- Eve Best, who plays Rhaenys Targaryen, has compared her role in ‘House of the Dragon’ to Hillary Clinton.
- Rhaenys is known in the fantasy realm of Westeros as “The Queen Who Never Was.”
- Actress Olivia Cooke also told EW that there is a parallel between Alicent Hightower and Trump voters.
HBO’s “House of the Dragon” tells the story of an infamous political rivalry in the fictional world of Westeros known as the Dance of the Dragons, and two of the show’s stars have compared their characters to two of the most prominent political rivals in the recent usa. story: President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Eve Best, who plays Rhaenys Targaryen on the HBO fantasy series, says her character has a lot in common with Clinton when it comes to defeating the former secretary of state in the 2016 election. In the fictional story, Rhaenys was a candidate for heir to the Iron Throne, but was ignored because she was a woman (despite being the only one in the direct line of King Jaehaerys’ firstborn son).
In the pilot episode of “House of the Dragon”, Rhaenys is sitting with the rest of the royal family at a tournament when she is asked for her “favor” and is referred to as “The Queen That Never Was”.
“What’s happening at the tournament is just a classic example of people constantly reminding her of the biggest hurt of her life,” Best said during a roundtable interview with Insider, Popsugar and Metacritic ahead of the season one premiere.
Best went on to say that she had spoken to the creative teams behind the scenes about Clinton.
“There was a lot of resonance with this whole situation that she was in — she was clearly the best candidate for the job,” Best said. “And then what do you do after that rejection? How do you handle it? Because the instinct to escape and retreat and withdraw or bury your head in the sand and have nothing to do with politics and just go on vacation for the rest of your life… it’s very possible, but it really can’t.”
“Hillary, my god, I had so much respect for that woman that she had to pick up the pieces of your self-respect and take it on the chin and exist as a public figure with grace and positivity and good humor,” Best continued. . “To deal with the constant knocks and the constant reminders and continue to have a calm and even-keeled approach.”
Best wasn’t the only one to have discussions about real-world politicians and how they might resonate with the characters in “House of the Dragon.”
Olivia Cooke, who plays the grown-up Alicent Hightower starting in Sunday’s sixth episode, told Entertainment Weekly that showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik gave the following direction for her character: “She’s like a woman for Trump.”
“I just didn’t want to give them any more intellectual property than they already had,” Cook said, referring to the entire Trump family. “So I tried to find a different path in her, but I could see what they were saying with this complete indoctrination and denial of her own autonomy and rights. I just couldn’t be asked to go down that path.”
Alicent’s character began the story very closely related to Princess Rhaenyra, who was named heir to the Iron Throne by her father, King Viserys (the man who was named ruler instead of Rhaenys at the Great Council). But by episode six, we can see how Alicent and Rhaenyra’s relationship has become completely adversarial. Alicent no longer supports Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne, preferring her own son to inherit the crown instead.
As we described in this deep dive, “House of the Dragon” shows how systems of patriarchal rule make it incredibly difficult for either Rhaenyra or Alicent to achieve any sense of power.
When Cooke refers to “indoctrination,” she appears to be drawing comparisons between her fictional character and real women in the U.S. who vote for candidates such as former President Donald Trump, a candidate who had sexual assault allegations against him before the 2016 election, and whose political approach removed women’s bodily autonomy.
In November 2020, The Cut interviewed a political science professor about the “large number of white women who helped cement Donald Trump’s victory.”
“These women have agreed to accept second-class status with their gender as long as the Republican Party puts them first in race and keeps them safe,” said Professor Jane June.
In many ways, Alicent’s story in “House of the Dragon” mirrors that path thus far. She complies with the duties demanded of her by men—such as her father, Otto, and her king and eventual husband, Viserys—even at the expense of her own well-being.
The first season of “House of the Dragon” currently airs Sundays on HBO. For more analysis of the series, read our breakdown here for the best details you may have missed in the latest episode.