House of the Dragon Review/Recap Roundup Season 1 Episode 6 – the Princess and the Queen

Pentos, Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), 1x06 (2)

Happy House of the Dragon Week episode 6 week, everyone! Remember me? It’s me from just last week! Honestly, though, I would forgive you this time. I’m 10 years older. I’m 10 years more balding. I might even be played by a different writer on WOTW this week, who knows? As you remember (or in case you’ve forgotten), every week, for each new episode of HOTD, I’ll be deconstructing the multitude of reviews out there, boiling them down to one short summary sentence that will perfectly encapsulate what the original author was saying, no questions asked…and by that I mean that I will deconstruct whole essays down to one sentence apiece, often quoting them verbatim.

What I will do is attempt to summarize the original review as best I can, and if my tease whets your appetite for their style of review, you are encouraged to head over to their site and let them know…after of course letting us know your thoughts in the comments below. At the bottom, I will summarize my review of the reviewers’ reviews.

All squared? Jolly good, let’s dive in.

What did the Internet think of HBO’s House of the Dragon episode 6, “The Princess and the Queen?” Sue took the night off, so Petra filled in last night. Hey, here’s a recommendation: Before you dive into any of these other critics I’ve rounded up (pfft – boring! Who would do that/write about that/etc.?), why don’t you check out Petra’s recap of last night’s episode. Once you’ve done that, here’s what the rest of the Internet had to say about last night’s episode:

Alec Bojalad, Den of Geek – In which new Laenor actor, John Macmillan looks so similar to New Jersey senator Cory Booker in a wig that it’s distracting but that’s Alec’s cross to bear.

Belen Edwards, Mashable – In which the ways by which Fire & Blood was changed on its journey to the screen as HOTD are broken down, most notably in this episode, the successive one-track, unedited shots at the beginning of the episode, signifying director Miguel Sapochnik‘s singular eye for what constitutes a “battlefield.”

Daniel Van Boom, CNET – In which you should never trust a guy who twirls flowers while he talks to you.

Glen Weldon, NPR – In which it’s a long, painful walk up a crowded staircase to deliver the kid to the king and queen that, Glen is happy to report, does not feature any genitalia at all.

Hillary Kelly, Vulture – In which new Rhaenyra actor Emma D’Arcy does grit well and even makes the placenta’s splashy delivery a real moment.

Jamie Broadnax, BlackGirlNerds – In which the Dance of the Dragons have begun!

Jeremy Egner, New York Times – In which Larys seems to be filling the shifty manipulator role occupied by Littlefinger and Varys, with a portmanteau name likened after theirs, though he thus far lacks their depth, subtlety, and slippery charisma.

Jenna Scherer, AV Club – In which it strains credulity that Criston Cole would come back from his episode 5 public display of unsanctioned violence without losing his head, let alone his position, even with the queen’s favor holding sway.

Kim Renfro, Insider – In which through the intermittent years between episodes, Laena not only found the dragon Vhagar but bonded herself to the she-dragon.

Kimberly Roots, TVLine – In which until Alicent barges in to scold her son, the good people of the Red Keep’s lower levels (underneath Aegon’s window), may never know what they barely escaped

Meghan O’ Keefe, Decider – In which maybe there’s a genetic connection between Old Valyria and Gallifrey.

Rob Bricken, Gizmodo – In which what made this episode so tense was how clearly all of these kids are being dragged into a fight that will blow up their lives and engulf the entirety of Westeros, and it’s primarily A due to Alicent’s hate.

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which like GOT, HOTD has a reputation for a dizzyingly large cast of characters with hard-to-remember names that grows exponentially, where the losses of Milly Alcock (Young Rhaenyra) and Emily Carey (Young Alicent), two brilliant young actors, should be keenly felt, but it’s hard to imagine anyone abandoning the show after an hour this thoroughly engaging.

Summary: Episode 6’s The Princess and the Queen appears to have met the moment, both thematically, and plot-wise, while introducing us very nicely to the brand new actors taking the reins going forward. The wars to come draw ever nearer.

My Review: Thanks for asking. The episode itself was good, and I couldn’t look away. As a self-contained piece of television, it worked great! But as a mid-season entry that basically starts a new season off only 7 days after we last left these characters as children? I can’t for the life of me understand why they didn’t just pad a full season of 10 episodes with all the same actors, perhaps sorting through 5-7 years of their lives and their various exploits. Season 1 could have ended the way last week did, with the tension at the wedding ratcheting up, Queen Alicent entering in green, effectively declaring a cold war, and leaving Rhaenyra isolated as Alicent draws Criston into her confidences. Not every season ending needs to be action-packed! Emotional catharsis can sometimes work wonders! Given these final 5 episodes are likely to find a sword or two drawn, I would have been perfectly contented to let episode 6 kickstart season 2. Alas.

Well, anyway what do you make of these reviews/recaps? Sound off in the comments below, politely, but with a firmly gloved hand. Just don’t throw any gloves.

18 Comments

  1. Most of the people I work with that watched it last night were full of questions for me today, they were so confused as none of them have read the book. I have to say I agree with them, I think they jumped ahead a bit too far for the non-book readers and even for me. I gave them a crash update today and they said they’d rewatch it as now they had a better idea of what was going on and who was who.

    I agree with your review, they could have padded the season more and built the relationships – for example between Laena and Daemon. And no one at work knew who the ‘guard guy’ was (Harwin) and they asked me if he was the father of the kids and how that happened..lol! But to your point – a good ending for the season would have been the ending of last week’s episode with the younger actors.

  2. Enjoy the roundups as always, give me lots of content to chew on. But I’m really surprised tor.com’s review still isn’t here: they have a literature professor doing a deep dive into the lore as reflected in the show, seems like it’d be right up WotW readers’ alley!

  3. I also agree with David”s review and Kathy’s reaction. I wrote a similar reaction last week. The should have fleshed out some characters and events a little more. Most non-readers didn’t even notice that Harwin was also there in earlier episodes. Would have been interesting to see how Laena found Vhagar and tamed him. And also how Laena tamed Daemon.
    And it’s a wonder Viserys, with his health problems, is still alive after 10 years.
    I liked all the episodes, but I often have the feeling I am missing things.

  4. RMK:
    Enjoy the roundups as always, give me lots of content to chew on. But I’m really surprised tor.com’s review still isn’t here: they have a literature professor doing a deep dive into the lore as reflected in the show, seems like it’d be right up WotW readers’ alley!

    Appreciate that you’re enjoying it, but I honestly only know what’s in front of me. If you’re telling me I should include it in the next one, if it’s available when I’m writing it, I’ll use it!

  5. Joy C:
    I also agree with David”s review and Kathy’s reaction. I wrote a similar reaction last week. The should have fleshed out some characters and events a little more. Most non-readers didn’t even notice that Harwin was also there in earlier episodes.Would have been interesting to see how Laena found Vhagar and tamed him. And also how Laena tamed Daemon.
    And it’s a wonder Viserys, with his health problems, is still alive after 10 years.
    I liked all the episodes, but I often have the feeling I am missing things.

    Fun fact, while I followed the episode thoroughly (duh), I genuinely didn’t realize Harwin had been in any previous episode. The episode on its own perfectly introduced who he was, and which family he was part of. But, I hadn’t realized that he was “the guy” who Larys spoke to in the last episode, regarding Alicent’s green dress. I truly didn’t. This just goes to show that there were so many more characters on whom they could have relied and built out 5 episodes more’s worth of stories.

  6. I have not read the books and everything was easy to follow.

    I gladly would have taken more scenes from the last 10 years but nothing important probably happened to get to the guts of the story.

  7. Viserys seems to be doing remarkably well, minus some flowing locks and possibly an arm. I’m not complaining, I’m impressed. I hope he gets Valyria done.

  8. Glen NPR doesn’t get why showing the breast milk leaking was A Moment…
    I’d say it was a moment because it shows her post partum vulnerability and that she’s literally up and at it (playing the GoT) right after giving birth, she’s not at her full regal powers.
    It’s often called the Let Down when your milk leaks like that, it happens at moments of high emotions, you have no contol over it and as one it’s happened to publicly it is embarrassing and humiliating. I wish it didn’t feel that way but it does, or it did to me when it happened, I think because of the loss of control. I think the show was trying to reflect that.

  9. I liked the episode. It was probably the best one so far for me, but I do agree the show would benefit from developing some of these characters more instead of introducing them just to kill them off right away.

  10. Mr Derp,

    Yeah, I knew that Harwin was going to be sort of important from listening to podcasts. Even then, I didn’t spot him while watching the episodes, and I was looking out for him. They did a decent job with him in the episode, he seemed like a nice chap, but we know nothing about his relationship with Rhaenyra, will she be devastated? Will she even care? It could go either way. I suppose we saw most of his father, whose name I can’t even remember lol. He was a good Hand. Laena was particularly annoying, she rode Visenya’s dragon, and we never got to see her claim her. A crime to be quite honest. In the book, Laena and Rhaenyra were great friends, Rhaenyra was there when she died. They didn’t interact at all. This was the biggest flaw of the episode and the whole show. They had 5 episodes to introduce them and they just didn’t. It’s not like we aren’t used to a big cast

  11. Jenny: Laena was particularly annoying, she rode Visenya’s dragon, and we never got to see her claim her. A crime to be quite honest.

    I was initially confused about that, but I just went with it. I recall an earlier episode stated that Vhagar kind of went off on it’s own and didn’t have a rider. Then suddenly, it had a rider, lol.

    Her last scene was a bit over the top and melodramatic, but it worked enough that it got to my emotions. The behind the scenes bit at the end of the episode made it clear that the writers wanted her to go out all badass and such, which was a bit corny, but it still worked for me somehow.

  12. Mr Derp,

    Wait you think it’s corny to want to die your own way rather than either being slit open or dying with a dead foetus inside if you………..LOL ok 🙄

  13. Lol,

    “No need to get embroiled in online arguing lol. Move on, it really isn’t that deep.”

    You should take your own advice.

  14. Mr Derp:
    Lol,

    “No need to get embroiled in online arguing lol.Move on, it really isn’t that deep.”

    You should take your own advice.

    I wouldn’t call that arguing, you actually need to participate for it to be classified as an argument, tad sensitive there my dear lol. But you on the other hand, do spend an unhealthy amount of time arguing back and fourth for days with people, that is just a simple fact.

  15. Shinyshep,

    Yes, the let down was really great. I really love how this show is not glossing over and making background all these very key human experiences. They are actually daring the audience to just try calling it women’s issues, bringing it front and centre and saying hey look at this raw messy stuff that is part of the beginning of all human life.

Comments are closed.

House of the Dragon -41 Days 11 Hours 23 Minutes 11 Seconds