‘House Of The Dragon’ Ep 5: The Colour Of Queen Alicent’s Gown For The Royal Wedding Signals Major Power Play And Upcoming War
Episode 5 of House Of The Dragon Season 1 has finally arrived on our screens and there is so much that we wanna talk about. From secret affairs being spoken, wedding bells to colours of royal costume, the newest episode dished out an exciting turning point in the plot. The close to 60mins-long episode introduced us to the first day of festivities that lead to Princess Rhaenyra’s wedding to Ser Laenor Velaryon, son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen. It sheds light on the changing alliances and soon-to-be broken bonds between Rhaenyra, and her stepmother and best friend Alicent and her presumed love interest–Ser Criston Cole. The shifting dynamics are put on the forefront or perhaps presented in the manner of a royal feast, that brings with it clarity.
Besides the ailing King, every character steps into the politics of marriage, then be it new or already existing. As Rhaenyra wisely uses her union with Laenor as means to reach the crown, Alicent finally acknowledges the power she always had. This time, both the leading ladies demand attention. Holding the grudges of broken trust and the departure of her father from royal duties, Alicent prevails as the queen that she was wedded to be. The episode takes the viewers through the coming together of the Targaryens and the Velaryons, as Rhaenyra agrees to marry cousin Laenor and explains to him the politics of marriage, that were once fed to her by uncle Daemon. The two unite in the hope to take the iron throne. But what the princess seems to be unaware of is Set Criston’s secret confession to the queen. Post proposing the idea of marriage to Rhaenyra and finding himself rejected in her answers, the knight spills the truth about his ‘special night’ with the princess when enquired by Alicent. This leads to a turning point in the narrative that queen has been narrating since episode one. Showcasing broken trusts, costume designer Jany Temime uses wardrobe as a mode to push the plot.
As the viewers set their eyes on the royal wedding, we see the splurge of colours that remain a staple in the King’s landing. But what brings with it a sign of war is Alicent’s choice of a green regal gown. Before we hear the tight-lipped chatter between Harwin and Larys Strong, we know her entrance is to be made a note. Ever since her wedding to the king, Alicent’s marriage has always been a choice that she was never allowed to make. With duties that involve bedding the king and producing his heirs, Alicent’s position as the queen has always been about being a partner to the king, and a continuing good friend to Rhaenyra, rather than plotting the crowning of her kids. However this time, as Alicent walks the hallway in her cape-decorated, off-shoulder, silk gown, her entry is more than just an interruption to the king’s speech and her salty “stepdaughter” remark packaged into a congratulatory message for the princess. She calls for every eye’s attention and demands respect. As suggested by the muted exchange between Harwin and Larys, it explains the significance of the colour green, as they say, “the beacon on the Hightower, do you know what colour it goes when Oldtown calls its banner to war?…green.”
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The colour stands close to House Hightower and remains a sign of war. This also indicates the division of houses in names of colours. The shade is also a beautiful mix of yellow, which stands for glory and God’s favourite colour blue. Apart from being a sign of envy, green also marks the hope of renewal and life. The meaning sits well with Alicent’s changing persona, as she finally takes the seat as the King’s queen. It also seems like the conversations of the queen, with her father, Ser Criston and Larys Strong, that inaugurated the episode, have had an impact on her changing dynamics with the princess and her rising wish to see her son–Aegon claim the iron throne. The colour is a powerful sartorial move that signals the changing politics. The dress is a reminder for Alicent herself, who wears her father’s last words of not lending support to Rhaenyra.
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The colour reminds the guests of House Hightower and the beacon on it. The episode title–We light the way, also plays a crucial role in signalling the viewers towards the relationship between the Hightowers and the tall structure that lends them their motto. Through the royal green, Alicent suggests she isn’t in favour of the king’s decision. She knows the princess’ marriage will only secure her chances towards the iron throne and reduce that of Aegon. Besides silently calling out for war, Alicent walks an extra mile and recruits Rhaenyra’s sworn protector–Ser Criston, just when he aims to kill himself.
This also leads to the divided houses that will come in colours–green and black. Green indicates the supporters of Alicent and black of Rhaenyra’s. Her late arrival in the colour also calls for her supporters, who will eventually build Aegon’s road to the throne. The changing relationship between Alicent and Rhaenyra also indicates the war between the two political houses, that will rise, as the conflict intensifies between the two. Well, we hope to see more sartorial signals and pocketed hints stitched to character costumes in the coming episode. Oh, and also, the older versions of the two leading ladies, played by Emma D’Arcy (older Rhaenyra) and Olivia Cooke (older Alicent).
Image Credits: HBO