House of the Dragon: 1.06 - The Princess and the Queen

ctg

weaver of the unseen
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Ten years later. Rhaenyra navigates Alicent's continued speculation about her children, while Daemon and Laena weigh an offer in Pentos
IMDB score: 8.8 Runtime: 67 minutes.
 
Holy TARDIS! Matt Smith must be feeling more at home with each time-traveling jump.
I spent the first few minutes asking "who are these people?" As I attempted to identify the children, I thought I was watching alternating past and future Targaryenism.
I was sure I had seen the last of Viserys when he collapsed at the end of the last episode, but there he was, ten years later, still coughing along.
The high-speed timelines aren't working for me. At least the dragons are getting more close-ups.
 
Ten years is a long time in human timescale. So much can happen in such a short timespan. Who knows, maybe they even birthed new dragons, but it is clear from this that the Old King is either dying or about to die of his high old age. According to our studies the median life span of a normal citizen were around 42 years in the middle-ages. Much less at the beginning of it, thanks to Vatican sanctified a century of sh*t, when no washing was allowed. Because it could wash away a sin ... or something close to it.

A decade after a "Joffrey Wedding," a lot much have happened. Has it been good? We'll see.

Another note, they changed the title scene again, with the blood flows getting bigger and the House at the end getting splattered with the crimson hues. In dragons lifepan of centuries, ten years is nothing. And it would be interesting if they were manipulating the charaters and the scenes, but so far, there's no evidence to support it. So they remain just beasties.

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Rhae, the mum, and still just a princess. From the experience she was pushing the babies out, I didn't think she was in the business for the first time. The surprise was the white skin colour and red eye brows, before the Queen's chambermaid barked in with an immediate request to see the baby.

I still loved that the Sausage Prince turned up at the aftermath and offered to help the lady with best he could. But the way he said, "I heard it's a boy," didn't sound so enthusiastic that I suspected him not to be the father. At least he had learned through the marriage who's the boss, and when to obey, even though he voiced way too many times on his objection to seeing the Queen straight after the birth.

Rhae was the strong lady and the Queen, a bitch. But it did put a smile on my face to see Ser Cristos guarding the Queen's chambers in his still shining armour.

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Man, seeing the Old King appearing in the Queen's chambers like a fancy looking hobo made me giggle. That b*stard has still a few cylinders kicking, even though it was evident that he almost twice died in the last episode. Then as the geezer was handling the news, the Sausage Prince delivered the name, "Joffrey," as if it was already decided.

The Queen played her hand, after the old baboon claimed that "Joffrey" had Ser Leanor's nose, as she said, "Well done. Keep trying, one day you might get one that looks like you." Touche.

The really daddy was waiting at the bed chambers with two other kids, while the Sausage Prince got told off for naming Rhae's baby as she dripped off from the Queen champers. It didn't surprise me that she had chosen her lover better, leaving the Sausage prince to do his thing while Ser Harwin takes care of the business.

A commander-of-the-city-watch is a better choice than a knight. A wiser, mature choice than the Mr Chisel Face, Ser Cristos.

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Young one, but so feisty. Vermax was still having his milk teeth in this shot. Barely having grown a horn in his head. Nevertheless, still supremely intelligent as he was battling against Prince Jacaerys' orders to see who's the boss.

The beastmaster told the young prince that he had no other choice but to show supremacy, or he'll be never flying a dragon, or order them to do his bidding. "Once they're fully bound to you, they refuse to take orders from any other."

Maybe the biggest surprise was that the young one preferred to eat his dinner charred black, still glowing from the toasting. More interesting story was Aemon's descent into the dragonpits, after "the Pink Dread," didn't satisfy his needs. In my eyes, he's clearly physically weaker, but he has gained some mental capacity instead for having a high forehead. And a need to satisfy his curiosities at a very young age.

It was obvious that he heard the call, and he could sense the dragons being in their lairs, but he had no willpower to make them to accept his presence. Being from the Hightower, the Queen could not understand the boy's yearning, how he's blood is burning to a have connection with the beasties.

The Old King couldn't or wouldn't explain it to the Queen no matter what. So she spit out the elephant in the room, and voiced her concern over whose Joffrey's real daddy, like a real matriarch mum. Almost as if she was concerned over the purity, without understanding that she too was one piece in the puzzle.

Ser Criston, the Queen's lover, wasn't much of help anyway, as he clearly didn't listen her concerns but went on to call Rhae with the c-word.

Aegon turned out to be his father's son, a spoiled br*t, for wanking on the window and then rolling the blame on Rhae's babies. He couldn't even understand that mum wasn't proud of him being a boy and not a puffed chest prince, ready to take on the problems of the House of the Dragon.

Later in the courtyard, Aegon couldn't best Ser Cristos in a training match. Not even with the help of his brother. Putting against Rhae's eldest, there was no skill, just cruelty and brutish display of strength. But it was only a trap for Ser Harwin to get accused of shagging the princess.

The Sausage Prince couldn't defend the fatherhood, as for tens years, he'd been "bought the finest horse, drank the rarest of wines and shagged the lustiest boys." All he could was to swallow when the Rhae did put down her foot and write to her sister.

Rhae did right by trying to dissolve the situation in the Small Council by proposing a marriage inside the family to keep the peace. But the Queen couldn't swallow it, even though the Old King was congratulating it as "the wisest of ideas." All for the precious Targ blood.

Then, because the matter of boys wasn't settled, the Hand came to offer his resignation to save the family face. Just because "his son, Ser Harwin" had rearranged Ser Cristos' face after the accusations. Not the smartest chip from the block, is he? The punishment was more service and no acceptance to the real issue that the Queen were trying to bring out.

She left him on his own devices, and returned to have a dinner with Lord Larys, the snake. I couldn't but felt icky as he went through his lines and revealed that he'd wished for his father, the Hand, to get booted out from the court. Why did that not freak the Queen?

All she could do was to listen the snake's slithering his poison through words.

The result, Rhae lost a lover, and because of it, she moved out to Dragon's Keep with an ominous quote to Ser Leanor, "We need every sword..."

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The Cruel Prince and Lady Leana. It was a surprise that the wife had got herself an equally big dragon to Daemon's own one. But the bigger one was they got an offer for permanent residency in Pentos, with the subjects paying taxes to a dragon lord. Land, people, harbour and city to satisfy his needs as long as he put down his roots.

Lady Leana wasn't happy for Daemon entertaining the offer, as she put it, "I want to die a dragonrider's death and not be some fat landowner." A strange wish for a woman with two kids and one in the oven. I get the romantics in the idea of being a beastrider and living like a nomad, but in the long run it sucks, as she said, "I want my baby to be born in the Driftmaker, my ancestor's home."

But Daemon didn't listen, instead he locked himself in the library, going through endless tomes over the dead DragonLords as he was obsessed with his ancestral past, instead of taking care of the family. But Laena's wish was for Daemon to be his own lord, and enjoying his life instead of being a library rat.

When it came to time for third birth, it surprised me that Lady Leana couldn't deliver. No matter what Daemon wished. But he was also unable to stop Laena from sacrificing her life to her dragon.

"Veagar Dracarys!" she screamed and the old one hesitated. "Dracarys!" Seven times she repeated the command, before the dragon obeyed. Right before Daemon's eyes.

What a way to go!

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Who are these guys? They wasted King's hand and Rhae's lover in a surprise attack to Harrenhal. Problem solve, by Lord Larys. Are they his assassins?
 
I found the time jump and actor change rather jarring. It seemed like the Rhae actress (Milly Alcock) would be the star. I think a 10 year change could have been put on her. The character is still a young woman. Olivia Cooke (great performer in Bates Motel series) is a good introduction for the Queen, though still took some getting used to.

But meanwhile handsome Ser Criston merely has had a haircut! :D And Daemon has perhaps not changed at all. While King Viserys at deaths door is still going on 10 years later. What is going on.

It was decent overall but it was a bit of a letdown compared to the level of the earlier episodes (particularly 2, 3 and 4). The end for Daemon's wife was well shot. Perhaps the excitement will ramp up again next week.
 
A few points on the episode.

1. This felt like the first episode of a new season. Setting up the older characters and new ones for the strife ahead.

2. Ser Harwin 'Breakbones' easily overcomes Ser Criston. This a different to the book where Criston defeats Harwin in a tourney. Afterwards Harwin is given a new name 'Brokenbones'

3. Plenty of dragons in this episode. I liked that they showed the age of Vhagar as he is the oldest living dragon.

4. A different Daemon yet very much the same.

5. Paddy still killing it as Viserys. Emmy on the way for him.

6. There is also a big absense. Alicents and Viserys's third son Daeron. He could be cut from the series.
 
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2. Ser Harwin 'Breakbones' easily overcomes Ser Criston. This a different to the book where Criston defeats Harwin in a tourney. Afterwards Harwin is given a new name 'Brokenbones'
Yeah, that did felt a bit a strange, because in the "Joffrey Wedding," he could not control his anger. In this one, he baited Ser Harwin and got slapped, hard. And he was giggling about like Tyler Durden (Fight Club) as if he wanted to get mashed to the ground and get beaten, because nothing else can make the pain in his chest to go away. It's almost as if wanted to cause most harm and inflect pain to Rhae, through the family connection.

It's also interesting that in the book they organized a tourney and had the fight there, when I expected Ser Harwin to challenge the offender to a single combat. So, a version of tourney.
 
That was a jolly episode! Forget the strange actor's changed heads, we had not one, but two lots of scenes depicting painful childbirth, interspersed with torture and bodily mutilation. I feel absolutely nothing for these characters. I don't care if none of them survive. In fact, the people of Westeros deserve much better leaders. Bring on the Dragon Apocalypse!
 

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