Looking for a full Review of the House of Dragon Episode 6? Look no further – our experts have you covered!
Major spoilers for the Sixth episode of House of the Dragon follow. If you haven’t seen the latest episode, please turn around!
House of Dragon Episode 6 Review
Just past the midpoint of Season 1, our two protagonists have finally reported for duty. Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke have replaced Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively. It takes a significant portion of this episode to adjust to the change. Beneficially, the ten-year time leap signified by the casting change has not altered previously established patterns: the couple has settled into their feud and formed a habit of little jousting that is distorting the entire court.
For once, it’s not me talking about the show’s fascination with women as dynastic instruments, as the opening sequence begins with a woman whining. Rhaenyra, the wife of D’Arcy, is giving birth to her third son, whom Laenor (John Macmillan) names Joffrey after his long-lost love. As soon as the umbilical cord is severed, the queen demands to view the newborn; Rhaenyra, obstinate to the core, insists on carrying the infant as passive resistance. If humiliating Alicent was her intention, she fails: the moment of genuine worry in Alicent’s eyes is quickly replaced by the usual sniping.
Rhaenyra’s children do not originate from Laenor, and she has been having an affair with Ser Harwin Strong. This is one of the numerous advantages of casting African-American actors as the Velaryons (Ryan Corr). Viserys (Paddy Considine) is oblivious to the situation, even though Alicent is aware of it. However, no one will make the charge public out of fear of treason. He encourages his sons and grandkids to play together, sure that he would be able to unite them as allies who will support Rhaenyra’s authority. It is intriguing to note, however, that the once-mild Alicent is now confident enough in her strength to quite acerbically attack his comfortable worldview.
Each lady carefully treads the line publicly and expresses her true feelings privately. Alicent turns to Ser Cristen Cole (Fabien Frankel), whose hatred for Rhaenyra has crystallized into a hatred that even shocks the queen. At the same time, Rhaenyra attempts to explain the situation to her cheerfully dismissive husband. Alicent interrupts her son Aegon’s (Ty Tennant) private time (a child prince wanking over an entire city is quite a metaphor) to explain the existential threat posed by his nephews. Now that she has fully absorbed her father’s perspective, her conflict with Rhaenyra is existential.
The rivalry between the women reaches its climax – for the time being, at least – in council, where they argue over strategy (Rhaenyra’s soft spot for the absent Daemon is still evident) as the other members observe in awkward silence, fearful of getting on the wrong side of either the queen or the heir. Intriguingly, Rhaenyra is the one to extend an olive branch, proposing a potential interest-aligning marriage between their offspring. Viserys is ecstatic – his fantasy has come true! – but Alicent reacts with almost visceral hatred and deflects the question by humiliating Rhaenyra by pointing out her still-leaking breasts. Alicent was presumably standing behind the door during the distribution of feminist solidarity.
Due to royal decorum and mutual devotion to Viserys, the rivalry between the women is relegated to the proxy. Aegon and Rhaenyra’s eldest, Jacaerys aka Jace (Leo Hart), conspire to prank Aegon’s dragon-less young brother, Aemond (Leo Ashton), in the Dragonpit’s gloomy depths, which infuriates Alicent because she wants her sons to band together against their nephews. However, the most harmful conflict occurs while the children work in the practice yard. Ser Cristen comes perilously close to identifying Ser Harwin as the true father of the boys, and the two men fight in front of the king. Their conflict will have significant repercussions, about which more will be said later.
Check out our review of episode 5.
Meanwhile, Daemon, his wife Laena (now portrayed by Nanna Blondell), and their twin daughters settled in Pentos. They are introduced as a couple via some spectacular dragon stunt-flying, loop-de-looping, and soaring around one another and – in Daemon’s case – flying through bouts of flame in a scene that demonstrates the sheer joy of flight and serves as a reminder that House Of The Dragon has a substantial budget for special effects. Laena is not yet ready to give up on Westeros and settle down permanently, despite appearances. The most recent pregnancy of Laena ends in a tough delivery, and Daemon is faced with the same decision as Viserys: should he risk his wife for the child?
This is a digression from Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin, intended to draw a direct connection between the brothers. Daemon makes no decision, and it is unclear if he does so out of respect for his wife – which he appears to have – or out of terror at the decision itself, a sign of weakness in the face of an impossible situation.
Laena’s response is likewise challenging to decipher: choosing immolation by Dragonfire over a torturous death would be understandable (she stated previously that she wants “a dragon rider’s death”), but it is unclear whether she is aware that the baby is also nonviable at that time. In the novel, the infant is born with birth defects, and Laena dies after childbirth. Her new demise is far more dramatic but emotionally murkier. If her death is certain and she accepts it, wouldn’t she allow them to attempt to save the child? It’s a strange ending for a mother of two little daughters who appeared to be dedicated.
Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham), son of the Hand and less physically imposing brother to Ser Harwin, is the final strand in this twisted web. Since we last saw him, he has become Alicent’s counselor, who secretly laments her lack of court sympathizers. Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes) has volunteered to retire as Hand of the king in response to Harwin’s brawl, but Viserys has refused to accept his resignation; instead, Lyonel has pleaded for permission to at least accompany his son to their (famously unlucky) fortress, Harrenhal. This affords Larys an opportunity for action.
Larys characterizes “assisting” Alicent as locating some condemned individuals, getting their tongues cut out (as he watches with interest), and sending them to murder his brother and father, Lord Lyonel. This accomplishes multiple objectives at once. It is now possible for Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) to return to his position as Hand. Rhaenyra and her sons lose a crucial ally. Alicent is scared of her own ally, having witnessed the potential of the peaceful, meek Larys. The search for Littlefinger in this production is complete.
We conclude with Daemon being widowed once again – it’s becoming a pattern – and Rhaenyra departing King’s Landing for her ancestral fortress on Dragonstone, abandoning the court and its intrigues to her adversary. Will it be a mistake to delegate the court’s authority to Alicent? Rhaenyra’s wish to escape the ceaseless attacks on herself and her children is almost definitely understandable. A rodent scurrying over Viserys’ mantelpiece and his empty sleeve are not the only indications that his influence is waning; something will soon have to give.
Conspiracy, mutilation, murder, and dragons: this is as Game of Thrones as it gets. Rhaenyra and Alicent are in capable hands, as seen by the episode’s numerous tense moments. If there are still a few wobbly points in the script, there is no doubt that the cast is giving their all.
TV SHOW: House of the Dragon Episode 6 (Season 1)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Run time: 1h 7min
Release: 25th Sep 2022