Over the course of House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra and Alicent have had many opportunities to move past the differences, make amends and return to their former friendship to bring back unity to House Targaryen, but both have been too stubborn to accept any offerings of peace. Alicent has been a major offender of this, with her determined to keep herself separated from Rhaenyra and keep to what she believes is her moral high ground. It’s sad to see what could have been an incredibly strong and powerful alliance between Rhaenyra and Alicent destroyed over jealousy, greed, and a belief that one is better than the other because of their difference in choice and upbringing.
In the latest episode, the build-up to war has grown at an exponential rate. King Viserys has died and Queen Alicent and Otto Hightower (her father and the Hand of the King) have gone behind her back to declare Aegon I as the King of Westeros. Rhaenyra has just barely been preventing war from breaking out, knowing that if it does the dragons will lay waste to the kingdom and she will have nothing left to rule over at the end of it.
During their discussions of war Rhaenyra and her clan are visited by Alicent’s father, Otto Hightower, who has come to negotiate what would happen to the former princess if she swore her allegiance to Aegon and declared him as king of the realm. Things are going quite poorly for the Hand of the King until he presents Rhaenyra with a page of a book that she had torn out for Alicent so many years ago.
When they were younger, before the drama of the Iron Throne began, Rhaenyra and Alicent were good friends, learning together and offering each other comfort over their worries and what would become of their futures. Rhaenyra had torn out the page and given it to Alicent to act as a reminder of their friendship, and what the then-princess really wanted:
“I want to fly you on dragonback, see the great wonders across the Narrow Sea, and eat only cake.”
Alicent sending it back to Rhaenyra is her final call for peace. A reminder of what the two girls had been before everything had started. It is the very thing that has Rhaenyra telling Otto Hightower that she would consider his offer.
Unfortunately, this chance at peace fell apart when Rhaenyra was informed that Lucerys, her son, had been killed by Aemond, her half-brother and Alicent’s second-born son. Any love she might have held for her former friend melts away and is replaced by pure unbridled rage. It is the lost shot of the finale and a scene that sets the fate of House Targaryen in stone in a bone-chilling way.