‘House of the Dragon’: Why Alicent’s green dress is so important


The wedding of Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) may have ended in a bloody brawl, but the real battle started when Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) walked into the wedding feast wearing that dress. A gorgeous green gown fit for Alicent’s status as queen, this dress was more than just a killer fashion statement. It was a call to arms.

For most of House of the Dragon, we’ve seen Alicent dressed in red or in blue. (Side note: That blue dress with the cutouts? Give it to me now.) This is the first time we see her in green, a color that is extremely important to House Hightower. As Larys and Harwin Strong (Matthew Needham and Ryan Corr) explain, when Oldtown, the seat of House Hightower, calls its banners to war, the beacon at the top of the Hightower glows green. With one pointed sartorial choice, Alicent gives us a portent of the conflict to come.

From the Red Keep, Alicent doesn’t have the resources to change the Hightower beacon. In fact, she starts the episode almost completely alone. Her father Otto (Rhys Ifans) has been removed as Hand. As she later finds out, Rhaenyra lied to her about whether she was still a virgin, which played a large part in her father’s dismissal. On top of all that, Otto reminds her that if Viserys (Paddy Considine) dies, Alicent’s children will be in grave danger when Rhaenyra attempts to consolidate power. With the odds stacked against her, Alicent uses her queenly fashion to send a signal to the Hightowers at the wedding feast: She is not going down without a fight.

In George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, Alicent’s green dress makes a similar appearance at a tourney celebrating five years of her marriage to Viserys. In that scene, it isn’t Alicent’s dress that causes a stir, but rather Rhaenyra’s: She dresses dramatically in the red and black of House Targaryen.

From that point on, Westeros is officially divided into the camps of the “greens” and the “blacks.” The greens support Alicent, as well as her baby Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne, whereas the blacks support Rhaenyra as the true heir. Notable greens include Larys Strong and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), while notable blacks include Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), and Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best).

As the rivalry between Alicent and Rhaenyra intensifies in the coming episodes, be sure to keep an eye out for who is wearing what colors. Westerosi wardrobes are the perfect way to see which side of this conflict characters are declaring for. And it all started with Alicent’s absolute showstopper of a dress! This may be our last week with Emily Carey as Alicent, as Olivia Cooke takes over the role in episode 6, but Carey most certainly left in style.

New House of the Dragon episodes are available every Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

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