The adult Rhaenyra and Alicent have arrived at last – but amid births, deaths, and warring families, their rivalry is only growing hotter.
It’s just past the halfway point of Season 1, and our two leads have finally shown up for work. Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke now take over as Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively . And it’s a testament to the strong work of Milly Alcock and Emily Carey .That it takes a chunk of this episode to get used to the shift. Helpfully, the ten-year time jump signalled by the casting change has only seen a continuation of patterns . Already established: the pair have settled into their rivalry . And established a routine of petty jousting that is warping the entire court.
We finish with Daemon once again widowed – it’s becoming a habit – and Rhaenyra leaving King’s Landing for her ancestral fortress on Dragonstone, abandoning the court and its machinations to her rival. Will it prove a mistake to cede the power of the court to Alicent? Almost certainly, but Rhaenyra’s desire to get away from the endless attacks on herself and her children is understandable. A rat running along Viserys’ mantlepiece and his empty sleeve are not the only signs that his power is decaying, and something is going to have to give way soon.
Plotting, mutilation, murder, and dragons: it doesn’t get much more Game Of Thrones than this. It’s also a dramatically compelling episode, with lots of spiky moments to reassure us that Rhaenyra and Alicent are in good hands. If a few moments still feel shaky in the writing, there’s no doubt that the cast are doing their utmost.
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