom, while Rhaenyra was always free to do as she pleases. Now that Rhaenyra's son can even maim Alicent's son without consequence, this is the last straw for Alicent. She shouts that Rhaenyra has no sense of duty or sacrifice, even as Viserys and Otto demand she put down the blade. Rhaenyra coldly responds that Alicent has been "hiding beneath the veil of her own righteousness", but now she's showing herself for what she truly is. In an attempt to break free of Rhaenyra's grip, Alicent ends up slashing the princess's left arm. At this, even Alicent becomes horrified at how out of control the situation has become, and comes to her senses, dropping the dagger. Aemond tells his mother not to mourn him: "I may have lost an eye, but I gained a dragon."[13]

After everyone returns to their chambers, Alicent is visited by her father. She is humiliated and ashamed by her attempted attack on Rhaenyra and her son, which now guarantees Viserys will always side with Rhaenyra over her. She fears for her reputation as well, as word must already be spreading that she has gone mad with grief. To her surprise, however, Otto expresses pride: This is the first time he's seen that side of her, and now he knows she has the determination to win the game of thrones. Alicent is still worried about what Viserys will say to her, but Otto assures her that if she humbles herself to him, and cites her grief as a mother for inflaming her passions, he will forgive her, as he cannot bring himself to do anything else. Otto then says that what Aemond did in winning Vhagar over to their side is worth him losing his eye a thousand times over. Alicent is visibly bothered by this statement.[13]

The next day, Alicent, Viserys, and their entourage depart Driftmark. In their carriage, Alicent, following her father's advice, apologizes for her actions, but the ailing Viserys merely says that they will speak no more of it.[13]

On the ship, heading back to King's Landing, Alicent is approached by Larys Strong, who calls what happened to Aemond "a perversion of justice". He offers that if she still seeks revenge for Aemond's eye, he can easily arrange an assassination through his spy network. She declines, but says that his help has not gone unnoticed and she will have need of it in the future. Now, however, is the time for patience and discretion.[13]

Six years later, during which Alicent has had the entire Red Keep decorated with iconography of the Faith of the Seven, she attends a Small Council meeting, which is interrupted by Ser Harrold Westerling, announcing the arrival of Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon. The council discuss the matter of the inheritance of Driftmark, in light of Corlys Velaryon's recent, possibly fatal, injury, but Alicent merely says that they will hear petitions tomorrow, and takes her leave.[14]

As she goes to greet Rhaenyra and Daemon, Alicent is intercepted by Ser Erryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard (initially mistaking for his twin, Ser Arryk), who informs her of a delicate situation with Prince Aegon in his apartments.[14]

In her apartments, Alicent has a weeping serving girl, Dyana, brought before her. Dyana tearfully tells her that Aegon drunkenly forced himself upon her as she was serving him wine. Alicent is sympathetic to the girl, hugging her, and saying she believes her, but buys Dyana's silence with a pouch of gold and makes her drink Moon tea.[14]

Afterwards, Alicent furiously confronts a hungover Aegon, berating him for his assault on Dyanna – only the latest of many – and bringing shame on her and his wife with his conduct. She slaps him and declares him "no son of mine". Aegon feebly protests at the weight of expectations placed upon him and the fact nothing he does ever satisfies his parents, but Alicent is unsympathetic. When Helaena, unaware of what has happened, enters the room and asks if anyone has seen Dyana, Alicent tearfully embraces her daughter.[14]

Alicent goes to greet Rhaenyra and Daemon in the king's chambers, noticing remaining traces of the scar she made on Rhaenyra's left forearm. The couple outright accuse Alicent and Otto of keeping Viserys stupefied on milk of the poppy so that they can rule in his name without interference, but she tells them that without it, he is blind with suffering. Daemon sarcastically asks whether the replacement of Targaryen heraldry with statues and stars was also part of the Maesters' prescription, to which Alicent piously retorts such devotional displays are meant only to guide people and remind them of a higher authority. When Rhaenyra questions which authority will decide on her son's right to his own inheritance, Alicent smugly replies that will be her, and her father in his capacity as Hand of the King.[14]

Alicent and her father have a private meeting with Vaemond Velaryon, who has just arrived in the capital. Vaemond pledges the support of the Velaryon fleet if Alicent supports him as heir to Driftmark. Alicent is uneasy, pointing out that Lord Corlys may yet live.[14]

The next day, Alicent and the rest of the court gather in the throne room, as Otto presides over the succession of Driftmark in the event of Lord Corlys's death. As Vaemond makes his case, he is interrupted by Rhaenyra, accusing him of only serving his own ambition and undermining the right of Corlys's chosen successor, Lucerys Velaryon. Alicent silences her, reminding her that she will have a chance to make her own case later. As Vaemond finishes, Rhaenyra prepares to make her case, but the ceremony is suddenly interrupted as the doors to the throne room open and, to everyone's utter incredulity, King Viserys himself enters. Lost for words, Alicent can only exchange shocked looks with her father and Vaemond as Viserys hobbles up to the Iron Throne.[14]

Viserys declares his confusion as to why a settled succession is being debated, and asks Princess Rhaenys to speak – As Lord Corlys's wife, she is the only one who could give keener insight into his wishes. Alicent listens in dismay as Rhaenys affirms her support of Lucerys as heir to Driftmark and announces that she has accepted a proposal from Rhaenyra to marry her granddaughters Baela and Rhaena to Rhaenyra's sons Jacaerys and Lucerys. Viserys declares the matter settled, reaffirming Lucerys as heir to Driftmark and the next Lord of the Tides. An outraged Vaemond furiously snaps that Viserys has no authority to decide House Velaryon's fate when he broke centuries of tradition and Westerosi law to install his daughter as heir. He shouts that Rhaenyra's children are bastards and she herself, a whore. At this, Daemon, before Viserys can respond, cuts off the upper half of Vaemond's head with Dark Sister. Alicent and her daughter Helaena swiftly look away.[14]

As Viserys collapses from the shock and exertion, Alicent runs to him and helps lift him to his feet, insisting that he take something for the pain, but he refuses, saying he must make things right. Alicent and Rhaenyra watch in concern as Viserys is carried from the throne room.[14]

That evening, the entire royal family gathers for supper, including Alicent, Rhaenyra, Viserys, Daemon, all of their children, and Otto. They sit in awkward silence, though Viserys expresses his joy at seeing all his loved ones gathered together around him. Alicent makes a prayer to the Mother and the Smith for love and reconciliation, and for Vaemond to be given rest. She then listens tearfully as Viserys expresses his sorrow that their family has grown so distant and, after removing his mask and exposing his disfigured face for all to see, begs them all to make amends for his sake. After he sits down, Rhaenyra makes a toast to Alicent, thanking her for taking care of her father all these years. Moved, Alicent toasts Rhaenyra in turn, admitting that they have more in common than they may admit, as they are both mothers who love their children. She tells her she will make a fine queen. Tensions cease for a time, as Jace toasts Aegon and Aemond, and Helaena toasts Baela and Rhaena. Alicent laughs with her father as they watch Jace and Helaena dance, and smiles at Viserys.[14]

Seeing Viserys start to succumb to pain, Alicent has the guards carry him to his bed. After he is gone, Aemond, provoked by Luke's snickering at a roast pig that had been placed in front of him, makes a tribute to Jace, Luke, and Joffrey, calling them "Strong boys". Alicent tries to talk Aemond down, but it's no good, and Rhaenyra's sons get in a fight with Alicent's over the gilded insult. As the guards pull the children apart, Alicent angrily scolds Aemond for provoking Jace & Luke, but Aemond, completely unabashed, insists he was only complimenting them. The boys are ordered to their quarters, and Alicent, hoping to make amends with Rhaenyra, asks her to stay longer. Rhaenyra agrees to return on dragonback after seeing her sons home, which Alicent says she and Viserys would both like.[14]

That night, Alicent goes to Viserys's chamber and gives him milk of the poppy to help him sleep. Viserys deliriously talks about Aegon's dream and the Prince That Was Promised who will "unite the realm against the cold and the dark." "It is you," he says. "You must do this." Alicent, taking this to mean that their son, Prince Aegon, must sit the Iron Throne, tells Viserys she understands as she walks out of the room.[14]

Later that night, Alicent is woken by her handmaiden Talya, who informs her that Viserys has died in his sleep. A visibly distraught Alicent orders her to tell no one, dresses hastily, and goes to see her father in the Tower of the Hand. After delivering the news to Otto, she tells him that with his last breath, Viserys told her that he wanted Aegon to succeed him.[3]

Alicent and Otto hastily convene the Small Council, where they announce the king's death, as well as his supposed final wish. To Alicent's surprise, her father and Ser Tyland Lannister immediately begin discussing their "long-laid plans" to do away with all obstacles to Aegon's rule. Appalled, she demands to know why she was not informed that members of the council were plotting to install her son as heir without her knowledge, to which Lord Jasper Wylde replies they did not want to sully her with their darkling schemes. Lord Lyman Beesbury is likewise indignant, expressing his disbelief that the king changed his mind, as Alicent – Aegon's mother – is the only witness, and accusing them all of theft and treason. To the horror of all present, Ser Criston angrily forces Lord Beesbury to sit down, and in doing so, fatally cracks his skull on the table. When Ser Harrold furiously orders Ser Criston to surrender his white cloak, Criston instead draws on him, justifying his actions as defending the queen's honor. Alicent, however, orders Ser Criston to stand down, as Otto does the same for Ser Harrold.[3]

As Otto and Tyland begin discussing dividing the gold within the royal treasury, a stressed and exhausted Alicent asks what is to be done about Rhaenyra. Otto replies that they cannot allow her to rally support for her claim, but that she and her family will be given the chance to publicly swear fealty to the new king. Knowing that Otto and the rest of the council are well aware that neither Rhaenyra nor Daemon will agree to do so, Alicent realizes that they plan to have Rhaenyra killed. When they try to say that a living challenger would invite bloodshed, and that Viserys wouldn't want any unsavory power squabbles, Alicent shouts that he would never have wanted his daughter murdered either, and when Lord Jasper starts to speak up, she furiously threatens him with exile to the Night's Watch. However, when Tyland asks her for an alternative plan, she is unable to offer one. Otto orders Ser Harrold to take his knights to Dragonstone, to kill Rhaenyra and Daemon, but Ser Harrold instead resigns from the Kingsguard in disgust and walks out.[3]

To ensure that word of the king's death will not get out until they want it to, Alicent and Otto have all residents of the Red Keep imprisoned or confined to their chambers.[3]

Alicent and Otto discover that Aegon has gone missing, and burst into Helaena's chamber, demanding to know where he is. She disinterestedly tells them she doesn't know, however. Otto leaves, and Helaena's nurse leads her children Jaehaerys and Jaehaera out of the room. Alicent sits down next to her daughter and tries to tell her that her father is dead, but Helaena only cryptically and urgently tells her that "there is a beast beneath the boards".[3]

Later, Alicent is visited by Ser Criston, who tells her that Aegon is nowhere in the castle, and that her father has sent Ser Erryk Cargyll into the city to find him. Knowing that if Aegon is brought to him, Otto would be able to exert his influence over him, Alicent orders Ser Criston to track him down and bring him to her instead. Aemond volunteers to accompany Ser Criston, pointing out that he knows his brother, and thus the search would go more easily with his help. Reluctantly, Alicent agrees.[3]

After the Silent Sisters cover up Viserys's body, Alicent places his crown upon his chest and weeps over her dead husband.[3]

Alicent goes to visit Rhaenys Targaryen, who, as with everyone else in the Red Keep, is confined to her chambers. Rhaenys immediately deduces that the king must be dead, and accuses Alicent of usurping the throne, to which she responds that it was her husband's dying wish that Aegon take the throne, much to Rhaenys's clear disbelief. Alicent asks Rhaenys for her support, pointing out that her family's allegiance to Rhaenyra has resulted in both of her children dying, her husband being grievously wounded, and a bastard being set to inherit their seat. She tells her that, while she loved Viserys, Rhaenys should have been chosen as queen over him, and that as women, while they may not rule, they can at least guide the men who do towards a brighter future. Rhaenys demands to know what is to be done with her dragon, to which Alicent replies that they can't release Meleys, as her help will only embolden Rhaenyra to strike at them, saying that a true queen counts the cost to her people. Rhaenys points out to Alicent that, for all her talk, she still toils in the service of men, whether it be her father, her husband, or her son, and that rather than be free, she merely wishes to carve a window in the wall of her prison. She asks Alicent if she truly never imagined herself on the Iron Throne, leaving her momentarily speechless. Alicent leaves Rhaenys, clearly rattled by her words.[3]

Aemond and Ser Criston bring Aegon to Alicent, having successfully tracked him down before Ser Erryk and his brother, and she goes to the Tower of the Hand to confront her father, who congratulates her on winning their little "game", and insists that they both want what's best for the family and that their hearts remain as one. Alicent retorts that their hearts were never one. She's tired of being a pawn in her father's machinations, and bitterly says that she'll never know what her life might have been like now, thanks to him. When he insists that sacrifices must be made for the good of the realm, she shouts back that not wanting to murder people is not a weakness. As she now has Aegon, Alicent decides what is to be done: Terms of peace will be sent to Rhaenyra, as Viserys would have wanted mercy to be shown to her. Otto questions whether it is truly Viserys's wishes she is honoring, or her own, as Rhaenyra's childhood friend. Having no answer, Alicent merely presses on, saying that Ser Criston will be named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and that Aegon will be crowned at dawn the next day in the Dragonpit, so all King's Landing can witness his ascent to the throne. Otto remarks on how much Alicent looks like her mother, to which she scoffs and leaves.[3]

Returning to her chambers, Alicent finds Larys Strong, who tells her he has learnt something she should know. Knowing what he wants in return for his information, Alicent resignedly exposes her feet, to which he pleasures himself while telling her of a spy network her father has been using to gather information. One of these spies, he informs her, is her lady-in-waiting, Talya. Larys offers to dispose of the head of this spy network, to which Alicent agrees, and looks away in disgust as he continues to pleasure himself to her feet.[3]

The next morning, Alicent and Aegon ride in the royal carriage to the Dragonpit, where the coronation is to be held. Alicent demands her sullen son have the decency to look grateful, given what has been done to give him this day. He bitterly reminds her that his father never wanted him to be king, as he steadfastly upheld Rhaenyra's claim, but she tells him Viserys changed his mind at the last moment, to which Aegon gives a disbelieving laugh, insisting that Viserys never liked Aegon enough to even consider making him heir. Alicent presents Aegon with Viserys's Valyrian Steel dagger, and insists that he reject her father's counsel that Rhaenyra be executed. Aegon suddenly asks her if she loves him, to which she amusedly and lovingly calls him an imbecile.[3]

As the entire city gathers in the Dragonpit, Aegon's coronation ceremony gets underway. Alicent kisses her son on the forehead, and watches as Septon Eustace blesses him in the name of the Seven, and Ser Criston crowns him with Aegon the Conqueror's crown. Alicent smiles as Aegon is declared king, and the entire gathered crowd applauds.[3]

The celebration is cut short, however, as the floor of the Dragonpit bursts apart and Rhaenys emerges on the back of her dragon Meleys. As the crowd flees the pit, Alicent orders Ser Criston to take Helaena to safety, as she places herself between Aegon and the snarling dragon. Accepting her fate, Alicent closes her eyes and waits for Meleys's flames to engulf her, but Meleys merely roars. Alicent opens her eyes and looks up at Rhaenys, who gives her a cold look, signaling her rejection of Alicent's request for her support, before turning Meleys around and flying out of the wrecked Dragonpit. Alicent looks down in relief of having been spared, as well as fear of how Rhaenyra will react when she learns of her father's death and the usurpation of her throne.[3]

When Otto is sent to Dragonstone to offer the Blacks terms of surrender, Alicent asks him to give Rhaenyra the page she tore from Ten Thousand Ships, in hopes of persuading her old friend to do what is best for everyone by reminding her of their past friendship, but all hope of peace is lost when Aemond kills Rhaenyra's son Lucerys.[15]

House of the Dragon: Season 2[]

In her private chambers, Alicent sits in a chair and allows Ser Criston Cole to perform oral sex on her (the pair of them having begun a sexual relationship in the wake of King Viserys's death). Afterwards as they dress, Alicent insists they cannot do so again. Criston merely gives her a wry look, indicating she's said such before, and replies they are both expected at the Small Council.[8]

At the following meeting of the Small Council, which includes the presence of Alicent's son and grandson, King Aegon II and Prince Jaehaerys, during the discussion, Alicent asks Grand Maester Orwyle if Rhaenyra has responded to any of her letters, prompting Lord Jasper Wylde to ask if the Dowager Queen included an apology for Rhaenyra's dead son with them. Orwyle admits that there has been no reply, and given Prince Lucerys's death and the Velaryon fleet's blockade of the Gullet, they must assume Rhaenyra has rejected their peace terms and intends to declare war. Alicent tries to persuade her son to offer new terms to convince Rhaenyra to surrender peacefully, but Aegon is more interested in watching his son annoy Ser Tyland Lannister. When Aegon suggests Tyland should give the Prince a pony ride on his back, Alicent puts her foot down and insists they have important business to attend to, after which Aegon grudgingly sends Jaehaerys off.[8]

The meeting is then interrupted by the arrival of Prince Aemond. Alicent, angered at her younger son for destroying their diplomatic entreaties to Rhaenyra by killing Lucerys, demands to know why Aemond is present, as he has no seat on the Council; Aegon clarifies that he invited Aemond to attend. When Aemond states that the Greens need to seize Harrenhal as a toehold in the Riverlands before the Blacks can, Aegon proposes he and Aemond take Vhagar and Sunfyre to Riverrun, force Lord Grover Tully and the Riverlords to bend the knee, adding they can destroy the Velaryon blockade as an afterthought. Both Alicent and Criston protest this course of action; Criston argues that Aegon would be exposing himself unnecessarily to the dangers of the battlefield, while Alicent insists Vhagar is needed to defend King's Landing against any retaliatory attack Rhaenyra might launch against the city to avenge Lucerys's murder. She also glares at Aemond while saying this, since he made such a response inevitable. Aegon also asks why they didn't kill Rhaenyra when they had the chance, prompting Otto Hightower to glance at Alicent, since she previously countermanded his wish to do precisely that, but Otto only remarks that the opportunity has been lost.[8]

After the meeting, Alicent is intercepted on the way back to her chambers by Lord Larys Strong. Larys remarks that he'd tried to speak with Alicent before the council meeting, only to be told by her handmaiden Alicent was indisposed. Larys informs Alicent he has completed his interrogation of the castle staff and infers any spying for persons other than himself have been executed. He also informs Alicent he has chosen her new staff personally, much to the Dowager Queen's discomfort. Later that day, she dismisses her new handmaidens, aware they're spying on her for Larys, so she can bathe in privacy. She later goes to the Grand Sept and lights candles in memory of her mother, Lady Alyrie Florent, Viserys and Lucerys.[8]

That evening, Alicent goes to her father's chambers to confront him, angrily asking if they're working towards the same goal; namely victory. When Otto asks how she defines victory, Alicent replies that in her mind, victory is Rhaenyra bending the knee and Aegon ruling peacefully as Viserys wished. Otto agrees that is his view as well, and Alicent insists he needs to work with her, even if he's frustrated at the decisions she's made following Viserys's death, not undermine her on the Small Council in front of her sons, otherwise they will stop heeding her counsel altogether. Otto admits he hadn't considered that and apologizes. Alicent also vents her anger at Aemond for destroying their diplomatic efforts to convince Rhaenyra to submit peacefully by killing Lucerys, no matter how justified he felt over exacting retribution for the loss of his eye. Otto admits Lucerys's death was a mistake, but defends his grandson's loyalty to their cause. Alicent notes that Aegon still heeds them, and once the novelty of ruling has worn off for him, they can direct their cause to victory as they see best. Otto agrees, but warns Alicent that the path to victory is now one of violence, as the Blacks surely won't accept a peaceful resolution following Lucerys's death. Alicent replies that she knows that, but it doesn't mean the Greens must sink to wanton brutality.[8]

That night, a pair of assassins, Blood and Cheese, hired by Daemon Targaryen to kill Aemond in retaliation for Lucerys's murder, infiltrate the Red Keep; unable to find Aemond, when they encounter Queen Helaena, Prince Jaehaerys and Princess Jaehaera Targaryen, they force Helaena to identify her son, then kill him. Helaena flees the scene with Jaehaera to her mother's chamber, too traumatized to notice Alicent is having sex with Criston on the bed. Alicent panics at the intrusion and hastily covers herself with the bedsheets as she asks Helaena what has happened, to which Helaena can only mumble "They killed the boy".[8]

A horrified Alicent is consoled by her father. She insists her grandson's murder is her fault (without saying aloud for the sin of sleeping with Criston), but Otto stops her from blaming herself, and insists some good may yet come from this tragedy. At a following meeting of the Green Council, a grieving and enraged Aegon pins the blame for his son's murder on Rhaenyra, and angrily rounds on his mother, reminding Alicent that she urged him to spare Rhaenyra's life. When Otto proposes a public funeral procession for Jaehaerys so the smallfolk can see and vilify Rhaenyra for it, Alicent reluctantly speaks up in favor of the plan, though she is displeased when Otto insists she and Helaena accompany the procession. Alicent afterwards informs a still shaken Helaena of the plans for the funeral procession; Helaena makes it clear she doesn't want to participate, but Alicent insists that they have a duty as representatives of the throne. Alicent also tries to broach the subject of whether or not Helaena saw her in bed with Criston, but Helaena disinterestedly thrusts a shawl into Alicent's arms for the Silent Sisters to wrap Jaehaerys's body in and walks away.[5]

Alicent and Helaena, clad in mourning dress, ride in a wagon behind the wagon carrying Jaehaerys's body through the streets of King's Landing to the Dragonpit, where Jaehaerys will be cremated. The smallfolk line the route of the procession, offering their condolences, but Helaena becomes more and more agitated by the noise and presence of the crowd. When the wagon carrying Jaehaerys's body becomes stuck in a pothole, the crowd pressing in overwhelms Helaena, forcing Alicent to calm her panicking daughter down.[5]

Following the procession, as Alicent's handmaidens prepare a bath for her, she asks Criston, standing guard outside her door, if he's told anyone about what they were doing at the time of Jaehaerys's murder. When Criston incredulously asks who she takes him for, Alicent calls him someone looking for absolution. Criston sadly replies there is no absolution for what he's done; Alicent closes the door on him, dismisses her maids and then sinks beneath the water of her bath.[5]

In the succeeding days, Aegon has the Red Keep's entire staff of rat catchers executed after being informed one of them helped murder Jaehaerys. Otto berates him for destroying any goodwill and sympathy the Greens won with the smallfolk following the funeral procession, resulting in an argument that culminates with Aegon stripping Otto of his position as Hand of the King in favor of Criston. In a private discussion with Otto afterwards, Alicent insists Aegon is merely lashing out from grief at his son's death and promises to speak with him once he has calmed down to arrange Otto's return to court. Removed from his seat on the Council, Otto declares his intention to return to Oldtown and mentor Alicent's youngest son, Prince Daeron Targaryen, rather than watch Aegon and Criston destroy his carefully laid plans in pursuit of vengeance against Rhaenyra. Alicent instead urges him to go to Highgarden and ensure House Tyrell and their bannermen support the Greens, and Otto assures Alicent that so long as they hold to their plans, they will prevail and bring forth peace. Alicent briefly tries to confess to her father her sins (namely that she was in bed with Criston at the time of Jaehaerys' murder) but Otto gently silences her.[5]

Returning to her private chambers, Alicent notices Aegon crying for his son in his room. She briefly contemplates going to comfort him, but withdraws instead, clearly aware he would not welcome her presence. When Criston comes to her room a short time afterwards, despite her reservations, she gives into her emotions and has sex with him again.[5]

Alicent is present at the first meeting of the Small Council headed by Criston following his appointment as Hand of the King: both she and Jasper Wylde berate Cole for having sent Arryk Cargyll to infiltrate Dragonstone and assassinate Rhaenyra, calling the plan a rash action that cost Ser Arryk his life. When Grand Maester Orwyle and Ser Tyland Lannister start bickering over the best strategy to subdue the Riverlands, now in open rebellion following the Battle of the Burning Mill, Alicent shouts at them to stop squabbling, also mocking Ser Criston's plan to take a small handpicked force to Harrenhal by way of the Crownlands as another rash scheme doomed to fail, though Criston appeals to King Aegon to override Alicent's protests.[16]

A few days later, as Cole's army prepares to march, Alicent introduces Criston to her brother, Ser Gwayne Hightower, insisting he will join Criston on his campaign. Alicent offers Criston her prayers for his safety and, at his request, her favor to wear into battle, before Criston mounts his horse and leads his army from the city.[16]

Alicent travels to the Grand Sept to pray, accompanied by two Hightower guardsmen she leaves outside. She is praying at the altar when she is accosted by Rhaenyra, who has infiltrated the city, disguised as a septa, who presses a dagger to Alicent's side to keep her from alerting her guards. Rhaenyra explains she is in King's Landing because Rhaenys counselled her Alicent has no desire for war, and hoped they can try and negotiate a peaceful resolution. Alicent rebuffs the idea, insisting Rhaenyra is only attempting to bargain because her allies are deserting her for her part in Jaehaerys's murder. Rhaenyra angrily denies any involvement in the crime, countering that by the same token, Alicent is equally complicit in Lucerys's murder, and is seemingly willing to let thousands die just so her "feckless son" can be king. Alicent rejects Rhaenyra's accusation she approved Lucerys's death and insists Viserys named Aegon heir on his deathbed. Rhaenyra scoffs at the idea her father, who loved and considered her his heir to the Iron Throne for years, changed his mind on a whim, but Alicent vows on her mother's memory she is telling the truth. Genuinely hurt by the idea her father turned against her, Rhaenya demands Alicent tell her what transpired; Alicent admits Viserys was incoherent at the end, but says Viserys called Aegon the Prince That Was Promised. Shocked, Rhaenyra explains that her father was referring to a story he once told her from Aegon the Conqueror's time, and an appalled Alicent realizes she misinterpreted Viserys's dying words.[16]

Shaken, Alicent tells Rhaenyra to leave before she's discovered. Rhaenyra begs Alicent to admit she made a mistake and help avert a war that will mean devastation to Westeros regardless of which side is victorious, but Alicent insists it's too late to stop the coming conflict; her father is gone from court, Cole and his army are on the march, and Aegon and Aemond are out for blood. Alicent then flees the sept, even as Rhaenyra pleads with her to listen.[16]

At Alicent's request, Grand Maester Orwyle delivers a jar of moon tea to her chambers, though Alicent lies that it is for a woman in her service when Orwyle warns her of potential side effects. Alicent, shaken by what Rhaenyra told her, asks Orwyle if King Viserys ever expressed a wish for their son Aegon to succeed him as King; the Grand Maester demurs that Viserys never discussed the matter with him. Once Orwyle is gone, Alicent hastily drinks the moon tea. As Orwyle warned, the tea's side effects debilitate Alicent enough to absent herself from a Small Council meeting. When Lord Larys Strong comes to her chambers, ostensibly to check on her, Alicent lies and claims her incapacitation was the result of overindulging on lamprey pie.[17]

The pair discuss Prince Daemon's capture of Harrenhal and Criston Cole's military successes in the Crownlands, before Larys observes several of Viserys's old history books on the table between them, remarking his surprise Alicent shared her husband's love of history. Alicent remarks that she has an interest in the subject, noting Viserys looked to history to guide him. Larys asks if Alicent believes Viserys looked to history when he chose to name Aegon his heir, noting that no matter how well suited he thought his eldest daughter for the crown, history would have told him how Westeros would react to Rhaenyra's succession. Alicent bluntly replies whatever it is impossible to know what Viserys intended, and the significance of his intentions died with him; war is inevitable now, and Rhaenyra and Aegon's supporters will believe what they will to justify their actions in the coming conflict.[17]

Some time later, Alicent goes to her son's chambers to look for more of Viserys's books there. Aegon, returning from a small council meeting, demands to know why she's there; when Alicent asks after the books, Aegon replies he had them removed. Alicent berates him for disposing of such invaluable knowledge, to which Aegon tersely retorts he merely removed the books, not destroyed them. Aegon proceeds to complain that the men of his Small Council, Aemond and Criston are all making plans without his say-so or bothering to consult him. Alicent scoffs at Aegon's belief that merely wearing the crown makes him wiser than men who studied and strove for years to earn their seats on the King's Council, expressing her disappointment Aegon hasn't had the wit to silently learn from his more learned advisors so he might amount to even half the king his father was. Angered, Aegon rebukes her, but Alicent scoffs at his implied threat to either banish or execute her like his grandfather or the Red Keep's ratcatchers. Alicent reminds Aegon that, given she ruled in Viserys's stead during his illness and Otto Hightower's lengthy service as cunning statesman, he should be begging them for their opinions and counsel, rather than the other way around, bitterly adding Aegon has no idea what sacrifices were made to put him on the throne. Aegon sadly asks what she wants of him, to which Alicent scornfully replies he do the only thing needed of him: nothing.[17]

Personality[]

Alicent is fiercely loyal to her family.[1] She has a habit of picking at her fingernails when she is stressed since her youth.[7]

Since she was still a child, Alicent was already very studious, with a particular passion for history, and devoted to pursuing her duties and meeting the expectations that everyone, her father in the first place, had of her. She was also unconditionally loyal to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, her best friend, to whom she felt deeply attached. Having lost her mother at a very young age, Alicent is able to fully understand the stages of mourning that both Viserys and Rhaenyra are going through after Queen Aemma's death and this has helped her in knowing how to advise and give emotional support to both of them.

In the years following her essentially unhappy marriage with the King and the growing rift between her and Rhaenyra, Alicent grows into an adult woman deeply resentful of her former best friend, as well as extremely paranoid about the safety of her children. She also becomes obsessed with placing her eldest son, Aegon, on the throne in place of her half-sister to ensure the security she longs for and make up for all the years she sacrificed all her needs and desires while remaining a good, devoted and dedicated wife under to Viserys. While loving and caring for her children, Alicent is not blind to their faults, as shown when she angrily berates Aegon for his lecherous tendencies towards Dyana.

Alicent has shown a more softer side to Helaena, taking offense at Rhaenyra’s attempt to end their dispute by marrying her to one of her sons. But like with her sons, Alicent is also at times frustrated by Helaena’s faults, such as her difficulty socializing and communicating and her general disinterest in getting involved in court politics. Despite this, Alicent has still shown to care greatly for her and tries her best to comfort and support Helaena after Jaehaerys's death.

Quotes[]

Spoken by Alicent[]

Rhaenyra: "You've gone too far."
Alicent: "I? What have I done but what was expected of me? Forever upholding the kingdom, the family, the law. While you flout all to do all as you please. Where is duty? Where is sacrifice? It's trampled under your pretty foot again! And now you take my son's eye, and to even that, you feel entitled."
— Rhaenyra and Alicent[src]
"We do not rule, but we may guide the men that do. Gently, away from violence and sure destruction, and instead toward peace."
―Alicent, to Rhaenys[src]
Alicent: "Our hearts were never one. I see that now. Rather, I have been a piece that you moved about the board."
Otto: "If that is true, then I made you Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Would have desired it otherwise?"
Alicent: "How could I know? I wanted whatever you impressed upon me to want. And now the debt comes due. A debt you were happy enough to pay."
Otto: "A sacrifice. A sacrifice made for the stability of the realm. No king has ever lived that hasn't had to forfeit the lives of a few to protect the many. Though I understand your squeamishness."
Alicent: "Reluctance to murder is not a weakness!"
— Alicent and Otto Hightower[src]
"Rhaenyra's supporters will believe what they wish, and so will Aegon's. The war will be fought, many will die, and the victor will eventually ascend the throne. The significance of Viserys's intentions died with him."
―Alicent acknowledging civil war is inevitable to Larys Strong[src]

Spoken about Alicent[]

"Exhausting, wasn't it? Hiding beneath the cloak of your own righteousness. But now they see you as you are."
―Rhaenyra, to Alicent[src]
"We play an ugly game. And now, for the first time, I see that you have the determination to win it."
―Otto, to Alicent[src]
"You are wiser than I believed you to be, Alicent Hightower. And yet you toil still in service to men. Your father, your husband, your son. You desire not to be free, but to make a window in the wall of your prison. Have you never imagined yourself on the Iron Throne?"
―Rhaenys, to Alicent[src]
"That whore of a queen murdered my brother and stole his throne."
―Daemon, about Alicent[src]
Otto Hightower: "Queen Alicent has not forgotten the love you once had for each other. No blood need be spilled, the realm can carry on in peace. Queen Alicent eagerly awaits your reply."
Daemon Targaryen: "She can have her answer now, stuffed in her father's mouth along with his withered cock!"
— Otto and Daemon both invoke Alicent to Rhaenyra[src]

Family[]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-HobertHightower
Hobert
Hightower

Deceased
 
Famtree-Lynesse Hightower
Lynesse
Hightower


 
 
 
Famtree-OttoHightower
Otto
Hightower


 
House-Florent-Square
Alyrie
Florent

Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Hightower-Square
Ormund
Hightower


 
Famtree-Gwayne Hightower
Gwayne
Hightower


 
Famtree-ViserysITargaryen
Viserys I
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon
Deceased
 
Famtree-AlicentHightower
Alicent
Hightower


 
House-Hightower-Square
Son(s)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-Aegon Targaryen
Aegon II
Targaryen
Aegon II Targaryen

 
Famtree-HelaenaTargaryen
Helaena
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

 
Famtree-AemondTargaryen
Aemond
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

 
House-Targaryen-HotD-Square
Daeron
Targaryen


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-PrinceJahaerysTargaryen
Jaehaerys
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon
Deceased
 
Famtree-JaehaeraTargaryen
Jaehaera
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

 

Behind the scenes[]

Alicent Hightower was revealed to be a lead character in House of the Dragon on July 18, 2020. On December 11, 2020, HBO announced that Olivia Cooke had been cast in the role for the series. Her character description for Season 1 reads as follows:

"The daughter of Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King, and the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms. She was raised in the Red Keep, close to the king and his innermost circle; she possesses both a courtly grace and a keen political acumen."[18]

On July 6, 2021, it was reported that Emily Carey was set to portray young Alicent.

Her character description for Season 2 reads as follows:

"The late King Viserys I's second wife, who served him, her father, Ser Otto Hightower, and the realm, faithfully. Alicent is the mother to Viserys' first-born son, Aegon II, who now sits the Iron Throne."[19]

In the books[]

Alicent's father Otto Hightower had been Hand of the King in the last few years of the long reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. In 101 AC Otto brought the 15 year old Alicent to the royal court, where she cared for the aging king (who was left a broken shell after the recent death of his queen of many years, Alysanne, and then his second son Baelon a year later). Jaehaerys died in 103 AC and was succeeded by his grandson Viserys I, who ruled for 26 years. Her father Otto remained as Hand of the King for Viserys I, and Otto's older brother in time succeeded as head of House Hightower.

Alicent is described as looking quite young for her age, even well into her 40s. Despite having four pregnancies, Alicent maintained her youthful figure. In her youth, Alicent was said to be one of the most comely maidens in Westeros, but also precociously clever.

Alicent's father Otto wasn't the head of House Hightower, but the younger brother of the unnamed head of the family - by the time of the Dance, Otto's nephew Ormund was the ruler of House Hightower and Oldtown. Alicent's mother was never mentioned in the books at all, to the point that her absence from scenes at the royal court may imply that she died years before the Dance of the Dragons. Alicent had an unspecified number of siblings, but the only one ever identified was her youngest brother Gwayne. She also had numerous cousins.

In the first Targaryen family tree drafted by George R.R. Martin, the mother of Aegon II was called "Lysa Hightower."[20]

Appearances[]

Forthcoming[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Alicent Hightower. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 3: "Second of His Name" (2022).
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 9: "The Green Council" (2022).
  4. House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 5: "Regent" (2024).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 2: "Rhaenyra the Cruel" (2024).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 2: "The Rogue Prince" (2022).
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 1: "The Heirs of the Dragon" (2022).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 1: "A Son for a Son" (2024).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 4: "King of the Narrow Sea" (2022).
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 6: "The Princess and the Queen" (2022).
  11. Character Guide. HBO. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 5: "We Light the Way" (2022).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 7: "Driftmark" (2022).
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 8: "The Lord of the Tides" (2022).
  15. House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 10: "The Black Queen" (2022).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 3: "The Burning Mill" (2024).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Episode 4: "The Red Dragon and the Gold" (2024).
  18. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S1 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  19. Unknown author (Unknown date). House of the Dragon S2 | Character Descriptions. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved June 5, 2024.
  20. Elio Garcia (July 4, 2024). House of the Dragon: Odds and Ends Part 1. Westeros.org. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  21. House of the Dragon Season 2 | Episode 6 Preview | Max
  22. Wake the Dragon (December 3, 2023). Episode 7. X. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  23. Wake the Dragon (December 1, 2023). 🚨🐉SEASON 2 FINALE. X. Retrieved December 10, 2023.

Notes[]

  1. Alicent Hightower is stated to be 14 years old in the script for "The Heirs of the Dragon," which takes place in 112 AC. According to Olivia Cooke, she is still 14 when she marries Viserys I Targaryen after "The Rogue Prince;" therefore, she was born in 98 AC.
  2. In "A Son for a Son," Daemon Targaryen and Otto Hightower mention that days have passed since Viserys Targaryen and Lucerys Velaryon's deaths. Unlike the first season, no major time jumps are expected; therefore, House of the Dragon: Season 2 takes place in 132 AC.

External links[]

Preceded by Queen consort of the Seven Kingdoms
c. 112 - 132 AC
Succeeded by


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