Fire & Desire

Episode 2 of House of the Dragon Is Full of Queer Subtext

On Sunday, House of the Dragon’s second episode dropped, and queer fans had their eyes peeled for new developments in the apparent sapphic romance between two lead characters. Instead, their relationship just got a lot more complicated—if not completely doomed.

During last week’s premiere episode, gaydars were set off across the internet by Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Lady Alicent (Emily Carey). The actors quickly confirmed that the romantic subtext was intentional. At the same time, those statements were ambiguous as to whether any of that would develop into an actual onscreen romance. And in the most recent episode, the romantic possibilities grew even more dicey.

Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of House of the Dragon 

Although King Viserys has now chosen his daughter Rhaenyra as his successor, he is still intent on producing a male heir. He spends much of the recent episode evaluating candidates for a second wife—his first having died in childbirth along with their son. Ultimately, he chooses Lady Alicent, which would effectively make her Rhaenyra’s stepmother.

Assuming Viserys goes through with the marriage, the relationship between Rhaenyra and Alicent is likely going to become antagonistic. While that kind of forbidden, enemies-to-lovers romance wouldn’t be outside the wheelhouse of a franchise like Game of Thrones, fans are already assuming the worst.

On the bright side, there are other potential queer love stories on the horizon. The third episode is going to introduce Laenor, who is implied to be gay in the books. Likewise, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, his assumed lover, will also soon be making an appearance.

The original Game of Thrones series included a handful of gay/bi characters—including couple Loras and Renly, Oberyn and his  partner Ellaria—and gender-noncomforming characters like Brienne and Arya. But in true GOT style, many of these characters were short-lived, so here’s hoping its prequel series manages to give its queer viewers more to look forward to.

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