House of the Dragon Post-Mortem of “We Light the Way”

1x05 King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room Wedding Viserys (Paddy Considine), Young Alicent (Milly Alcock) (1)
Weddings in Westeros are never dull affairs (even if they don’t always live up to Dothraki standards), and the marriage of Rhaenyra to Laenor in last night’s episode of House of the Dragon did not disappoint. In “We Light the Way” there were several broken hearts – and a couple of broken skulls – as well as plenty of intrigue and backstabbing, setting up the conflict to come. While we wait to see what excitement next Sunday will bring, let’s make like Criston Cole on Joffrey Lonmouth and tackle today’s interviews and videos!

House of the Dragon Young Rhaenyra Milly Alcock Young Laenor Velaryon Theo Nate HOTD 105 1x05

Complex talks with Milly Alcock, who will be replaced by Emma D’Arcy moving forward. She shares her perspective on her character’s arc in the first half of the season, saying, “I think she has the strength within her that I recognized within myself. So centering Rhaenyra’s beliefs became something I held onto and tried to project in every scene.”

That strength was key for both actor and character, as she and fellow actor Emily Carey were both relatively new to the industry coming into the show. Alcock explains, “It’s interesting because both of our experiences within the show were reflected within our personal lives. We were both under-experienced young women in this world of men, and so much is at stake.” She adds,” We bonded over that because it’s such a unique and niche experience, and there’s no one who can really relate to what me and Em are going through right now and in the process of filming. That’s very similar to Rhaenyra and Alicent; there’s a parallel there that I think translates on screen.”

On discovering she would be filming a wedding scene (a potentially scary prospect in the world of Westeros), Alcock reflects that “it was incredibly exciting. When you’re given anything that’s a bit of a challenge, you have to get excited about it, otherwise, the fear overtakes you, and you realize you spoiled something that actually wasn’t that scary to begin with. We worked with Clare Kilner, who is a phenomenal director, and she brought so much duty and joy to the episodes that she directs. As actors, she was so willing to listen and to play. It was just a lot of fun.”

Read more about Alcock’s experiences working on the show here.

1x05 King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room Wedding Young Alicent (Emily Carey) (1)

It’s also the end of the line for Emily Carey, who will be replaced by Olivia Cooke in future episodes. She tells Variety that she knows where her character is headed, but that she took care to show a different side to her. “I read the books. In the future, she does make some questionable choices — let’s put it that way. But that’s not the adolescent that I play. I’m playing her in the beginning of her life. The ‘villain origin story,’ in quotation marks, because I personally don’t believe the Alicent that I play is a villain.”

script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">

Carey goes on to express her thoughts on the shared experiences of both Alicent and Rhaenyra. “What’s so heartbreaking about this whole situation is these two young women, neither of them are in control at any time. Their lives are basically being dictated by their fathers.” As for the relationship between the two young women, she says, “We weren’t ‘making them gay’ or ‘queerbaiting,’ or anything like that. It’s just, if you want to read into it and see it like that, do it. If you want to see them as more than friends, do it. If you don’t, then don’t…Being a queer woman myself, it was something that I was conscious of. But I wasn’t consciously putting it out there.”

As for how Alicent feels about Rhaenyra after Criston Cole’s shocking confession, Carey explains, “First of all, there’s the betrayal of, ‘You lied to me.’ Then the betrayal of, ‘I swear this upon the memory of my mother,’ which is what you see in Episode 2 with their shared trauma. It’s something that they bond over.” She adds an interesting third point, “And then it’s the betrayal of, ‘Hold on. You slept with him, and I’m in love with him [emphasis mine], and you know this. That’s not fair.’ Alicent is all about duty, through and through. It’s always duty versus heart with her… I’m glad that I got to show how she became this angry woman. And I think that scene is such a turning point.” I’m not sure Alicent’s feelings about Criston were made clear to viewers, but this certainly adds more emotional weight to Alicent’s turn if true!

Read the rest at Variety.

1X05KL~1

For both Alcock and Carey it’s difficult to leave their characters behind, and in an interview with Newsweek they express interest in reprising their roles should there be a future need. Says Alcock, “I adore Rhaenyra and I adore the cast and I adore the way that they’ve told this story, so, you know, if they would have me I’d love to come back. But I know that Emma’s going to continue Rhaenyra’s journey for the next season or whatever. So I don’t really want to take away from that performance or anything, you know what I mean? I have to give her up in a way.”

Carey echoes that sentiment, saying that she has “such a strong connection to this character and it feels strange to leave her story halfway and just let someone else take over. As much as I adore Olivia – I cannot wait to see what she does with it – it felt strange, you know…So if I ever had the opportunity to be able to revisit Alicent, I guess depending on where I am and what I’m doing, I’d love to, but who knows what’s going to come in Season 2.” She adds, “I’m just excited to sit back…and actually appreciate the show from the audience’s perspective and take it all in, and not be cringing at myself.” No need for cringing – the performances by both actors were outstanding, and we’ll all be sad to see them go!

Head here for more.

1x05 Driftmark High Tide Viserys (Paddy Considine), Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), Rhaenys Velaryon Targaryen (Eve Best) (1)

In a show full of unhealthy and dysfunctional pairings, Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Rhaenys (Eve Best) are couple goals by comparison. They tell Polygon – in unison – that “all of the other relationships are damaged!” Toussaint adds, “Trash! Obscene!” as Best chimes in, “Incestuous! Weird!” Okay guys, tell us how you really feel!

Best goes on to compare the marriage to the other example of a loving couple (which we only get a brief look at in episode one), saying, “You get the feeling with [Viserys and Aemma] they’re not necessarily peers. I mean you hardly see their relationship, but I think she’s quite a bit younger, isn’t she?” In contrast, Corlys and Rhaenys “really feels like a partnership. And it’s very modern in that respect. And it’s very, very equal, and very based on mutual respect, in terms of power. It’s absolutely 100% an alliance.” That’s a rare quality when you’re playing the game of thrones.

Check out Polygon for more insight into the Westerosi power couple.

1x05 King's Landing Red Keep Throne Room Wedding Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) (1)

Speaking of dysfunctional relationships, the budding romance between Rhaenyra and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) fell apart in dramatic fashion this episode. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Frankel explains his character’s progression. “I don’t think there’s anything premeditated about him, at least in the beginning of the show. He’s very much set up as one thing, and as the show goes on, changes a great deal…He’s very much set up as a noble, well-meaning knight there to protect Rhaenyra. And for those who’ve read the book, he isn’t that by any means.”

As for Criston’s killing of Joffrey, Frankel says, “I don’t think he’s searching for any form of conflict at this wedding at all. If anything, he wants to be as far away as humanly possible.” He continues, “I don’t think it’s because [Rhaenyra] says she won’t go away with him. I think it’s the way in which she says she won’t go away with him. That scene could so easily have been written [as] he asks her to run away with him, she understands why he feels this way, she can’t give up her role as queen, but what she will offer him is an out if he would like to leave the Kingsguard. That very much could be the scenario that happens. It isn’t. That to me is very interesting. She chose to keep him there. She made him stand through that wedding. That’s where the animosity builds.”

What should we expect to see Criston do moving forward? Frankel won’t give much away but remarks, “I f—ing love that, in a week’s time, the audience is gonna very much change their opinion of him. I think that Criston is, in a lot of ways, a fly on the wall, but without the Machiavellian nature of a character like Otto. Otto is constantly planning and plotting and ears-to-the-ground. Criston Cole is ears-to-the-ground, but there’s no planning and plotting going on. You have a very interesting dynamic of someone who is overhearing every conversation that is happening, be it when he’s on the side of Rhaenyra or on the side of any of the other characters. And slowly as the show goes on…Criston Cole I believe, will become a very integral part of the Dance of the Dragons.” Prepare yourselves, Criston fans.

Be sure to read the full interview at EW.


In this week’s “Inside the Episode,” showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnikdirector Clare Kilner, and cast members Milly Alcock, Rhys Ifans, Theo Nate, and Emily Carey discuss the complicated relationships and machinations going on behind the scenes as the royal family prepares for Rhaenyra’s wedding.

In case you missed it, here is the preview for episode six:

20 Comments

  1. I’m really enjoying this show, however the “Criston loves Rhaenyra” and “Alicent loves Criston” are not sold on me in the least. I realize this isn’t a romance novel (thank god), but I get very little in the love vibe department in either case. Huh.

    As echoed by a million others, definitely going to miss Milly and Emily, they are going to be able to pick their roles eith no problem from now on, I think.

      Quote  Reply

  2. Milly and Emily were fantastic and I will really miss them.

    That episode 6 previous though 👁👄👁. Bring on the messiness!

      Quote  Reply

  3. Pigeon,

    Yeah, I disagree with Emily on the whole “Alicent loves Criston” thing. I see it more as Alicent being bitter that she’s always done her duty and followed the rules, and yet is stuck in a dull, passionless love life, whereas Rahenyra flaunts all the rules, and gets to have sex with whoever she wants without facing any real consequences.

      Quote  Reply

  4. Malcolm Ferguson:
    Pigeon,

    Yeah, I disagree with Emily on the whole “Alicent loves Criston” thing. I see it more as Alicent being bitter that she’s always done her duty and followed the rules, and yet is stuck in a dull, passionless love life, whereas Rahenyra flaunts all the rules, and gets to have sex with whoever she wants without facing any real consequences.

    And honestly, I can understand that, she never really had an option. I just don’t see how there’s been any indication that Rhaenyra would have a single clue that Alicent had a thing for Criston. I’m not the world’s most observant person, but I feel like I would have noticed that.

      Quote  Reply

  5. I wonder if Alicent being in love with Criston is something a director directed her to play, or just something she made up in her own head. It never crossed my mind as a possibility until I read this interview right here.

      Quote  Reply

  6. Pigeon,

    ”As echoed by a million others, definitely going to miss Milly and Emily, they are going to be able to pick their roles eith no problem from now on, I think.”

    Even though their characters haven’t died, it’d be nice if Milly Alcock and Emily Carey each have a Watchersonthewall Curtain Call.

    It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those actor tributes, and as you suggested, these two young actors made quite an impression. during their tenure on the show.

      Quote  Reply

  7. mau:
    Pigeon,

    Emily reminds me of Sophie Turner. Nice and talented girl but her interviews are mostly strange and make no sense.

    Haha! Interesting comparison. I never could get too enthusiastic about ST, unfortunately.

      Quote  Reply

  8. Ten Bears:
    Pigeon,

    ”As echoed by a million others, definitely going to miss Milly and Emily, they are going to be able to pick their roles eith no problem from now on, I think.”

    Even though their characters haven’t died, it’d be nice if Milly Alcock and Emily Carey each have a Watchersonthewall Curtain Call.

    It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those actor tributes, and as you suggested, these two young actors made quite an impression. during their tenure on the show.

    Those Curtain Calls were great. I remember how I liked reading them, a tribute to both the character and the person portraying them. I also remember hoping beyond hope every week that I wouldn’t see the name of one of my favourites in the title. 😆

      Quote  Reply

  9. I agree that I will miss them both. I would say Olivia has more of a direct resemblence to Emily. I think their transition will be pretty seamless. I’m not so sure about Milly and Emma. Emma (even just from the preview) seems like a different person. I will see how it goes in episode 6. I’m excited to see the adult actors, but sad to see Milly and Emily go.

    On a side note,

    I would like a post mortem for Lady Rhea Royce played by Rachel Redford.
    I am disappointed we couldn’t see her character more. She had a resemblence to Arya up on her horse. She had awesome armor too. I didn’t quite get how an experienced rider and hunter would allow her horse to be spooked. It was almost like Daemon had magical power over the animal, like the horse was a dragon. I found that part interesting, but I was surprised she just got crushed the way she did after seeing that her character was an accomplished rider and hunter. I have to say, I hope she has a twin who wants to get revenge or that she comes back as Lady RoyceHeart.

      Quote  Reply

  10. Malcolm Ferguson,

    I never detected any indication that Allicent had any romantic feelings for Ser Criston; there were never any secret longing looks from her in his direction or any sort of flirtation that I noticed. But I do believe a large part of Allicent’s taking Ser Criston into her “camp” is revenge. Rhaenyra was responsible for getting Allicent’s father canned. Allicent had never been without her father in the castle, hovering near, watching over her. She took his presence for granted. Now she is without him, and it was Rhaenyra’s big mouth that caused it. Rhaenyra took a man from her, she’s taking a man from Rhaenyra.

    As for people saying it was wrong that Ser Criston got away with murder, it would be easy enough for him to talk his way out of any charges by saying that Joffrey made threatening remarks about Rhaenyra, and Criston considered him a huge threat to her safety. Since the whole royal court seemed to know of the arrangement between Joffrey and Laenor, few would doubt that some wildly unseemly remark had been made. I didn’t read the book, I have no way of knowing Criston’s future, but it was hinted that he becomes far less concerned with honor as he grows older. Whatever, I’m glad he was saved from suicide, even it was by Allicent. So far I like the character and the actor and I hated thinking for a moment that his story was already over.

    Watching King Viserys make his sad, slow, disorganized way up to the Velaryon castle with not one Velaryon on hand outside to greet him, then to be treated to a tepid “Oh, it’s you,” attitude when he finally got inside, made me sad. He was too sick and tired to complain. It made me think of King Robert’s visit to Winterfell in the first episodes of GoT. The whole Stark household turned out to welcome the Baratheons. There were no tepid greetings that day. If there had been, Robert would have roared his displeasure.

    Visery’s weakness is more visible at every turn, shown especially at the wedding. I thought Daemon was banned by Viserys forever. Apparently, the guards totally ignored those orders. How was Daemon even allowed inside the gates, much less able to saunter into the feast? How was Allicent allowed to not only come late, but interrupt Viserys’ speech? (great entrance, though, she looked gorgeous and regal) It seems that all respect for him is gone. I thought he had a stroke watching Daemon dance with Rhaenyra and almost kiss her. It will be interesting to see how much longer he lasts.

    If these notes are a bit haphazard, I’ll work to make them better. I have to get back into the practice of writing these things; I stayed away a long time. Glad to be back and see familiar names.

      Quote  Reply

  11. Thronetender: thought Daemon was banned by Viserys forever. Apparently, the guards totally ignored those orders. How was Daemon even allowed inside the gates, much less able to saunter into the feast?

    I wondered that as well. I thought he was persona non grata in the Red Keep. Although I would choose the verb “swagger” over “saunter.” I wonder if that weird bowlegged walk is Matt Smith’s natural gait or something he made up for the character. I find it decidedly unsexy – makes me think of Popeye the Sailorman.

      Quote  Reply

  12. Jenny:
    mau,

    Fabien also said that Criston loves Rhaenyra, it must be something that they discussed on set but I have seen no evidence of it on screen

    Feel exactly the same. They went from one awkward sex scene to…I need you to run away with me because I love you and stuff. Like, ok? That went from A to Z pretty fast!

    It feels like they’re rushing to the Dance, but this is supposed to be a multi-season show, so I wonder if they’re rushing to get to the Dance and then will milk the shit out of it once they get there.

      Quote  Reply

  13. I do wonder how they’re going to explain away the lack of blonde hair from two blonde parents. LOL

    And add me as another who got no hint of Alicent loving Cole outside of the first time we met him at the tourney.

      Quote  Reply

  14. Mr Derp: Feel exactly the same.They went from one awkward sex scene to…I need you to run away with me because I love you and stuff.Like, ok?That went from A to Z pretty fast!

    It feels like they’re rushing to the Dance, but this is supposed to be a multi-season show, so I wonder if they’re rushing to get to the Dance and then will milk the shit out of it once they get there.

    I mean, so did Gendry and Arya on GoT. He caught feelings just like Criston did.

      Quote  Reply

  15. Flayed Potatoes: I mean, so did Gendry and Arya on GoT. He caught feelings just like Criston did.

    No. Arya and Gendry knew each other since season 2. They didn’t have sex until season 8, and even then, Gendry never got obsessed with her the way Criston did with Rhaenyra.

      Quote  Reply

  16. Mr Derp,

    Gendry and Arya spent time together in seasons 2 and 3 and then got separated before reuniting in season 8. That’s about a year or two spent together.

    Criston and Rhaenyra spent around 4 years together as shown by the time jump and haven’t been separated.

    If Gendry can catch feelings, then so can Criston. It’s not hard to believe.

    And, yes, Gendry got obsessed. He asked Arya to marry him in season 8 and be lady of Storm’s End, and she rejected him because it wasn’t the life she wanted. Just like Rhaenyra rejected Criston when he asked her to marry him and run away, because it’s not the life she wants.

      Quote  Reply

  17. Flayed Potatoes,

    The difference being we actually saw Arya and Gendry spend time ON SCREEN getting to know each other. That’s critical to me. We saw a relationship develop before our eyes. A relationship between them felt natural to me.

    Conversely, we barely had any screen time with Criston and Rhaenyra together at all. You can say they spent 100 years together off screen and it wouldn’t make it any more believable to me. Tell me all you want. Showing me is more valuable. Two seasons worth of screen time together is way more valuable than a million years off screen to me.

    Asking someone to marry you doesn’t necessarily mean you’re obsessed, so this is a poor comparison. Gendry took his rejection like a man. He accepted it. He quite possibly loved Arya, but was NOT obsessed.

    At the end of the day, it’s all subjective, so I don’t plan on spending any more time debating this. I feel how I feel, as do you.

      Quote  Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

House of the Dragon 3 Days 10 Hours 0 Minutes 11 Seconds