Even before House of the Dragon hit the small screen in August 2022, marketing made it very clear that unlike Game of Thrones, the show would feature its female characters front and center. Enter Rhaenyra Targaryen – played by Milly Alcock as a teenager and Emma D’Arcy as an adult – a wayward dragon rider who, as the only child of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine), is proclaimed official heir to the Iron Throne, which would make her the first woman to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys credits him with not reversing that decision even if he has two sons with his much younger wife Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey as a teenager, Olivia Cooke as an adult), but Rhaenyra is acutely aware that her position is precarious Best.
As a teenager, Rhaenyra is plagued by the knowledge that, like Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), the infamous “Queen That Never Was” who was passed over for her cousin Viserys, men would rather watch the realm “burn” than see a woman seated on the Iron Throne. Alicent, on the other hand, is well aware, thanks to her father Otto (Rhys Ifans), that if Rhaenyra wants to retain her claim to the throne, she may well eliminate Alicent’s sons to strengthen that very claim. House of the Dragon definitely wants viewers to see Alicent and Rhaenyra as incredibly powerful female characters, but… are they really?
Not only does the show pit its two female leads against each other rather than unite them towards a common goal, but it also puts them in the middle of a patriarchal system to which they both cling — most notably Alicent, who is essentially being used as one’s father’s sexual pawn without any resistance. Are Rhaenyra and Alicent actually powerful, or is it just a fake feminist facade? “House of the Dragon” Yes, really would like us to believe it’s a story about strong women, but it resorts to far too many tropes and still focuses on a male-driven system above all else.
https://www.looper.com/1029879/house-of-the-dragon-tries-to-fix-game-of-thrones-problems-with-women-but-just-finds-new-ones/ House of the Dragon is trying to solve Game of Thrones’ problems with women