House Of The Dragon’s “Greens” & “Blacks” Targaryen Split Explained

Warning! This article contains major spoilers for House of the Dragon season 1.House of the Dragon’s realm has been quickly separated between the “green” and “black” factions of Targaryen allegiance, which will play an important role in the series even before the civil war. Rather than depicting a larger war fought among several kings like in Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon’s conflict is primarily driven by the feuds within House Targaryen’s family tree that had been simmering for some time before King Viserys’s death. Since Westerosi lords will have to pledge their swords to one of two Targaryens’ claims to the throne, the entire kingdom will be split between those who support the greens and those who support the blacks.

The most important event in House of the Dragon is the Dance of the Dragons, which will see Rhaenyra Targaryen and Aegon II Targaryen fight for the Iron Throne after their father’s death. As King Viserys I’s oldest child, Rhaenyra was considered his heir to the throne, even though her uncle Daemon felt himself to be the rightful heir. However, once Viserys remarried and finally had a son, the succession of the throne became more complicated. While Viserys maintained that Rhaenyra would be his heir, Aegon II’s mother, Alicent Hightower, grandfather Otto, and other lords conspired to give him the throne, thus beginning House of the Dragon’s momentous Targaryen civil war. The war, which lasted approximately three years, threw Westeros into one of its most devastating conflicts in history, especially considering it was one of the few instances in which both warring sides had access to dragons.

Unlike Game of Thrones’ War of the Five Kings, House of the Dragon’s civil war will be much easier to follow in terms of the loyalties of the major houses like the Starks, Tullys, Lannisters, and Baratheons. With only two sides to choose from, pledging swords to the blacks or the greens often involved more personal deals, arrangements, or allegiances. Since each family was already meant to be loyal to House Targaryen, it was simply a matter of which Targaryen had the best claim or offered them the best prospects. While the Dance of the Dragons will mark exactly when the realm was officially split in half, Westerosi loyalties to the greens and blacks had been growing for many years beforehand.

Why The Targaryen Civil War Is Split Between Greens & Blacks

The Targaryen civil war’s greens and blacks refer to the house colors of Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen. Once Alicent married Rhaenyra’s father Viserys, a feud between the two developed, primarily once Rhaenyra sired bastard children with Ser Harwin Strong. At Rhaenyra’s wedding feast, Alicent notably wore the green color of House Hightower, which is used when they’re called to war. Thereafter, those who aligned with the queen were considered the “greens” while those who supported the princess were dubbed the “blacks.” House of the Dragon’s greens and blacks originally referred to the queen’s party and the princess’s party, but grew to be associated with the claim of Alicent’s son Aegon II Targaryen against the claim of Rhaenyra. As such, the Targaryen civil war between Aegon II and Rhaenyra was separated by the green party and the black party, even though it primarily referred to Rhaenyra and Alicent’s feud at court.

Rhaenyra Targaryen & Alicent Hightower’s Long Feud Explained

While Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke) quickly become foes in House of the Dragon season 1, the two began their association on friendly terms. Alicent’s father Otto Hightower was the Hand of the King to both Jaehaerys I and his successor Viserys I, which meant young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and young Alicent (Emily Carey) spent much time together at court, as they are both the same age. However, while the two still had a relatively amicable relationship upon Alicent’s marriage to House of the Dragon’s Viserys, the sons she bore to him continued to lessen the strength of Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne. Since Viserys I had decreed Rhaenyra as his rightful heir to the Iron Throne, she was adamant about maintaining this claim, but Alicent and her father, Otto, felt that her son Aegon II deserved it, since Rhaenyra sired bastards.

The feud between Rhaenyra and Alicent had thus long been underlined by the notion that only one of them would be considered the highest lady at court, with Rhaenyra as the heir to the throne or Alicent as the king’s wife. The House of the Dragon figures’ conflicts grew even worse when Rhaenyra married her uncle Daemon Targaryen, as Matt Smith’s character had been notable for his contempt for Alicent and her children.

Nearly 10 years before the Dance of the Dragons, Alicent’s son Aemond and Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys engaged in a fight that ended with Lucerys taking out Aemond’s eye. Alicent then demanded that the same be done to Lucerys, with this incident inciting King Viserys to separate the families by keeping Alicent and her children at court while Rhaenyra and her children decided to go to Dragonstone. It seems the last straw for Alicent came when Rhaenyra’s first son by Daemon was named Aegon, which she took as a slight against her own firstborn son of the same name. So, when King Viserys I died in 129 AC, Alicent and House of the Dragon’s Criston Cole called a small council where they planned to crown Aegon II over Rhaenyra. Thus, when word reached Rhaenyra that Aegon II was officially crowned in a ceremony, she quickly arranged a crowning of her own, launching the Targaryen civil war.

Rhaenyra Vs. Aegon II: Which HOTD Targaryen Has The Better Claim

Under the typical laws of succession established over the past century through House Targaryen’s reign in Westeros, Aegon II would have been crowned king over Rhaenyra. However, never had one of the previous Targaryen kings maintained their eldest daughter would be the heir over a son until their death. While Rhaenys Targaryen, Viserys I’s cousin, was considered by some to be the rightful successor to King Jaehaerys I due to her status as the eldest living heir of Jaehaerys’ eldest child, the Great Council at Harrenhal chose Viserys to ascend the Iron Throne instead. However, Jaehaerys hadn’t ordered Rhaenys as his heir, though if he had, perhaps the Old King’s influence would have better supported her claim. House of the Dragon’s Rhaenyra, on the other hand, was officially named Viserys I’s heir to the Iron Throne, with the king refusing to remove his decree even when Alicent bore him sons.

Viserys even called many noble lords to court to pledge their support to Rhaenyra as his successor, proving that House of the Dragon’s king had done as much as possible to secure her place on the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra had also been trained and raised in anticipation of her ascension to the Iron Throne ever since she was a child, with the realm having long prepared for her to take the crown as Queen Rhaenyra I. Without even calling a Great Council to decide among the most significant lords and ladies of Westeros, House of the Dragon characters Alicent and Otto conspired to put Aegon II on the Iron Throne, going directly against the decree of the king and man that Aegon justifies his claim by in the first place. While Aegon II may have had a strong claim in terms of being the eldest male child, Rhaenyra Targaryen was robbed of the throne that had been securely established as hers to take. Rhaenyra Targaryen had a better claim to the throne than Aegon II in House of the Dragon, but, as Game of Thrones demonstrated, such a claim only matters so far as another with more power doesn’t try to take it away.

The Show Heralded The Greens Beautifully

In House of the Dragon, Alicent Hightower first appears in green at Rhaenyra’s wedding to Ser Laenor Velaryon. The queen enters the wedding feast noticeably late, in order to make a statement and a big entrance. Her choice of dress color is even commented on by an onlooker, who says, « The beacon on the Hightower, do you know what color it glows when Oldtown calls its banner to war? » The answer is: green. This is Alicent’s own declaration of war against Rhaenyra, making it clear that a biblical-level feud is about to go down. The reasoning behind the beginning of the feud between Rhaenyra and Alicent goes down a little differently than it does in the books. Prior to her wedding to Ser Laenor, Rhaenyra finds herself following her uncle Daemon to a brothel, where he almost takes her virginity. She then goes back to the castle where she propositions Ser Criston Cole to have sex with her. He obliges, but then accusations start to fly about Rhaenyra and her uncle as she was spotted by onlookers. Both Rhaenyra and Viserys vehemently deny these claims, and at first, Alicent takes her side as well — until she speaks to Criston Cole.

Since Rhaenyra lied and Alicent knows about it, she wears green to Rhaenyra’s wedding as a clear declaration of war against her former friend. Tensions only continue to grow between the two when Rhaenyra sires two bastard children with Harwin Strong, since she and Laenor developed a pact to remain married but follow their own desires. Since Rhaenyra’s bastard children have their own claim to the throne, Alicent begins to plot with her father to get her son Aegon II on the Iron Throne. The moment that Alicent appears in green in House of the Dragon is one that is heavy with symbolism. It marks the first declaration of war between the two women and foreshadows what’s to come. All in all, it will be an epic Game of Thrones-style fight that is sure to have an extra wow factor since there will be an army of dragons involved.

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