House of the Dragon finale review: The War of the Dragons beginsOct 26 | 5 min read
House of the Dragon continues to jump through the timeline of Targaryen rule, but King Viserys is just about clinging on in episode 6 of the fantasy epic.
Paddy Considine’s monarch is barely able to stand, he’s lost limbs and his previously flowing white locks are now just a few greying straggles.
However, the hobbling and crumbling King is now all that stands between Westeros and all-out war.
We were introduced to the children of Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), whose previous friendship has morphed into a simmering rivalry of distrust and displeasure.
On top of this, we also got a couple of major deaths – oh, were you starting to like that character? We’ve got some bad news for you! - and some epic dragon sequences from Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell).
Here's everything you need to know about House of the Dragon episode 6, The Princess and The Queen...
Who are Aemond, Aegon II and Helaena Targaryen?
This episode didn’t attempt to mask the fact Viserys and Alicent’s three children are bad news.
Firstly, we’ve got Aegon, played boldy and brilliantly by Ty Tennant. Sinister, brattish and caught by his mother pleasuring himself of his bedroom window (we told you it was a bold performance), the eldest of Alicent’s children shares a name with House Targaryen’s first king, but doesn’t look fitting for the title. However, with Alicent dripping him poison about Rhaenyra and his fate, he’s probably not going to turn out to be the most well-adjusted Targaryen.
Even more disturbing than his brother is Aemond, played by Leo Ashton. Rather than worrying about succession to the throne, Aemond spends his days fascinated by dragons and brooding over the fact he doesn’t have one yet. Like a mini Prince Daemon, he’s got some seriously bad vibes.
Talking of bad vibes, their sister Helaena Targaryen, played by Evie Allen, is the strangest of the trio. Only appearing briefly in the episode, she spends her time obsessing over a large black insect. Again, there are some seriously bad vibes from this Targaryen offspring.
Who are Princess Rhaenyra's children and who is the real father?
One the other side of the divide, we’re introduced to Princess Rhaenyra's children, Jacaerys, Lucerys and baby Joffrey, who is born at the beginning of the episode.
All three children are fathered by Ser Harwin Strong rather than her husband Laenor, and there’s nobody in the kingdom who doesn’t seem to be fully aware of this. Ser Harwin spending his days making eyes at Rhaenyra and giving fighting lessons to the boys doesn’t help matters either way.
The Harwin-Rhaenyra affair is driving Queen Alicent around the bend and matters are made worse because King Viserys appears to be willing to go along with the whole charade for the sake of peace and his daughter.
Much like the peace in King’s Landing, the truth about Rhaenyra's children and private life appears to only be protected by King Viserys. And with Alicent no longer even willing to plump the King’s pillows, time is quickly running out.
Who killed Lord Strong and Harwin Strong and why?
In the book, the death of Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes) and his eldest son Harwin (Ryan Corr) in a fire at Harrenhal is left as an open-ended mystery with Daemon and Coryls among the suspects.
But House of the Dragon confirms that the real guilty part is Lyonel’s other son and Harwin’s brother Larys.
Firmly establishing him as the Littlefinger-esque true villain of House of the Dragon, Matthew Needham’s Larys was willing to bump off his own family to further bond himself to Queen Alicent and get his own inheritance of the seat at Harrenhal.
Alicent was horrified by Larys’ actions, but she’s now closely aligned to the secretive plotter and he now presumably has a hold over the Queen, because he could pin the deaths on her.
Who is Larys Strong and what does his ‘bee’ symbol mean?
After burning alive his father and brother, Larys is now the head of House Strong.
What he lacks in physical prowess, he makes up for with a lack of morals and cunning. The TV series has added a motif for Larys, a golden bee, which he has on his cane and badges. We also saw it on the prisoners, who Larys tortured and set free on the condition that they did his bidding – and killed his father and brother.
The bee is a nod to a quote about Larys from Fire and Blood, which said: "The words dripped from his lips like honey from a comb, and never did poison taste so sweet.”
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How did Laena Velaryon die?
Beyond King’s Landing, Prince Daemon appeared to have finally found some sort of peace with Laena Velaryon and their daughters Baela and Rhaena.
Daemon is not the sort to ever be happy, but he appeared to be content with his new wife, riding their dragons together, and getting away from the battles for succession to the Iron Throne.
But in yet more childbirth heartache, Laena suffered fatal complications during the birth of their third child. Daemon was given a choice similar to his brother in episode 1 over whether to try save his wife or child, but Laena took the decision out his hands.
Racing to Vhagar – the incredible and gigantic dragon was quite the spectacle for episode 6 – she ordered her creature to burn her and her unborn child. She leaves behind two distraught daughters and a dangerously directionless Daemon, who is now free to return to King’s Landing and the battles for the Iron Throne.
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