Despite its gruesome tone, 'House of the Dragon' has been touted as the show that is going to address patriarchy and misogyny. So far, it does pretty well.
'House of the Dragon' is not simply a 'Game of Thrones' prequel, but also a witty cultural and social statement — at least according to fans who have already praised the show for highlighting the flaws of the Westerosi patriarchy in a subtle yet powerful way.
Milly Alcock, who portrays young Rhaenyra in the show, appears to agree. In an interview with Nylon, she particularly expressed her opinion on how the Westerosi traditions affect the friendship between her character and her best friend, Lady Alicent Hightower.
"The irony that I've kind of found over the show coming out, is that House of the Dragon highlights yes, the patriarchy, yes, misogyny, but also the internalized misogyny that these two women are forced to face. They're forced to be put at odds with one another by the choices by men," Alcock told the magazine.
It's "by decision of mostly men" that Rhaenyra and Alicent are put at odds with each other, the actress has argued. She seems to echo the sentiment of the majority of the fandom, with people noting how the two women have to bow down to the expectations of the Westerosi patriarchal society.
For instance, Rhaenyra constantly has to prove herself to the King and his court in order to assure everyone that she is a worhy heir to the throne; a pressure that a male heir would unlikely face. Alicent, in turn, does not have a say in her father Otto Hightower's devious plans and has to be complacent when he sends her to comfort King Viserys right after his wife's demise.
Still, the two women manage to preserve their friendship, even though their relationship remains complicated and dramatic. There are six more episodes for us to know just how much power do Rhaenyra and Alicent have against the Westerosi traditions.
'House of the Dragon' is currently streaming on HBO Max. New episodes premiere every Sunday.