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Here's The Irony In Alicent's Gift To Rhaenyra On House Of The Dragon

Spoilers for the season finale of "House of the Dragon" ahead.

In "The Black Queen," the first season finale of HBO's massively successful "Game of Thrones" spin-off and prequel "House of the Dragon," the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons begins in earnest as the factions known as the Greens and Blacks really start to face off. In the Green corner, you've got Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), the widow of King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) and mother to Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney), the young king she just installed upon the Iron Throne despite Viserys' dying wishes. As for the Blacks, there's Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy), daughter to Viserys and his intended heir, who spent her whole life preparing to sit on the throne. Once childhood friends and confidantes, these two women have spent their adult years completely at odds, especially as their children have fought amongst each other — in one memorable incident, Rhaenyra's son Lucerys (Elliott Grihault) is the reason that Alicent's son Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) loses an eye.

During the events of "The Black Queen," Alicent's father and Hand of the King Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) tries to bargain with Rhaenyra on his daughter's behalf, and in doing so, he brings her a small token of the former friendship between the two women. Here's why the gift Alicent sends to Rhaenyra is actually kind of ironic.

Alicent sends a page from a book the two girls once shared

When Otto approaches Rhaenyra and her formidable husband Daemon (Matt Smith) on the bridge that leads to Dragonstone, he tries to make a bargain with them: if they bend the knee to Aegon and accept him as their king, he'll let Rhaenyra and her sons keep Dragonstone, and her sons will also serve as squires and cupbearers to Alicent's children. Daemon definitely doesn't mince words about his feelings on the matter, refusing point blank. Understandably, Rhaenyra feels the same way, going so far as to rip Otto's pin signifying his status as the Hand into the sea. This betrayal of Rhaenyra's father's wishes clearly infuriates both her and Daemon, but at the last minute, Otto produces a gift from Alicent meant from Rhaenyra that seems to soften her just a little.

What Otto gives Rhaenyra is an envelope containing a torn page from a book that she and Alicent read together when they were young (back when they were played by Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, in fact). That page focuses, as a young Rhaenyra once told Alicent, on Nymeria — yes, the same Nymeria that a young Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) once idolized and used as the namesake for her direwolf! — a fierce warrior who brought a fleet of 10,000 ships across the Narrow Sea when she faced attacks from enemies in Valyria and then married into the Dornish royal family. When the two girls read it, they're still close friends, and clearly, the page brings back some memories for Rhaenyra.

Maybe Alicent should have learned more about Nymeria

There's a problem, though: Alicent seems to be missing a huge part of Nymeria's story, in that Nymeria ended up taking over Dorne and ruling as queen. After her husband Mors Martell died in battle, Nymeria became a warrior in her own right, and vanquished enough detractors to fully rule Dorne and end the tradition of only males mattering in the line of succession. In fact, when Nymeria died, her daughter took up the mantle of Princess of Dorne.

As both Rhaenys (Eve Best) and Rhaenyra have directly told Alicent during "House of the Dragon," the widowed queen has proven herself to be perfectly happy to follow the lead of the men in her life time and time again, rarely striking out on her own terms. (In a memorable moment in the penultimate episode, Rhaenys tells the younger woman that she's simply making a "window" in her "prison.") Beyond that, Nymeria certainly would have harsh words for a woman who is actively supplanting another woman's legitimate claim to the throne by insisting that only a man can rule. Clearly, Rhaenyra internalized a lot more about Nymeria than Alicent did, but after the end of the episode — where Aemond kills Lucerys as the two battle on dragonback — there's definitely no way that Alicent's gesture will even matter going forward.