House of the Dragon Recap: A Bad Egg review

The same problems plaguing Westeros still exist a decade later. Despite this, episode six features a vastly improved plot, some real bite from the big characters, and a plethora of kids who could start gutting one other before they reach legal age. At this point, House of the Dragon is delivering the sleazy schemes and heinous misdeeds we’ve come to expect from George R. R. Martin’s nobles (those who survive to adulthood, that is).

Announcing Vulture’s brand new cultural podcast, Into It with Sam Sanders.

Beginnings and endings of “The Princess and the Queen” feature births. Aegon, the eldest son of Viserys and Alicent, the flaxen-haired terror, and the hyper-public masturbator, fills the area between the roasted eggs, the unhatched eggs, the gifted eggs, and the rest of the Ages. House of the Dragon doesn’t pull any punches, but it does capitalize on the metamorphic motherhood of rearing dragons by focusing on pregnancy and the offspring they produce.

Agon was just a wee guy when we last saw him, tearing up his second name day party as his adoring babysitters gawked. Now an adult (played superbly by Ty Tennant, grandson of Doctor Who’s fifth Doctor Peter Davison, and stepson to Doctor Who’s tenth Doctor David Tennant), he is eager to spread his seed across the roofs of King’s Landing and to emotionally hurt his nephews and younger brother. The new Targaryen family is led by Aegon and includes his gentle and inquisitive sister Helaena (Evie Allen), their dragons and mocked brother Aemond (Leo Ashton, who displays admirable restraint in the role), and Rhaenyra’s curiously brunette, bruiser sons Jacaerys (Leo Hart), also known as Jace, and Lucerys (Leo Hart), also known as Luke (Harvey Sadler). There is a lot of potential for royal strife within the crew.

 

One of the show’s defining characteristics was the prominence of fascinating kid characters who were tossed about by the story’s currents, whose lives were upended by forces beyond their control and subsequently propelled in directions they hadn’t anticipated. The authors were just as forgiving with their characters’ maturation as they were with the adults; the adults in the Stark family may have treated Arya like a naive little girl in season one, but the writers never did. Mycah the butcher’s son is killed off the King’s Road in the second episode after Arya punches Joffrey and things spiral out of hand, establishing early on that the stakes for child’s play were high in Game of Thrones. When it comes to the youngest Targaryens, House of the Dragon takes a similar tack: the trick the others perform on Aemon, in which they bring out a pig with wings to welcome him in the dragon pit, is reminiscent of playground bullying, but its repercussions are far more serious. Later, Alicent (now portrayed by the brilliant Olivia Cooke) yells in Aegon’s face that he and Aemond need to stay united since Jace and Luke are their enemies in the struggle for the kingdom. Aegon, though, is provoking his brother into a dangerous rage. The decay of a royal family can be imagined when the brother turns against his brother.

And then there’s the action on the practice yard. Ser Cristan Cole, who is now a close friend of Queen Alicent and is even prepared to utter the c-word in front of Her Majesty, has a vested interest in the eldest of Queen Alicent’s sons, Aegon. Any offspring of Rhaenyra, “a spider who stings and sucks her victims dry,” is unworthy of the Iron Throne, in his eyes. (Jealousy of his ex might give him the push he needs.) Because of this, when the young boys battle with wooden swords, Cristan is more concerned with cheering on and training the twins than with watching over his nephews. Ironically, this puts him in the same situation as Joffrey Monmouth in the previous episode: on the ground with his face virtually squashed by a man considerably stronger than he is. This duel between Harwin and Cristan is a microcosm of the broader strategy unfolding in King’s Landing. At first, it appears to be a fight between two well-matched youths (though Jace does make a notable counterattack after Aegon has the upper hand). Viserys may insist that Rhaenyra and her children have a secure claim to the throne, but Alicent now has a fresh argument to use in his campaign to have Aegon installed as king thanks to suspicions about the children’s paternity.

Emma D’Arcy deserves much acclaim for her performance as the mature Rhaenyra; her first scene onstage is a moaning, squishy-sounding labor and delivery, and D’Arcy does a fantastic job of keeping the melodrama to a minimum. There’s no mistaking that this Rhaenyra is a more assured and self-assured version of the bride from a decade ago. She understands when to back down and when to reassert her authority over party boy Laenor with the flick of a tongue. Despite my skepticism that a woman could walk across the castle so soon after giving birth without drugs, D’Arcy does grit well and even made the placenta’s splashy arrival a real event. (The whole thing strangely reminded me of when Kate Middleton had to be marched out of the hospital and pose for a picture call hours after giving birth to the future king of England, although with the help of a glam squad and modern medicine.)

In this episode, the knowledge that Harwin Strong is the biological father of Jace, Luke, and baby Joffrey was the proverbial elephant in the room. Rhaenyra and Laenor swore to try to have their heirs at the very least, but something went wrong on the way since Jace, Luke, and Joffrey all inherit their dads’ dark brown hair. Alicent, looking perplexed, says, “Do keep trying, Ser Laenor.” You may have one that is a replica of yourself eventually, they said. If Punnett squares have the same effect on Westerosi DNA, then Rhaenyra’s offspring have an even more significant hair color problem than Cersei Lannister. The young Velaryon/Targaryens are entitled to inherit their parents’ silver hair. None of Laenor’s three “children” have inherited a single trait from him, and the court can see that. This proves that the hideous racial assaults on the casting of House of the Dragon were always ridiculous, but now much more so. (In a bizarre aside, Alicent says, “it’s a miracle their eggs even hatched.’) However, the boys’ Targaryen paternity is more than enough to guarantee that dragon blood flows through their veins.

Daemon and Laena (Nanna Blondell) are now on Essos, where they are anticipating the arrival of their third child, a baby Targaryen. Both Baela (Shani Smethurst) and Rhaena (a morose Eva Ossei-Gerning) were born and raised during their parents’ long years as guests of the Pentoshi prince Reggio Haris. Professor Daemon now spends his days reading by the fireplace and putting on air shows featuring dragons fighting each other for pleasure. His new brooding demeanor complements his good looks; Laena may think he’s sad because he can’t woo his niece and murder recklessly anymore, but he’s looking rather dashing. His hair has already started to grow back in!

A single episode is all it takes for this happy family to fall apart. Remarkably, Laena’s death via dracarys is the first time a dragon has shown mercy on its rider by willingly putting them out of their misery before they succumb to the septic shock and infection that are sure to follow. But once again, we can only hope that House of the Dragon slows down its pace so that we may get to know these individuals, lament their losses, and feel more for their left-behind offspring. After Laena’s death, the futures of Baela and Rhaena are uncertain. Daemon plans to remain in Essos with their dragons to help the Pentoshi defeat the Triarchy, which had strengthened their authority through an alliance with Dorne. Laena desired a return to Driftmark so that she could bring up her children near her hometown and establish a more permanent base of operations there. Her death, though, may cause Daemon’s newfound rage to cause him to demand the impossible.

Not only does Laena die in this episode, but so do a few others. The scandal surrounding Harwin’s connection with Rhaenyra has resulted in him losing his job as Commander of the City Watch, and now his father has insisted that he go to their family seat at Harrenhal. The last thing we see of him is smashing his shoulder into a wooden door of the castle as he tries to release his father from the raging blaze. The dragon Balerion burnt Harren and his sons to death in Harrenhal, making the fortress cursed before Aegon Targaryen ever arrived in Westeros to begin his conquest. The subsequent generations of its previous inhabitants have all perished.

However, another Strong, Harwin’s sly younger brother Larys, was behind the arson. He claimed to have been following secret orders from their adoring queen, Alicent. Fratricide for political benefit is just the sort of tasty blood feud we’re hoping to see in Westeros; the means Larys employs only serve to heighten the gore. (Those arsonists had their mouths cut out so they can’t confess.) If only we could have seen them together, we could have a clearer idea of how one brother can become a powerful and honorable man, while the other stays in the shadows and tries to whisper in the noble’s ear.

Although Alicent is shocked by the news of Lyonel Strong’s death, she may finally obtain her wish: her father may return to King’s Landing and resume his position as King’s Hand. There are a large number of individuals now in transit. While Daemon may be crossing the Narrow Seas, Rhaenyra is leaving for Dragonstone to protect her loved ones, and we can only hope that this story is finally given the space it deserves.

Originating with ravens

House of the Dragon’s male protagonist, despite growing increasingly ill, stubbornly refuses to give up hope for survival, which is just as shocking as Game of Thrones’s appalling decision to murder its crucial character, Ned Stark, before the conclusion of the first season. Just as he is losing control of his empire, his body is wasting away as a result of his strength. Viserys’s blindness is playing havoc because he can’t let go of the hope that one day his family would have their after-school special conversion and turn towards each other with love and acceptance.

 

At the council meeting, Rhaenyra proposes a betrothal between Jaecerys and Helaena and also gives Aemond a dragon egg from Syrax. Whether one or both are approved is something we have to find out.

 

The lone Targaryen kid without a dragon isn’t named Aemond; there are others. Rhaena’s first dragon in Fire & Blood didn’t make it through the first few hours after hatching, and she spent years pining for a new one. So, she’s sitting right here, hoping her egg will hatch by maintaining it at a nice, toasty temperature.

 

Talking about dragons, because Vhagar is no longer bound to Laena, he may select a new rider at will. Rhaena or Aemond may form a relationship with her, allowing them to command the world’s largest living dragon—the one about which Tyrion Lannister said that a horse could run down its gullet. It’s the last living relic of Aegon I’s conquest of Westeros, and, amusingly enough, it’s the same dragon Laena asked Viserys about when she was a young girl strolling through the gardens with him while he considered proposing to her.

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Daemon’s path deviates significantly from what is described in Fire & Blood. About a year after the birth of his daughters, he and Laena go back to Driftmark.

The speech of Larys, “What are children but a weakness, a folly, a futility…” is as brilliant as anything spoken by Tyrion Lannister or Littlefinger. More works of this kind are desperately needed.

Lars tells Alicent why he did what he did and adds, “I feel convinced you will repay me when the time is perfect,” before picking a red flower. In our symbol-filled society, the flower must signify something, but what is it?

• Beetles are also used as a symbol by Larys and his cronies. Do their crawling motions and mud dwellings conceal something else? (Like the reader, Helaena Targaryen is fascinated by creepy crawlies.)

The same problems plaguing Westeros still exist a decade later. Despite this, episode six features a vastly improved plot, some real bite from the big characters, and a plethora of kids who could start gutting one other before they reach legal age. At this point, House of the Dragon is delivering the sleazy schemes and heinous misdeeds we’ve come to expect from George R. R. Martin’s nobles (those who survive to adulthood, that is).

Announcing Vulture’s brand new cultural podcast, Into It with Sam Sanders. CAUTION: IMPORTANT LISTENING REQUIRED

Beginnings and endings of “The Princess and the Queen” feature births. Aegon, the eldest son of Viserys and Alicent, the flaxen-haired terror, and the hyper-public masturbator, fills the area between the roasted eggs, the unhatched eggs, the gifted eggs, and the rest of the Ages. House of the Dragon doesn’t pull any punches, but it does capitalize on the metamorphic motherhood of rearing dragons by focusing on pregnancy and the offspring they produce.

 

Aegon was just a wee guy when we last saw him, tearing up his second name day party as his adoring babysitters gawked. Now an adult (played superbly by Ty Tennant, grandson of Doctor Who’s fifth Doctor Peter Davison, and stepson to Doctor Who’s tenth Doctor David Tennant), he is eager to spread his seed across the roofs of King’s Landing and to emotionally hurt his nephews and younger brother. The new Targaryen family is led by Aegon and includes his gentle and inquisitive sister Helaena (Evie Allen), their dragons and mocked brother Aemond (Leo Ashton, who displays admirable restraint in the role), and Rhaenyra’s curiously brunette, bruiser sons Jacaerys (Leo Hart), also known as Jace, and Lucerys (Leo Hart), also known as Luke (Harvey Sadler). There is a lot of potential for royal strife within the crew.

 

One of the show’s defining characteristics was the prominence of fascinating kid characters who were tossed about by the story’s currents, whose lives were upended by forces beyond their control and subsequently propelled in directions they hadn’t anticipated. The authors were just as forgiving with their characters’ maturation as they were with the adults; the adults in the Stark family may have treated Arya like a naive little girl in season one, but the writers never did. Mycah the butcher’s son is killed off the King’s Road in the second episode after Arya punches Joffrey and things spiral out of hand, establishing early on that the stakes for child’s play were high in Game of Thrones. When it comes to the youngest Targaryens, House of the Dragon takes a similar tack: the trick the others perform on Aemon, in which they bring out a pig with wings to welcome him in the dragon pit, is reminiscent of playground bullying, but its repercussions are far more serious. Later, Alicent (now portrayed by the brilliant Olivia Cooke) yells in Aegon’s face that he and Aemond need to stay united since Jace and Luke are their enemies in the struggle for the kingdom. Aegon, though, is provoking his brother into a dangerous rage. The decay of a royal family can be imagined when the brother turns against his brother.

And then there’s the action on the practice yard. Ser Cristan Cole, who is now a close friend of Queen Alicent and is even prepared to utter the c-word in front of Her Majesty, has a vested interest in the eldest of Queen Alicent’s sons, Aegon. Any offspring of Rhaenyra, “a spider who stings and sucks her victims dry,” is unworthy of the Iron Throne, in his eyes. (Jealousy of his ex might give him the push he needs.) Because of this, when the young boys battle with wooden swords, Cristan is more concerned with cheering on and training the twins than with watching over his nephews. Ironically, this puts him in the same situation as Joffrey Monmouth in the previous episode: on the ground with his face virtually squashed by a man considerably stronger than he is. This duel between Harwin and Cristan is a microcosm of the broader strategy unfolding in King’s Landing. At first, it appears to be a fight between two well-matched youths (though Jace does make a notable counterattack after Aegon has the upper hand). Viserys may insist that Rhaenyra and her children have a secure claim to the throne, but Alicent now has a fresh argument to use in his campaign to have Aegon installed as king thanks to suspicions about the children’s paternity.

Emma D’Arcy deserves much acclaim for her performance as the mature Rhaenyra; her first scene onstage is a moaning, squishy-sounding labor and delivery, and D’Arcy does a fantastic job of keeping the melodrama to a minimum. There’s no mistaking that this Rhaenyra is a more assured and self-assured version of the bride from a decade ago. She understands when to back down and when to reassert her authority over party boy Laenor with the flick of a tongue. Despite my skepticism that a woman could walk across the castle so soon after giving birth without drugs, D’Arcy does grit well and even made the placenta’s splashy arrival a real event. (The whole thing strangely reminded me of when Kate Middleton had to be marched out of the hospital and pose for a picture call hours after giving birth to the future king of England, although with the help of a glam squad and modern medicine.)

In this episode, the knowledge that Harwin Strong is the biological father of Jace, Luke, and baby Joffrey was the proverbial elephant in the room. Rhaenyra and Laenor swore to try to have their heirs at the very least, but something went wrong on the way since Jace, Luke, and Joffrey all inherit their dads’ dark brown hair. Alicent, looking perplexed, says, “Do keep trying, Ser Laenor.” You may have one that is a replica of yourself eventually, they said. If Punnett squares have the same effect on Westerosi DNA, then Rhaenyra’s offspring have an even more significant hair color problem than Cersei Lannister. The young Velaryon/Targaryens are entitled to inherit their parents’ silver hair. None of Laenor’s three “children” have inherited a single trait from him, and the court can see that. This proves that the hideous racial assaults on the casting of House of the Dragon were always ridiculous, but now much more so. (In a bizarre aside, Alicent says, “it’s a miracle their eggs even hatched.’) However, the boys’ Targaryen paternity is more than enough to guarantee that dragon blood flows through their veins.

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Daemon and Laena (Nanna Blondell) are now on Essos, where they are anticipating the arrival of their third child, a baby Targaryen. Both Baela (Shani Smethurst) and Rhaena (a morose Eva Ossei-Gerning) were born and raised during their parents’ long years as guests of the Pentoshi prince Reggio Haris. Professor Daemon now spends his days reading by the fireplace and putting on air shows featuring dragons fighting each other for pleasure. His new brooding demeanor complements his good looks; Laena may think he’s sad because he can’t woo his niece and murder recklessly anymore, but he’s looking rather dashing. His hair has already started to grow back in!

 

A single episode is all it takes for this happy family to fall apart. Remarkably, Laena’s death via dracarys is the first time a dragon has shown mercy on its rider by willingly putting them out of their misery before they succumb to the septic shock and infection that are sure to follow. But once again, we can only hope that House of the Dragon slows down its pace so that we may get to know these individuals, lament their losses, and feel more for their left-behind offspring. After Laena’s death, the futures of Baela and Rhaena are uncertain. Daemon plans to remain in Essos with their dragons to help the Pentoshi defeat the Triarchy, which had strengthened their authority through an alliance with Dorne. Laena desired a return to Driftmark so that she could bring up her children near her hometown and establish a more permanent base of operations there. Her death, though, may cause Daemon’s newfound rage to cause him to demand the impossible.

Not only does Laena die in this episode, but so do a few others. The scandal surrounding Harwin’s connection with Rhaenyra has resulted in him losing his job as Commander of the City Watch, and now his father has insisted that he go to their family seat at Harrenhal. The last thing we see of him is smashing his shoulder into a wooden door of the castle as he tries to release his father from the raging blaze. The dragon Balerion burnt Harren and his sons to death in Harrenhal, making the fortress cursed before Aegon Targaryen ever arrived in Westeros to begin his conquest. The subsequent generations of its previous inhabitants have all perished.

However, another Strong, Harwin’s sly younger brother Larys, was behind the arson. He claimed to have been following secret orders from their adoring queen, Alicent. Fratricide for political benefit is just the sort of tasty blood feud we’re hoping to see in Westeros; the means Larys employs only serve to heighten the gore. (Those arsonists had their mouths cut out so they can’t confess.) If only we could have seen them together, we could have a clearer idea of how one brother can become a powerful and honorable man, while the other stays in the shadows and tries to whisper in the noble’s ear.

Although Alicent is shocked by the news of Lyonel Strong’s death, she may finally obtain her wish: her father may return to King’s Landing and resume his position as King’s Hand. There are a large number of individuals now in transit. While Daemon may be crossing the Narrow Seas, Rhaenyra is leaving for Dragonstone to protect her loved ones, and we can only hope that this story is finally given the space it deserves.

Originating with ravens

House of the Dragon’s male protagonist, despite growing increasingly ill, stubbornly refuses to give up hope for survival, which is just as shocking as Game of Thrones’s appalling decision to murder its crucial character, Ned Stark, before the conclusion of the first season. Just as he is losing control of his empire, his body is wasting away as a result of his strength. Viserys’s blindness is playing havoc because he can’t let go of the hope that one day his family would have their after-school special conversion and turn towards each other with love and acceptance.

At the council meeting, Rhaenyra proposes a betrothal between Jaecerys and Helaena and also gives Aemond a dragon egg from Syrax. Whether one or both are approved is something we have to find out.

 

The lone Targaryen kid without a dragon isn’t named Aemond; there are others. Rhaena’s first dragon in Fire & Blood didn’t make it through the first few hours after hatching, and she spent years pining for a new one. So, she’s sitting right here, hoping her egg will hatch by maintaining it at a nice, toasty temperature.

Talking about dragons, because Vhagar is no longer bound to Laena, he may select a new rider at will. Rhaena or Aemond may form a relationship with her, allowing them to command the world’s largest living dragon—the one about which Tyrion Lannister said that a horse could run down its gullet. It’s the last living relic of Aegon I’s conquest of Westeros, and, amusingly enough, it’s the same dragon Laena asked Viserys about when she was a young girl strolling through the gardens with him while he considered proposing to her.

Daemon’s path deviates significantly from what is described in Fire & Blood. About a year after the birth of his daughters, he and Laena go back to Driftmark.

Te speech of Larys, “What are children but a weakness, a folly, a futility…” is as brilliant as anything spoken by Tyrion Lannister or Littlefinger. More works of this kind are desperately needed.

Lars tells Alicent why he did what he did and adds, “I feel convinced you will repay me when the time is perfect,” before picking a red flower. In our symbol-filled society, the flower must signify something, but what is it?

• Beetles are also used as a symbol by Larys and his cronies. Do their crawling motions and mud dwellings conceal something else? (Like the reader, Helaena Targaryen is fascinated by creepy crawlies.

 

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