House of the Dragon rattled the hornet’s nest last week by hosting a wedding, and in true Westerosi tradition, it was a drama-fueled event worth of its prime-time spot. Now, in House of the Dragon Episode 6, “The Princess and the Queen” the show jumps forward 10 years with essentially a second pilot of sorts. New actors, new dragons, yet the same old unspoken tensions remain.
During Episode 5 the series began to explore the deeper narrative roots for a large part of the characters as their call to action was ignited. For Rhaenyra that resulted in recognizing her duty to the realm by forging an alliance through matrimony with Laenor Velaryon, while Daemon recognized a similar path. But Queen Alicient it was the realization of the precarious nature of her position to the throne with her children and her husband’s decision to name his firstborn daughter as heir to the realm that forces her to make some difficult decisions.
While the tangled web of speculation has run amok of why House of the Dragon has employed so many time jumps, with the biggest one finally revealed in this episode, it’s all too clear now that the end result was for the audience to feel the weight of scrutiny in each decision and the consequences that are born from it. As the show has progressed into stronger standing so too have our characters. No longer are we witnessing young teenagers on the precipice of control, now we are seeing the adults they’ve grown into. They are fully aware of the politics at play and the danger of the barbed words that flow from the mouths of power-hungry dignitaries like arrows on a battlefield.
This is felt immediately in the opening scenes of the episode during Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) birth of her third son. Now the show has already established a darker connection with childbirth with the princess’s own mother dying in childbirth, but here we see that literally moments after delivering a healthy child that she has been summoned by the Queen (Olivia Cooke) to present him. What the show does within the episode, and how D’arcy themself creates the tangible rage is through the micro facial reactions while Rhaenyra battles with the pain and anguish of afterbirth and continuing contractions the camera locks on to battle-hardened walk every damned step of the way.
Alicent has also grown into her role recreating some of the more malevolent traps that Cersi herself pulled during her time on Game of Thrones. The relationship between these two has only grown increasingly sour as each of their children now seems to possess that same distaste for their own cousins.
I loved what we had previously seen from Milly Alcock, and Emily Carey, but D’Arcy, and Cooke have undoubtedly upped the bar. If their performances are anything to go off during House of the Dragon Episode 6 then I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table for the remainder of the season.
The familial wedge grows ever deeper, and it only serves to complicate the relationships in a dramatic fashion as everyone conspires to sure their place amongst the elite. The high drama is brilliant. But I was slightly let down for a scene or two with the VFX on the dragon riders for Daemon (Matt Smith), and his new wife Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell). This really bothered me, because we got an introduction to not only a new dragon but the largest dragon we’ve seen in the franchise to date with a unique concept design as well. Thankfully the show does a better job on, but it was hard to look past the scene without it appearing poorly put together and cheap.
Daemon’s story feels considerably tempered down from where we last saw him and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being disappointed by this. Smith has excelled in carving out this devious, and maniacal role for himself as Daemon constantly stirring the pot for his own amusement. Yet, it was interesting to see some new villains emerge as the shape of a future Master of Whispers seems to be making their claim.
As House of the Dragon Episode 6 dives 10 years into the future, the series seeks to re-introduce us to the older versions of the characters they’ve spent 5 episodes establishing. This mid-season second pilot delights in revealing that the tangled web of family tensions has only gotten thicker, and passed its poison down to the next generation. With the show now fully taking form, it’s clear that we’re headed into some heavy action with only 4 episodes remaining and tempers seemingly flare. The pace did move a little slower in an effort to reset the audience with the new cast, but the dialogue was exceptionally pointed, and dangerous.
House of the Dragon Episode 6 is streaming now exclusively on HBO Max.
House of the Dragon Episode 6 - "The Princess and the Queen"
As House of the Dragon Episode 6 dives 10 years into the future, the series seeks to re-introduce us to the older versions of the characters they’ve spent 5 episodes establishing. This mid-season second pilot delights in revealing that the tangled web of family tensions has only gotten thicker, and passed its poison down to the next generation.