House of the Dragon preview: Episode 6, “The Princess and the Queen”

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

House of the Dragon heads into a 10-year time jump for “The Princess and the Queen.” Forget everything you knew and learn a bunch of a new stuff! Here’s where our characters are as they head into the future:

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

Rhaenrya Targaryen — Status: The Princess Bride

Rhaenyra Targaryen tried to have it all: the best friend, the respectable husband, the hot boyfriend, and the heirship to the Iron Throne. It’s not going well. Her former friend Alicent Hightower is now dead set against her, and plots to get her own children on the throne and shut Rhaenyra out. And that hot boyfriend went apesh*t when she told him he would have to share her with her gay husband, whom she had to marry for political reasons. Rhaenyra’s life was already complicated and another decade has only made things thornier.

This is the first episode where Rhaenyra will be played by Emma D’Arcy, who will presumably perform the role for the rest of the series. For the last five episodes, Rhaenyra was played by Milly Alcock.

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

Alicent Hightower — Status: The Mean Queen in Green

In “We Light The Way,” Alicent decided it was in her best interests to resist Rhaenyra’s ascension to the Iron Throne, where before she had pushed for it. It looks like she’s only dug in her heels in the intervening decade, sparring with Rhaenyra during Small Council meetings and whispering to her husband the king about his daughter’s misdeeds. The honeymoon isn’t just over, it was firebombed, kicked in the shins and shot into space. These two are enemies now.

Like Rhaenyra, Alicent will be played by a new actor from now on: Olivia Cooke, who is taking over for Emily Carey.

Image: House of the Dragon/HBO
Image: House of the Dragon/HBO /

Viserys Targaryen — Status: Probably thankful just to see another morning

I’ll be honest: I’m kind of surprised King Viserys is alive. He already seemed half-dead of some sort of wasting sickness when we left him in “We Light The Way.” Now he looks half a corpse, with his mane of silver-blonde Targaryen hair thinning and turning white. Viserys never had full control of his court — you always got the idea he’d be a lot happier if he wasn’t king — but at least he tried. With him weaker and closer to death’s door than ever, his court belongs to anyone with the power and gall to take it, and there are a lot of contenders.

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

Lyonel Strong — Status: Only just now realizing he’s boarded a sinking ship

Viserys does have allies at court, including his Hand Lyonel Strong, who replaced Alicent’s father Otto Hightower. Lyonel always gave the king good advice, but does that matter now that the king is practically incapable of acting on it?

Also, 10 years as Hand may have gone to Lyonel’s head. Everyone knows the king is dying, so perhaps he it’s time to start choosing which claimant to the Iron Throne he should back once Viserys drops. His sons seem way ahead of him. Larys Strong, aka the Clubfoot, gave Alicent some useful gossip in the last episode, and his son Harwin…well, we’ll let you watch the episode.

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

Criston Cole — Status: Dead to me

In “We Light The Way,” Kingsguard knight Criston Cole punched the future king consort full in the face and then beat a knight to death in front of a crowd of horrified witnesses. He’s gotta be dead by now, right? Maybe off at the Wall filling ice trays for the rest of his sorry days?

Ends up no, apparently he’s still in the Red Keep, on the Kingsguard, and training Alicent’s children in the ways of combat. Obviously he’s in Alicent’s camp — after what happened there’s no other option — but I’m surprised he’s around to be in any camp at all.

Basically, my strategy with Criston is to put my fingers in my ears and say “la la la la la” every time he comes onscreen, at least until he gets a death scene.

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

The Kids — Status: Here

Some characters will be played by new actors, and some characters are brand new altogether. When we last left Aegon and Helaena Targaryen, the children of King Viserys and Alicent Hightower, they were nonverbal babies. Now they’re precocious whippersnappers played by Ty Tennant and Evie Allen. And Alicent and Viserys have at least one more kid: Aemond Targaryen, played by Leo Ashton. Believe me when I tell you to watch out for that one.

Meanwhile, Rhaenrya has had kids too, including Jacaerys Velaryon (Leo Hart), Lucerys Velaryon  (Harvey Sadler) and Joffrey Velaryon (a baby). And remember little Laena Velaryon? She’s grown up, is now played by Nanna Blondell, and has two daughters: Rhaena Targaryen (Eva Ossei-Gerning) and Baela Targaryen (Shani Smethurst).

Yep, that’s a whole lotta new names to memorize. These characters are all important to some degree going forward, so best get familiar.

House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon /

Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen — Status: In for a grandchild, in for a queen

The wedding between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon may have been a disaster, but at least Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen wed their son to the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Corlys is an ambitious guy, so you can bet that he and his huge navy will take Rhaenyra’s side should things come to blows between her and Alicent. And the fact that his wife and daughter both ride dragons doesn’t hurt, either.

In fact, Rhaenyra wasn’t the only Targaryen who married one of Corlys and Rhaenys’ kids…

House of the Dragon Episode 6
House of the Dragon Episode 6 /

Daemon Targaryen — Status: About to ruin another life

Who can predict Daemon Targaryen? He opened Episode by torching dudes in the Stepstones, spent Episode 4 seducing his niece, and began Episode 5 by murdering his wife. When Episode 6 begins, he will already be married to Laena Velaryon, with whom he was flirting during Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding. He’s everywhere!

I’m not even going to try and speculate about what sort of disaster Daemon causes in the new episode. I’ll just assume he does and watch with jaw hanging open like usual.

dark. Next. House of the Dragon trailer breakdown: Episode 6, “The Princess and the Queen”

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