Is there hope for women's rights in the seven kingdoms?
Episode 2 of 'House of the Dragon' has been marked with a memorable quote from Princess Rhaenys, the Queen Who Never Was. She said that men would rather put the entire realm to torch than see a woman ascending to the Iron Throne – apparently in a nod to the Westerosi patriarchy that prevented her from ever ruling the seven kingdoms.
Rhaenys dropped her bitter line when speaking to Rhaenyra – a girl who actually managed to be named an heir, albeit after a truly unacceptable act from her competitor, Daemon Targaryen, who lost his chance after calling his late newborn brother "an heir for a day".
Still, is Rhaenys right? Is it true that Westerosi men would rather let it all burn than bow to a woman? According to some fans on Reddit, it's not exactly like that – although it's not because the local lords will all suddenly become feminists.
"The thing that motivated the Lords allegiances during The Dance was not whether the heir was male or female but whether there was a benefit to gain from their allegiance, a grudge to settle, an oath to honor or whoever showed up at their castle with his dragon first," one fan argued on Reddit.
According to the fan, it might become a problem for the show, since it has pushed the anti-women sentiment in the first two episodes.
However, others are not ready to agree, noting that the "torch" statement was just an opinion by Rhaenys rather than a declaration of canon.
Besides, even as an opinion, Rhaenys' statement made sense, people argue.
"The problem is not people taking sides in the war. It's the war itself. Male heir= no war. Female heir= war. That's the difference. That was Rhaenys point," one of the 'House of the Dragon' fans noted.
After all, we're taking about a medieval-ish universe that solves issues by intrigues and violence rather than addressing basic human rights. Undoubtedly, the issue of appointing an heir is sexist, especially from modern point of view: Viserys' struggle for a male heir (that led him to greenlighting his wife's fatal C-section) illustrates that clearly. But chances are the show is going to highlight the issue and make it make sense even for a modern viewer.
'House of the Dragon' is currently streaming on HBO Max. New episodes arrive on Sundays.