House of the Dragon star Emily Carey addresses ‘queerbaiting’ surrounding Queen Alicent and Rhaenyra Targaryen

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Milly Alcock and Emily Carey in ‘House of the Dragon’ (HBO)
Milly Alcock and Emily Carey in ‘House of the Dragon’ (HBO)

House of the Dragon actor Emily Carey has addressed the complicated relationship between her character, Queen Alicent, and that of Rhaenyra Targaryen, played by Milly Alcock.

On the hit Game of Thrones spin-off, the two girls are close friends whose relationship is fractured when Alicent marries Rhaenyra’s widowed father, King Viserys, while still a teen.

In an interview with Variety, Carey, 19, discussed her portrayal of Alicent, and the possibility that Alicent’s attachment to Rhaenyra has a romantic charge. She has previously said the two are “a little bit in love”.

In the newly released interview, Carey said that possibility first came up when she and Alcock, 22, were still in rehearsals. “I was sat on the bench. It’s not necessarily something we had talked about yet. We were doing that scene, and Milly and I looked at each other like, ‘It kind of felt like we were about to kiss? That was really weird!’ And so we talked about it.”

Despite “talking” about it, Carey insists there was no attempt to definitively “play” the relationship to any specific conclusion for viewers. “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.”

She went on to explain how her own experience factored into the decicision to keep the portrayal open-ended. “Being a queer woman myself, it was something that I was conscious of. But I wasn’t consciously putting it out there,” Carey told Variety. “They’re 14-year-old girls, they don’t know the difference between platonic and romantic. They don’t even know what the words mean, let alone what the feelings mean.”

To accommodate a ten-year time-jump in the series, Alcock and Carey will both be replaced by older actors – Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively – when the series airs next week.