House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 6 The Princess and the Queen: Open Chat

King's Landing Red Keep, Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy), 1x06 (1)

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Writer: Sara Hess
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Runtime:  67 min.
Content Warnings: TV-MA: Adult Content and Language, Graphic Violence, Nudity
Video Preview: Episode 6 Preview

Tonight’s House of the Dragon episode should be quite special: by jumping ten years forward and swapping the younger cast, “The Princess and the Queen” will serve as a new premiere of sorts. It has the runtime to justify that, too, as the second longest of the season. We’ll see if it excels in quality as well as quantity!


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51 Comments

  1. Adrianacandle: That’s what I thought! That’s a cool connection 🙂

    Probably not intentional (I don’t think the actresses look alike), but something about her expression really reminded me of her! 😊

  2. Pigeon,

    I’ve seen other comments that have noticed a likeness between the two as well! I think you’re right in that it’s not really a physical likeness but something else — likely the expression 🙂 I quite liked Emma D’arcy as Rhaenyra this episode 🙂

  3. Very good episode. I really do like the writing style on this show. It’s paced well, and writing decisions seem well earned in the universe.

    I don’t need dark humor either and am glad that’s not part of this story.

  4. Adrianacandle:
    Pigeon,

    I’ve seen other comments that have noticed a likeness between the two as well! I think you’re right in that it’s not really a physical likeness but something else — likely the expression 🙂 I quite liked Emma D’arcy as Rhaenyra this episode 🙂

    I liked her as well, so far I am still Team Black (although I doubt I’ll really be too strongly one way or the other, haha! Good thing I don’t have to vote.)

  5. Pigeon: I liked her as well, so far I am still Team Black (although I doubt I’ll really be too strongly one way or the other, haha! Good thing I don’t have to vote.)

    Apologies re: using the wrong pronouns, no disrespect meant. Separate the character from the person, Pigeon!

  6. Just like the opening credit visuals were changed from the sweeping GOT sequence to the blood-running-down-walls ‘claustrophoby’ (can that be a noun?), I’m starting to find HotD a bit suffocating. I guess it’s simply not for me, this ‘Succession’ style show, even though my favourite scenes from GOT were always the intrigue and sharp dialogue. Frankly, I don’t care which Targ sits on the throne, which might be a problem here 🙂

    As for ageing up the characters: didn’t know this was coming and have mixed feelings about it. Alicent worked well enough, for Rhaenyra the physical change was a bit much. Also because ‘young’ Rhaenyra was such a distinctive looking woman. Not aging up Ser Criston Cole was what bothered me most though. The kid actors so far haven’t impressed me.

  7. Tar Kidho,

    IMO you don’t need to care who wins to enjoy the show, you just need to see it as a very rich exploration of the effects of patriarchy and its forced roles on individuals. Basically everything unlikeable about each character is actually an effect of their circumstances which makes it fascinating.

  8. NinaD:
    Alicent, girl, we have a saying in the South. Lay down with dogs, get up with fleas.

    Ha ha, definitely. She is so blinded by her sense of righteousness in this episode that she doesn’t see what she is doing to herself.

    I found it super interesting the small moment where Viserys noticed the rat. Until now, the rats have been around representing corruption and decay but noone paid them any attention, least of all Viserys. Suddenly, Viserys notices.

  9. awol,

    That’s a very good summary of what this show is about. But all of that applies just as well to the old, more ‘House-diverse’ GOT (esp. the dialogue-heavy earlier seasons, which were my favourites). I’ll keep on watching the show because I’ll basically watch anything from the GOT CU, and hope to eventually find some ’emotional hooks’ to connect with. (This started to happen with Laena this episode, but then she went and committed suicide-by-dragonfire…)

  10. Tar Kidho:
    awol,

    That’s a very good summary of what this show is about. But all of that applies just as well to the old, more ‘House-diverse’ GOT (esp. the dialogue-heavy earlier seasons, which were my favourites). I’ll keep on watching the show because I’ll basically watch anything from the GOT CU, and hope to eventually find some ’emotional hooks’ to connect with. (This started to happen with Laena this episode, but then she went and committed suicide-by-dragonfire…)

    Loved Laena too. Sniff.

    I would disagree though that patriarchy was the over-arching meta message of GOT in the same way. Of course it was there because the society was still patriarchal, and queens fighting etc. But ultimately GOT’s meta themes were more like an allegory on climate change (or any other equally complex and long term issue requiring collective action) and nuclear weapons (or any other equally skewed capacity to enforce the will of a single person).

  11. awol:
    Tar Kidho,

    IMO you don’t need to care who wins to enjoy the show, you just need to see it as a very rich exploration of the effects of patriarchy and its forced roles on individuals. Basically everything unlikeable about each character is actually an effect of their circumstances which makes it fascinating.

    But I think you do if you want to build a sustainable audience. So far it’s very much living off the wave from GOT and hard to get behind or really like any of the major characters. So far (not seen latest episode yet), I’m struggling to root for or against anyone and my overall love for the show is although positive not fever pitch because of it.

  12. Jon Snowed: But I think you do if you want to build a sustainable audience. So far it’s very much living off the wave from GOT and hard to get behind or really like any of the major characters. So far (not seen latest episode yet), I’m struggling to root for or against anyone and my overall love for the show is although positive not fever pitch because of it.

    People make too many assumptions about what characters other people will like IMO. You personally not finding a character to identify with or root for does not mean that the rest of us do not. Basically there is no generalized critique to be had here. Some of us genuinely are intrigued by some or all of these characters – that is a fundamentally personal thing.

    If this is about struggling to identify with characters of a different gender – I think you should have a think about that.

  13. I’m not claiming to speak for everyone on character investment but it’s definitely been a common criticism and reflected by most that I speak with. I’m sure there are are exceptions who feel different of course.

  14. awol: If this is about struggling to identify with characters of a different gender – I think you should have a think about that.

    Eye roll.

    I don’t think he’s claiming that he can’t identify with characters due to gender.

    I agree with everything he said too. I personally have a hard time liking any of these characters or caring which one ends up on the throne and it has absolutely nothing to do with gender or identity politics.

  15. Mr Derp,

    The point is, none of this is even ABOUT who ends up on the throne. Yes, that is what each character is fighting over certainly, but that is very different from what we get out of it as viewers. It is not a football match! Cheering for a team is not the point.

    Instead the point is very much about people and power and what we fight for and why. The fact that there is no perfect character who would definitely make an awesome king or queen is DELIBERATE, because at no point was GRRM trying to argue that absolute power in the hands of one person is an acceptable and good outcome and it is only a matter of it being the RIGHT person. He is showing that whole way of thinking to be complete baloney because every single person on earth is a hot mess full of contradictions and because power corrupts even those with the best of intentions. You are not SUPPOSED to find a hero here.

  16. Sorry to keep jumping in but a major problem with what you describe is that with no obvious villains or heroes audiences tend to lose interest.

  17. Jon Snowed:
    Sorry to keep jumping in but a major problem with what you describe is that with no obvious villains or heroes audiences tend to lose interest.

    I am not sure how you explain the popularity of GOT then.

    Yes, we need characters to identify with in parts, but that is different from seeing them as heroes.

    Their problems and motivations just need to feel real and high stakes.

  18. awol: You are not SUPPOSED to find a hero here.

    I never said anything about a hero or a perfect character, so I don’t know where you’re getting that from. No need for strawman arguments here.

    I don’t need a hero or a perfect character. None of those existed in GoT either, yet there were a lot of characters that I rooted for (Arya, Tyrion, Jon Snow, The Hound, etc). I haven’t found any characters in HotD that I’m particularly rooting for. They all seem rather spoiled and live better than 99.9% of the rest of Westeros anyway, so their “plight” doesn’t do much for me. I still think this is a decent show, I just don’t know how much I really like it or want to invest time in it either.

  19. Mr Derp: I never said anything about a hero or a perfect character, so I don’t know where you’re getting that from.No need for strawman arguments here.

    I don’t need a hero or a perfect character.None of those existed in GoT either, yet there were a lot of characters that I rooted for (Arya, Tyrion, Jon Snow, The Hound, etc).I haven’t found any characters in HotD that I’m particularly rooting for.They all seem rather spoiled and live better than 99.9% of the rest of Westeros anyway, so their “plight” doesn’t do much for me.I still think this is a decent show, I just don’t know how much I really like it or want to invest time in it either.

    I basically don’t know a single woman who would agree that all these characters are just whining spoiled brats which is why I struggle to see a failure to identify with these characters as anything other than a failure to recognize some very deep and still relevant female struggles as important.

    Is Rhaenyra a privileged princess who gets away with stuff noone else would, well yes. But every single woman I know can identify with her critique of the hypocrisy around sexual freedom for men and not women. Every single woman I know can relate to her ambivalence towards childbirth and motherhood, particularly after what happened to her mother. This stuff is visceral, so if it bores you, how is that anything BUT a gender based failure to put yourself in the place of?

    As for Alicent, her loneliness, the things she has been forced to do and be because of how people see a woman’s place, her sense of betrayal underpinned by unacknowledged jealousy – if put yourself in her place how can you feel anything but the tragedy of it? Not feeling it is simply an inability to put yourself in the place of. Not saying you need to like her, only that these problems are very deep and very real.

  20. awol: if it bores you, how is that anything BUT a gender based failure to put yourself in the place of?

    While it’s interesting (and somewhat ironic) that you’re trying to speak on behalf of all women, I can assure you that I don’t care about any of the men’s plights on this show either.

    I also never said this show bores me. You’re the dictionary definition of a strawman argument.

  21. Mr Derp: While it’s interesting (and somewhat ironic) that you’re trying to speak on behalf of all women, I can assure you that I don’t care about any of the men’s plights on this show either.

    I also never said this show bores me.You’re the dictionary definition of a strawman argument.

    I never claimed to speak for all women, I very specifically said I don’t know any women who can’t identify with these issues and therefore these characters. I also said that “I” have trouble seeing anything but gender as behind a failure to see these issues as real and important.

    Any women who think these characters are just whining about nothing are of course welcome to speak up.

  22. Say what you like about the moral ambiguity of GOT characters, there was always someone worse that you hated, and the WW threat kept the narrative moving forward, even when the show focussed on political machinations and plots. This show doesn’t have that. It’s like Succession, only less successful on a character and plot level. However, last nights Episode felt like GOT for the first time, and I really liked it. Rhaenyra is a great character, but I don’t really trust her. I actually like Viserys, which is surprising after the first Episode. I’m pretty meh on everyone else, they haven’t bothered to develop them. Alicent is ok, I think she’s in good hands with Olivia and I will enjoy her character more from now on.

  23. Jenny,

    I actually really don’t like Succession and consider this show much more successful. I wanted to like Succession….

    Main differences are probably aesthetic I guess. Succession has nothing beautiful, just awful people. And there I really genuinely don’t care about the characters’ issues.

  24. awol,

    To each their own of course. I think Succession is masterful, I care about all of the characters, and they are indeed awful. But they are all the product of their upbringing, even Logan. The cycle of trauma and abuse plays a huge part and that makes me care for them, I really feel it. HotD doesn’t have Kendall Roy, one of the best characters to grace the TV screen

  25. Jenny:
    awol,

    I think Succession is masterful,

    A lot of people feel that way, which is why I wanted to like it. I was sad that 4 episodes in I just felt like shutting it off after 3 minutes every time.

  26. awol,

    That’s too bad, but if it didn’t click it didn’t click. I loved it from the beginning, but it can take a few episodes for some people. The finale of S1 is the real turning point and S2 and S3 is far far better

  27. awol: I never claimed to speak for all women, I very specifically said I don’t know any women who can’t identify with these issues and therefore these characters. I also said that “I” have trouble seeing anything but gender as behind a failure to see these issues as real and important.

    Any women who think these characters are just whining about nothing are of course welcome to speak up.

    You just said that you don’t like Succession. So, following your own logic, since you don’t like the show, you must be dismissive over any social issues the show brings up, right? Because that’s exactly what you’re trying to do to me with HotD. Or do the rules that you arbitrarily create on the spot not apply to you?

    I also never said the women in this show are “whining about nothing”. Your strawman tactics are incredibly dishonest.

    It’s possible to believe in two separate things at the same time. I.E., It’s possible to believe that gender issues are important, but also not find HotD to be particularly awesome. I don’t know why this is so difficult for you to grasp.

  28. Mr Derp: You just said that you don’t like Succession.So, following your own logic, since you don’t like the show, you must be dismissive over any social issues the show brings up, right?Because that’s exactly what you’re trying to do to me with HotD.Or do the rules that you arbitrarily create on the spot not apply to you?

    I also never said the women in this show are “whining about nothing”.Your strawman tactics are incredibly dishonest.

    It’s possible to believe in two separate things at the same time.I.E., It’s possible to believe that gender issues are important, but also not find HotD to be particularly awesome.I don’t know why this is so difficult for you to grasp.

    One-up manship and gotcha style discussion is not much fun for anyone and I need to put my kids to bed but once again, no, you appear to be deliberately misreading my comments.

    I said I WANT to like Succession. Specifically because I DO think it raises important issues and I have heard good things about it. So no, I am not dismissive of the issues. I also don’t think anyone is obliged to like House of the Dragon. If you don’t like it you don’t like it.

    The thing I object to is blanket statements saying the characters just aren’t interesting to anyone so the show is a failure (objectively false. Lots of people are watching). I am correcting that to “the characters are not interesting to YOU”. I am also saying that anyone seeing the characters issues as purely petty bickering can only come from a place of not understanding how deep and real these issues actually are for pretty much any grown woman – and not understanding THAT is something I, personally, have trouble seeing as anything but gendered.

    Noone is forced to like this show. Nor are they forced to like any particular character.

  29. awol: One-up manship and gotcha style discussion is not much fun for anyone and I need to put my kids to bed but once again, no, you appear to be deliberately misreading my comments.

    This isn’t “gotcha style discussion”. This is you passive aggressively stating that people who don’t love this show must be misogynists, and me defending myself against such ridiculous accusations. You can’t say offensive stuff like that and then complain about not having fun when someone responds to you.

    awol: I said I WANT to like Succession. Specifically because I DO think it raises important issues and I have heard good things about it. So no, I am not dismissive of the issues. I also don’t think anyone is obliged to like House of the Dragon. If you don’t like it you don’t like it.

    I want to like HotD too and I think it raises some important issues too, so there’s no difference between my thoughts on HotD and your thoughts on Succession.

    awol: The thing I object to is blanket statements saying the characters just aren’t interesting to anyone so the show is a failure (objectively false. Lots of people are watching). I am correcting that to “the characters are not interesting to YOU”

    I never said anything like this, so I assume you’re referring to a statement that someone else made?

    awol: I am also saying that anyone seeing the characters issues as purely petty bickering can only come from a place of not understanding how deep and real these issues actually are for pretty much any grown woman – and not understanding THAT is something I, personally, have trouble seeing as anything but gendered.

    Which real issues are you referring to? Who will or won’t be Queen? That’s not an actual issue that any grown woman deals with and that’s mainly what the show is about. That’s fictional first world problems right there. However, if you’re referring to issues like agency, gender equality, etc… then yes, they are real issues. However, as I already stated above, I can think an issue is important, but not find the show that’s bringing it up to be very compelling. These issues are also brought up in most forms of tv/film these days, so it’s not like HotD is the only show bringing it up. I haven’t even said that I don’t like HotD. I just don;t love it, and I haven’t really gravitated towards any particular characters.

    awol: I also don’t think anyone is obliged to like House of the Dragon. If you don’t like it you don’t like it.

    awol: Noone is forced to like this show. Nor are they forced to like any particular character.

    Well that’s a relief to hear, because it sure seemed for a minute there like you were intimating that anyone who doesn’t love this show is a misogynist. Glad to hear.

  30. GRRM did warn about some of the complaints some of you have before the show started. He wondered how people would take to the characters because he did write and envision them as morally grey. In fact very much grey, even more than ASOIAF. He did speculate it might be difficult to want to root for or against these people.

    I would say they are probably doing a terrific job adapting them if this complaint is creeping in. Because that was how he desired to write them in the book.

  31. Mr Derp: This isn’t “gotcha style discussion”.This is you passive aggressively stating that people who don’t love this show must be misogynists, and me defending myself against such ridiculous accusations.You can’t say offensive stuff like that and then complain about not having fun when someone responds to you.

    I want to like HotD too and I think it raises some important issues too, so there’s no difference between my thoughts on HotD and your thoughts on Succession.

    I never said anything like this, so I assume you’re referring to a statement that someone else made?

    Which real issues are you referring to?Who will or won’t be Queen?That’s not an actual issue that any grown woman deals with and that’s mainly what the show is about.That’s fictional first world problems right there.However, if you’re referring to issues like agency, gender equality, etc… then yes, they are real issues.However, as I already stated above, I can think an issue is important, but not find the show that’s bringing it up to be very compelling.These issues are also brought up in most forms of tv/film these days, so it’s not like HotD is the only show bringing it up.I haven’t even said that I don’t like HotD.I just don;t love it, and I haven’t really gravitated towards any particular characters.

    Well that’s a relief to hear, because it sure seemed for a minute there like you were intimating that anyone who doesn’t love this show is a misogynist.Glad to hear.

    I’m really not sure what you’re doing here at this point, you clearly get minimal enjoyment out of the show, six episode’s in, it’s probably time to call it a day if you are so miserable watching it. No need to constantly, week after week, get embroiled in online arguing lol. Move on, it really isn’t that deep.

  32. Mr Derp: This isn’t “gotcha style discussion”.This is you passive aggressively stating that people who don’t love this show must be misogynists, and me defending myself against such ridiculous accusations.You can’t say offensive stuff like that and then complain about not having fun when someone responds to you.

    The thing is, I actually said no such thing. So…

  33. Mr Derp, I’ll politely ask you to please tone down the rhetoric a tad. No need to be so confrontational.

    DANIEL SCHULTZ:
    ChangingRhaenyra was a big mistake. Milly Alcock was the best in the show.

    They didn’t “change” Milly Alcock. If there was ever gonna be only one actor playing Rhaenyra, it’d be only D’Arcy, not only Alcock. The producers didn’t recast Alcock and Carey with D’Arcy and Cooke; the older actors, who’ll play the characters for the rest of the show, for years, were cast FIRST, and then Alcock and Carey were cast as younger versions of D’Arcy and Cooke’s characters, based specifically on the casting of D’Arcy and Cooke.

    Ultimately, it just makes no sense to have 21 year old Milly Alcock and 19 year old Emily Carey (with Alcock looking even younger than she is) as the moms of characters played by actors the same age they are. But if they’d been forced to only have one actor, they’d have done away with the time jump and only have the older actors. So no version of events ends up with Milly Alcock continuing to play the role. That was never a possibility, considering the story they’re telling.

  34. So, Ser Criston Cole beats Ser Joffrey Lonmouth to death at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding feast and fucks all the wedding celebration and preparations for the King, the Princess and heir, and just *everybody* else, namingly ALL the noble houses of Westeros. And after THAT… nothing happens to him? really?? he keeps being Kings Guard as if nothing happened? he doesn’t have to answer for his crime and the outrageous disrespect to the King, the Princess, her betrothed and ALL the noble houses present? he doesn’t even have to say any motive? to at least justify WHY he killed that guest Ser to death?

    But to top it up, Ser Harwin Strong, being Commander of the City Watch, gets kicked out just for punching him in a sparring session? what kind of “Kings Guard” is this son of a steward, that being on duty can kill a guest Ser at a Royal wedding feast and fucks everything so bad it forces the King to make a shotgun wedding? and not only he doesn’t get arrested for his crime or even kicked of his post, but a Commander of the City Watch from a noble house loses his title for touching his pretty face?

    What kind of stupid plot armor level 1000+ is this?

    Then you get a non-group of 10 nobodys, stupidly label them with your sigil for no reason, and they are able to infiltrate Harrenhal and make a fire that kills the 2 more important and more protected people? where were the dozens of soldiers and servants that are always on watch on a castle like that? What could they possible were doing instead of watching their Lords? were they too busy building a plot armor for Ser Criston?

  35. Luka Nieto: Mr Derp, I’ll politely ask you to please tone down the rhetoric a tad. No need to be so confrontational.

    No problem. I would politely add that if people don’t want confrontation then they should stop saying irresponsible things that warrant it. People should be held accountable for what they say, but I’ll do my part and ignore it next time.

  36. Luka Nieto: Mr Derp, I’ll politely ask you to please tone down the rhetoric a tad. No need to be so confrontational.

    I personally walked away from this discussion before Mr. Derp stepped in because I could see where replying to awol’s comments would lead. Just to say that singling out one side of the heated argument doesn’t seem entirely fair here…

  37. Tar Kidho: I personally walked away from this discussion before Mr. Derp stepped in because I could see where replying to awol’s comments would lead. Just to say that singling out one side of the heated argument doesn’t seem entirely fair here…

    I genuinely did my best to discuss some important issues without being heated. The most confrontational thing I said, perhaps, was that “if” the failure to identify was gender based people should have a think about that, and the “if” makes it clear IMO that I am not saying it necessarily is. Beyond that I spoke for myself and for people I know, and never once said the sorts of hostile things I was accused of saying.

    It is actually a well established fact that there is an identification bias in fictional characters where girls are taught from an early age to follow and value male characters and their issues are seen as general human ones but boys on average are not as frequently read books or shown movies centred on female characters while female issues are treated as separate and niche. So my suggestion that people have a think about this bias in consuming culture is not intended as an accusation but a genuine thing that should be thought about and discussed. It is actually important.

  38. Bombadil,

    Yeah, the difference between Criston and Harwin was rather silly. Criston was a nobody and Alicent didn’t have the power to overrule Viserys back then. If that wedding happened in the current TL, Alicent would get her way for sure. They really set themselves up for criticism here, they just showed us what should have happened to Criston

  39. Jenny:
    Bombadil,

    Yeah, the difference between Criston and Harwin was rather silly. Criston was a nobody and Alicent didn’t have the power to overrule Viserys back then. If that wedding happened in the current TL, Alicent would get her way for sure. They really set themselves up for criticism here, they just showed us what should have happened to Criston

    There is a distinct difference in status though and that is probably the key difference. Joffrey was a nobody. A random knight in the service of House Velaryon and we saw in the pilot tournament how little the deaths of random knights matter to anyone in the court.

    Criston Cole on the other hand is a knight of the Kingsguard and master at arms in the Red Keep. His status is far higher and so beating him up counts as more of a transgression (there).

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