House of the Dragon, HOTD episode 6 feels like the start of a new beginning in this game of thrones where wounded friends, lovers, dragons, and blood, everything is at stake for the Iron Throne.
It's been a decade since the last blood massacre at Princess Rhaenyra's wedding and much has changed since then including the young child actors. But what's really interesting to note is how much HOTD episode 6 themes resemble the first premiere episode amidst change. It's like generations of women going through the same thing yet things change with time. The childbed still makes up for the politics of the Iron Throne and the stakes are much higher now. And the cost that is being paid is relationships with friends and lovers, and with their own children whilst the power is being resided in dragons and blood. (spoilers ahead)
Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent have grown up to become quite the young women who now have a seat at the table. Alicent along with Ser Criston Cole functions against Rhaenyra and her entire family based on the emotions of betrayal and fear for her own son but doesn't fully understand the consequences of her actions. Rhaenyra, on the other hand, works towards maintaining the duties that are expected out of her as heir by hook or crook and protects her family fiercely. Prince Daemon looks a tad bit defeated and on the run with his family while King Viserys I is a tired old man who wants people around him that he trusts and turns a blind eye when it comes to his daughter. In contrast, there's young blood seen in the form of children who are busy training with dragons and swords while they're being dragged into muddy politics.
Also Read: HOTD episode 5 is like that perfect interval of a film where the precedence is set while you eagerly wait for the rest
The episode opens with quite a bold scene of Rhaenyra giving birth, just like her mother but with a different outcome. She walks towards the queen's chambers while she's still bleeding. It's quite interesting to watch the interactions between Alicent, Rhaenyra, and Ser Criston Cole after what happened in the last episode. It also takes a while for you to one to adjust to the new faces in this episode. While the old bunch is involved in vile politics, the young bunch shows us how children actually train with young dragons so they can ride them better later. Alicent and her son Aegon's interactions will remind you of Joffery and Cersie. And while you can see two wounded friends and lovers quarreling in Kings Landing, it's interesting to see Prince Daemon in a marriage with his daughters and his pregnant wife.
Though Laena's (Laenor's sister) pregnancy debacle reminds you of Queen Aemma's yet it's her willpower to sacrifice herself by begging her dragon to burn her instead of dying on the childbed that makes up for an interesting twist. Speaking of an interesting twist, Queen Alicent's shock after Larys Strong (resembling Little finger) kills his own father and brother upon the queen's wish to bring her father back to being the Hand of the King will also leave you shaken. This episode seems like a completely new show altogether rather than another episode of the House of Dragon.
I'm a little conflicted about how the relationship between Rhaenyra, Alicent, and Ser Criston has been shown because it reduces them to a stereotype of a vengeful lover and a jealous female friend. It's true that both of them feel betrayed by Rhaenyra but to show two women who finally got a seat at that table simply just hating on each other feels like a reduction in being a woman in power. It's exactly what men expect to see out of women in power or not. And to see a vengeful lover taking it out on Rhaenyra's kids and her present lover just shows how low people can stoop when they're blinded by hate. Also, only Rhaneyra being blamed for her kids being born out of wedlock seems a little belittling but it does work in the larger scheme of things.
If we go back to GoT then the seeds of politics were always much more than mere jealousies and vengeance, while their men and women although dealing with stereotypes weren't reduced to those. But if we think in the context of that, this is a prequel to GoT which means it's based in an era of a much earlier time. It's hard to say which path HotD is really taking though!
Here’s the preview of the next episode!
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