Lest one forget that in the Game of Thrones universe, characters tend to drop like flies, last night’s episode swiftly reminded the fandom of how quickly these plotlines beget sudden, tragic ends.
Episode 6 was a major milestone for the prequel. It cemented a decade-long time jump and the recast of its two female leads. Both of which went by without a hitch, as House of the Dragon continues to be swift and impactful with its storytelling. Without further delay, let’s break down last night’s plethora of crucial developments, including the creation of new alliances, the rise of a new villain, and two devastating character deaths.
A Lot Has Changed!
Though episode 5 put all the pieces in place for episode 6, many changes left viewers filling in the gaps. On the surface, this involves the kids’ introductions – which are highly significant to the impending civil war that’s been brewing ever since Alicent donned Hightower green.
The multigenerational component was at the heart of this episode’s particular plotline. Rhaenyra gives birth to her third son Joffrey, (named after Leanor’s past lover who was killed by Criston Cole at the wedding). The fact that this is her third son with dark hair creates a major obstacle to the feasibility of her and Leanor’s open marriage arrangement. Her relationship with Sir Harwin Strong is being strongly whispered about, with Alicent eager to expose her. Meanwhile, old Viserys is still playing with his King’s Landing lego landscape and pretending like everything’s fine while looking half-dead himself!
On the other side of the sea, we find a much more tame Daemon Targaryen in Pentos with his wife, Laena Velaryon, and their two girls, Baela and Rhaena. Removed from the political hellscape of Westeros, he seems very much changed. In fact, the time jump leaves a lot out in the open about how Daemon went from killing his first wife and flirting with Rhaenyra at her wedding to settling down in a distant land. This episode is the first time we see Daemon being more morally sound than usual. For our Rogue Prince, this was unexpectedly wholesome. Perhaps it serves as a marker that Daemon’s unhinged villain phase is transforming into something else, given that a new generational fight is looming on the horizon.
One of the most enduring moments of the entire episode involved Laena Velaryon, who quickly became an icon despite her screen time being cut short. Expressly, when the delivery of her third child takes a turn for the worst, Laena walks out to her dragon, Vhagar, and insists on being burned alive. Seeing her yell “Dracarys” over and over as Vhagar hesitates to comply had me in shambles! Eventually, Vhagar follows through with fire, and Laena perishes on her own terms – a dragonrider’s death.
This marked a divergence from Fire & Blood, where Laena, after much tumult, gave birth to a sickly son who would die a few days later. The book remarked that though she tried to make it back to her dragon one last time, delirious with fever, she collapsed and met her death before she could do so. I must say, I’m glad that the showrunners decided to give this short-lived but incredible character an end that emphasizes the fierce dragon rider she was. Though, having to say goodbye to her and Sir Harwin in the same episode was just too much!
Is Larys The New Littlefinger?
When the show first premiered, Otto Hightower got some preliminary comparisons to being the next Peter Baelish. However, our more thorough introduction to Larys Strong in this episode swiftly showed us that Otto was child’s play compared to Larys’ meddling.
Evidently, Larys has remained a close confidant to Alicent these last ten years, as the two swap information over dinner toward the end of the episode. However, Alicent has yet to grasp what Larys is truly capable of. Her complaints about the ongoing situation with Rhaenyra’s children (whose real father is Sir Harwin Strong), Viserys’ obstinancy, and the retreat of Lyonel Strong as Hand, lead to a grisly plan crafted by Larys.
He goes to the dungeons and offers some men a pardon from a death sentence if they participate in his scheme. To be safe, he cuts out their tongues, presumably to ensure that they can never confess to their role (or his) in orchestrating a murder. These new henchmen follow Lyonal and Harwin Strong to Harrenhal and start a fire in the night, ensuring neither man can escape. Essentially, without a moment’s hesitancy, Larys lays out the murder of his father and brother for Alicent, knowing that his loyalty will continue to reinforce his political power at the Red Keep.
This is, undoubtedly, peak Littlefinger behavior! Fueled by self-interest and operating in the shadows, Larys is now clearly the leading villain on Team Green, making Alicent an ever-dangerous foe. Good thing Rhaenyra decided to take her family to Dragonstone when she did, as Larys clearly knows no bounds.
Until next week’s stacked episode, relive all the ups and downs of episode 6 with our weekly Tweet round-up here. Dracarys!