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What Does "Pliancy" Mean in "House of the Dragon"?

What Does “Pliancy” Mean in “House of the Dragon”?

On the newest episode of House of the Dragon, titled “The Burning Mill,” the character Mysaria (played by Sonoya Mizuno) negotiates her way into an advisory role under Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy). Currently embroiled in a war with her half-brother Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) over the Iron Throne, Rhaenyra had previously viewed Mysaria with considerable distrust.

Mysaria’s past involvement with Rhaenyra’s husband, Daemon, on a plot that led to the death of Aegon’s young son Jaehaerys had left Rhaenyra horrified. Nonetheless, Rhaenyra upheld Daemon’s promise to grant Mysaria her freedom. In return, Mysaria repaid this act of mercy by alerting Rhaenyra to an assassination attempt just in time.

In the latest episode, Mysaria expresses admiration for the queen’s mercy. Rhaenyra, however, issues a cautionary note: “I hope you do not confuse mercy with pliancy.” The term “pliancy,” as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, means the “willingness to change because of what other people want, or to do what other people want.”

Essentially, a pliant person is someone who easily bends to the will of others, lacking steadfastness in their convictions. Rhaenyra, a queen at war, cannot afford to be seen as pliant. Any sign of being overly accommodating could encourage others to walk over her with endless demands.

Despite her firmness, Rhaenyra strives to be fair and treats people with decency. In her warning to Mysaria, she essentially says, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” Their professional relationship has already made significant headway, demonstrated by Mysaria helping Rhaenyra clandestinely enter King’s Landing to meet Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke).

As the narrative unfolds, the dynamics between Rhaenyra and Mysaria are set to evolve further. Viewers will have to tune in when House of the Dragon returns on HBO and Max next Sunday, July 7, to see what transpires.