Sunday nights are for deciphering new clues and discussing new topics on House of the Dragon that will surely spark debate—and our utmost curiosity—about its Game of Thrones foreshadowing. Episode six jumped ten years beyond the events of episode five and we were introduced to several major players of the impending Dance of Dragons, including the children of Rhaenyra Targaryen, Daemon Targaryen, Laenor Velaryon, Laena Velaryon and Alicent Hightower.
The question we are tackling this week? What impact will the deeply seated familial issues have? After all, some are so potent, that they’ve even transcended lifetimes . . .
There’s a Territorial War Brewing Between the Respective Offspring of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower
One of the more immediate conflicts brews in a courtyard fight scene between Aegon Targaryen (Ty Tennant) and Jaecarys “Jace” Velaryon (Leo Hart). The boys are fighting because of a battle of wills brewing between Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy)’s former lover Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) and her current lover (as well as obvious father to her three non-black children) Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr).
Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) is positively aware of this, something she makes a jest of to Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), yet she refuses to act on her knowledge. This is likely because she fears being accused of treason like her father, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ilfans). Meanwhile, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), who appears to be down an arm after struggling with his illness, continually and willfully ignores the obvious as he seeks to link the children as allies for the betterment of the realm. In a scene that demonstrates how Alicent has come into her own as the Queen, she aggressively casts doubt on Viserys’s rather naïve view of the situation.
Bickering Transcends Generations
As we dissected above, the fight between Alicent and Rhaenyra extends in full to their children. Our first serious exposure to them shows Jace Velaryon and Aegon Targaryen mocking Aegon’s dragonless younger brother, Aemond (Leo Ashton). This incident invites the outrage of Alicent, who angrily scolds her eldest son, saying they need to stick together against their nephews, making it clear to the audience that Alicent has heeded the advice of her father. This now sets the stage for Jace and Aegon’s fight for their throne. Let’s note that their haughty arrogance reminds us of another Targaryen from Game of Thrones in Joffrey Targaryen—not to be confused with the third child of Rhaenyra and Harwin, or the deceased lover of Laenor Velaryon.
What In Dragonfire Happened to Laena Velaryon?
Laena Velaryon (Nonna Blondell) dies in spectacular fashion, committing suicide by dragon after realizing she and her unborn baby will not survive her childbirth. She iconicly utters “dracarys” as she dies amidst the dragonfire of her enormous mount, Vhagar. It is safe to assume that her previously dragon-less daughter, Rhaena Targaryen (Eva Ossei-Gernin) will now ride Vhagar.
For those who’ve read the books, that’s not how Laena Velaryon meets her end, and so while that decision is slightly perplexing, it was visually amazing to watch her die a warriors’ death by dragonfire. While it does seem rather shortsighted in the decision-making process, we’ll have to live with seeing Daemon not make the same choice his brother Viserys made when choosing the birth of his child over the safety of his deceased wife, Aemma.
Bonus: We Have Our Littlefinger
The only thing that’s really been missing from House of the Dragon? A sniveling rat of a character manipulating things behind the scenes. Well, oh boy did we finally get one in episode six. Mild-mannered Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) closes the episode on a wild note by recruiting men who’ve been sentenced to death, cutting their tongues out so that they cannot speak against him, and then brutally murdering his brother Harwin and father Lyonel to court favor with the Queen.
With the Hand of the King position now officially open (likely signaling the return of Otto Hightower) and the father of Rhaenyra’s children dead (likely signaling the return of Daemon Targaryen to her side), we’ve really ratcheted up the drama. Larys displays some of the most terrifying qualities of Littlefinger, along with the vast network qualities of Varys from Game of Thrones. Which elicits one final question—now that we’ve really seen what Larys is capable of—what is next?
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Catch up on more of ourHouse of the Dragon Burning Questions . . .
- 'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 5: Is Vulnerability a Weakness?
- ‘House of the Dragon’ Burning Question, Episode 4: Are Rhaenyra and Alicent officially learning the Game of Thrones?
- 'House of the Dragon' Burning Question, Episode 3: Does Anybody Exist Above Tradition and Duty in Westeros?