House of the Dragon had its biggest time jump yet in episode 6. After 10 years, Rhaenyra and Alicent became different actors, Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke respectively. It did leave fans wondering what may have happened in the ten years between them. Executive Producer Miguel Sapochnik is here to help.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for ‘House of the Dragon’.]
Sapochnik was a guest on the House of the Dragon podcast on Sept. 25. He addressed the 10 year gap between episodes 5 and 6. New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays on HBO Max, time jumps and all.
Rhaenyra and Alicent have held a grudge during the 10 year time jump on ‘House of the Dragon’
Sapochnik speculated that after the events of episode 5, neither Rhaenyra nor Alicent have moved on. As such, they haven’t quite matured by the time the new actors take over after the House of the Dragon time jump.
“You get past antagonism, someone moving on in life, another person not,” Sapochnik said on the House of the Dragon podcast. “You get past feeling like you’re stuck, becoming jealous of your friend’s experience even though it’s not one that you’d want to have. All those things, you see them find their way through the maze that is growing up. Then they hit the brick wall when trust is destroyed between them. I just don’t think their relationship evolves anymore. It’s stuck. They’re still children.”
Rhaenyra crossed a line she can’t take back
Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) has had to learn to play the game of thrones just to protect King Viserys (Paddy Considine)’s throne. Even his wife, Alicent (Emily Carey) is a player herself. Prior to the 10 year time jump on House of the Dragons, Rhaenyra already set the stage.
I believe that we didn’t discuss events but we probably discussed emotional journeys for those characters because in a way, what Happens at the end of episode 5 which is a betrayal is probably one of my favorite moments of both Emily and Milly’s performances in the show is when Emily is turned away and Milly is looking at her. She comes to the point of lying. She knows she has to go this one step further and really explain explicitly what happened and she starts lying. Once the dam breaks it’s a flood. You’ve seen her be this person struggling with wanting to stand by her values and suddenly she’s no longer doing that and it’s not as hard as she thought it was going to be. Maybe I’m projecting this but I see all these things in her face when I watch her doing that scene.Miguel Sapochnik, House of the Dragon podcast, 9/25/22
Rhaenyra and Alicent might be the Romeo and Juliet of ‘House of the Dragon’
Sapochnik added that the resentment gets complicated when you consider that Rhaenyra and Alicent may have had romantic feelings for each other. All that was destroyed when the men of Westeros started embroiling them in political couplings.
“It’s such a traumatic event between the two of them and then the subsequent realization on Alicent’s part when Criston Cole admits he’d had sex with the wrong person basically, or that he was the wrong person to have sex with, I’m not sure which,” Sapochnik said. “I feel like that’s almost enough to last 10 years because you don’t escape it. You don’t get past it.”
Sapochnik said House of the Dragon suggests that left alone, Rhaenyra and Alicent may have explored a relationship with each other.
If you look at the way Alicent and Rhaenyra’s relationship develops in the first five episodes, first four or five years of time we spend with them, they are good friends with this potential romantic entanglement from earlier on that has always been a big thing for me that I thought was an essential component of why they are such close friends. It seems like it’s a kind of unrequited love. It’s not something Alicent chose to encourage. Did they ever have a thing? Don’t know but there’s something there. Rhaenyra has this deep longing for her best friend. We talked about it sometimes, it was about that first crush, that crush you have on your best friend as a girl that you can’t change and then as a boy you have it but it’s even more pushed down, even less allowed, less acceptable and how you get past sleeping with your father.Miguel Sapochnik, House of the Dragon podcast, 9/25/22