House of the Dragon's Sex Scenes Aren't Just About Sex


Alicent also has an ongoing relationship with Criston Cole, the Rhaenyra-appointed Commander of the Kingsguard, her son Aegon’s sworn swords. Kingsguard swear an oath of chastity when donning their white cloaks—an oath Cole broke when he fell in love with (and was later dumped by) Rhaenyra in the previous season. Hoping to take revenge on the woman that rejected him, he swears fealty to Alicent, demonstrating his allegiance by performing cunnilingus in the season 2 premiere.

If Cole feels guilt over breaking his vows, so does Alicent. A devout follower of the Faith of the Seven, she struggles reconciling her religious beliefs with the demands of her position as Queen Regent; her relationship with Cole is sinful, but also necessary for ensuring his continued loyalty to the Crown. After intercourse, she often sinks into her bathtub. But no matter how hard she scrubs, she can’t get clean again.

Where Alicent is ashamed of her social transgressions, Rhaenyra relishes in them. A confident, headstrong girl with little regard for convention and custom, she turns Westerosi society on its head when her father Viserys declares her heir to the Iron Throne—a throne which, previous successions established, could only be passed down through the male line. Eager to rebel against the system, Rhaenyra starts an affair with her uncle Daemon that, if uncovered, could cause scandal. (While the Targaryens frequently marry brothers and sisters in the Valeryan tradition, the practice—clashing with Westerosi ethics—has not yet become as normalized as it is during the time of Game of Thrones). In addition to encouraging Cole to break his vow of chastity, Rhaenyra starts a relationship with Harwin Breakbones while her legitimate and secretly homosexual husband Laenor continues seeing his own, male lover.

Aemond’s sexuality is perhaps the most complex of all. Like to the Clubfoot, his apparent impotence seems to stem from a deeply-rooted sense of inadequacy and guilt. “They used to tease me, you know,” he tells Sylvi as she cradles him. “Because I was different.”

In the third episode of the second season, a heavily intoxicated King Aegon visits the brothel with the goal of helping his squire lose his virginity. Opening curtain after curtain in search of a worker not yet occupied, he eventually—and suddenly—intrudes on his brother. Aemond jumps up, cradling his knees, the king’s laughter no doubt reminding him of the time he and Rhaenyra’s sons gave the then-dragonless prince a pig to mount instead. In a world where dragons double as metaphors for penises and power (just look at the people-on-dragon orgy murals lining the interior of the Red Keep), young Aemond has never felt like a true man, much less a knight, and even now that he commands Vhagar, his fear of emasculation lingers.

“Did you fuck her like a hound?” Aemond laughs, barking. “You see,” he says to his squire, “such is the madam’s prowess that even now he will not sample another.”

As soon as Aemond realizes the king is too drunk to understand what’s really going on between him and Sylvi, he regains his usual confidence and rises, displaying his manhood for all to see. “Your squire is welcome to her,” he lies, hiding his pain at hurting Sylvi’s feelings. “One whore is as good as good as another.”



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