In the 10th episode of “House of the Dragon“, Ser Otto Hightower travels to Dragonstone to make an offer to Rhaenyra. What is the meaning of the book page he is giving to Rhaenyra from Alicent?
- On Dragonstone, negotiations erupt between Ser Otto Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen.
- Otto also presents a page from Alicent’s book to the crowned Queen Rhaenyra
- What is it all about and what did Alicent want to achieve with it?
The relationship between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower is present and pivotal throughout the first season of House of the Dragon. In Episode 10, on Dragonstone, Ser Otto Hightower attempts to persuade the newly crowned Rhaenyra Targaryen to surrender and accept the terms of Aegon II.
He also hands her a printed, torn-out book page. He says that this is from Alicent . Rhaenyra is visibly moved, and she wants to think about Otto’s offer until the next day. What secret message does she receive from her former best friend from King’s Landing and what does it mean?
A gift from a long-time friend
With the Greens under Otto and Alicent crowning Aegon , war with Rhaenyra seems inevitable. To avoid this, Ser Otto Hightower travels to Dragonstone to present Rhaenyra with terms by which she should surrender. A gesture meant to soothe Rhaenyra’s heart is the book page he hands her from Alicent.
This is from a history book that Rhaenyra and Alicent read together in the godswood of King’s Landing when they were young. Pictured is Princess Nymeria leading the Rhoynar people on 10,000 ships from Essos to Westeros.
Is this supposed to remind Rhaenyra of their childhood together and good, carefree times together? Or is it a manipulative move by the Greens? Finally, the Green Council has finally decided to kill or banish Rhaenyra and her children lest their own rule be endangered.
Olive branch of peace or gauntlet of war?
The book page clearly shows several things. First, that Alicent has kept these for 20 years and has never forgotten what could represent her enduring love and friendship for Rhaenyra. And second, Alicent, using the book page as a peace gesture, says she doesn’t want war and is asking Rhaenyra to relinquish her claim to the throne on the best terms.
With the book page, Alicent speaks to Rhaenyra’s heart and her memory of better times. It’s Alicent’s last hope that peace is possible and that the two former best friends don’t have to face each other as bitter rivals.
As we’ve seen in past episodes of House of the Dragon, Alicent isn’t as obsessed with power as her father is, nor does she have a peculiar hatred of Rhaenyra. So it would be fitting that she clutches at the last straw to smooth things over between the two factions and prevent war.
What response will Rhaenyra have to Alicent’s action?
While Rhaenyra hasn’t forgotten her old feelings for her childhood friend, Alicent’s gesture is unlikely to have prompted her to give up, even for a moment. While the Greens ‘ offer includes mercy on Rhaenyra, her children, and all allies, and keeping Dragonstone, it is nonetheless a bitter one for Rhaenyra.
Above all, Rhaenyra strives for peace in Westeros and the preservation of Aegon’s prophecy . If she ever considered Alicent’s offer, it was for the sake of the empire, not out of nostalgia. The betrayal and the usurpment of Alicent and her allies runs too deep.
Rhaenyra tells Otto that she will send her reply within a day. But this is just waiting to plan the next step. The page of the book and Alicent’s struggle to make peace may have touched her, but it is irrelevant to her political decision. The First Blood, meant to begin the Dance of the Dragons, is also soon spilled by Aemond Targaryen, leaving Rhaenyra with no choice but to respond violently.