House of the Dragon Episode 10: Alicent’s letter to Rhaenyra explained

Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon Episode 10HBO

In House of the Dragon Episode 10, Rhaenyra is handed a letter from Alicent – what did it say, and what does it mean? Let’s break it down.

At the beginning of House of the Dragon Season 1, Rhaenyra and Alicent were the best of friends. The show began in a time of relative peace, with the exception of Daemon butchering the people of King’s Landing and Viserys losing his wife in his mission for an heir.

Their friendship was fractured by Otto pressuring Alicent to swoop in amid Viserys’ grief, and it’s never fully recovered, despite glimpses of their old affection.

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In Episode 10, the Season 1 finale, it’s clear their rift will never be repaired – but Alicent sends Rhaenyra an important letter before the war kicks off, so what does it say, and why did she send it?

House of the Dragon Episode 10: What does Alicent’s letter to Rhaenyra say?

In Episode 10, Otto visits Dragonstone to set out King Aegon II’s terms for Rhaenyra and Daemon. As expected, they respond angrily, so Otto hands Rhaenyra a letter from Alicent.

More accurately, it’s a ripped page from a book: Ten Thousand Ships. The piece of paper reads:

Lashed together with ropes and cables, Nymeria’s fleet dispersed at the coming of the first storms, sweeping them across the sea, east, west, and south into corsair infested pockets of the Basilisk Isles.”

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House of the Dragon Episode 10: Alicent’s letter to Rhaenyra, explained

The passage dates back to the first episode of House of the Dragon, when Septa Marlow assigns Ten Thousand Ships to Alicent and Rhaenyra to study.

The pair read it beside the Keep’s godswood tree and discuss it, before Rhaenyra rips out a page and gives it to Alicent. This is the page we see in Episode 10.

Ten Thousand Ships is a book chronicling the story of Princess Nymeria of the Rhoynar, whose people were defeated in a war with the Valyrian dragonlords – who are ancestors of House Targaryen – and were forced to flee Essos in search of a new home.

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While the connotations are clear – Alicent doesn’t want to go to war with dragonlords – there’s another tease: Ten Thousand Ships is in development at HBO for its own Game of Thrones prequel series.

In March this year, George R.R. Martin wrote on his website: “The other one is TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, the Nymeria series. Amanda Segel, our showrunner, has delivered a couple drafts of that one, and we are forging ahead.”

House of the Dragon Season 1 is available to stream now. For more on Season 2, click here.