Each week, Tarek @tarek_wm will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon.
The Princess and the Queen takes us on a ten-year time jump from the insanity that ensued during the wedding last week. With a time jump comes recasting: Rhanerya is now played by Emma D’Arcy and Alicent by Olivia Cooke. The younger actresses Milly Alcock and Emily Carey CRUSHED it for the first five episodes. Without their greatness, this show isn’t as enthralling as it has grown to be. Thankfully we’re in capable hands with Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke the rest of the way.
We open with Rhanerya giving birth, trapped in a castle popping out heirs, a life that she swore she’d never have. Almost immediately the baby is taken away to Queen Alicent and King Viserys. Instead of handing the baby off to someone else, Rhanerya takes it upon herself to hand the baby to Alicent, afterbirth treatment be damned! You can see the agony on D’Arcy, she couldn’t be angrier and in more pain.
Laenor (now John Macmillan) notices how nonchalant Rhanerya is post-birth of his baby, that looks nothing like him. As they walk through the castle Ser Criston Cole is outside the door, Viserys and Alicent are inside waiting to meet the baby. Viserys is stoked to meet his grandson. Alicent has one look at the baby and her facial expression tells us everything we’ve suspected. No way Laenor is the father. They ask about the name and Laenor names him Joffery, after his dead lover who Criston mauled last week at the wedding. Before they leave, Alicent takes a jab at Laenor and says “Do keep trying, Ser Laenor. Sooner or later, you may get one who looks like you.”
This is when we meet their other kids, none of which look like Laenor at all. They have two pale sons with black hair, Jacaerys (Leo Hart) and Lucerys Valeryon (Harvey Sadler). On babysitting duty is Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), Commander of the City Watch and the oldest son of Lyonel Strong, the Hand of the King. Who (shocker) is the dark-haired fellow in question.
Jacaerys and Lucerys meet with Alicent and Viserys’ sons, Aegon II and Aemond Targaryen at the dragon pit. Of the four Aemond is the only one without a dragon, so they decide to gift him one, and out walks a pig with wings. Aemond is embarrassed and runs off. The next day the boys are combat training with Criston and Harwin. As training gets out of hand Harwin intervenes a little too strongly. The way a father would defend his sons, which isn’t suspicious at all with Viserys and Lyonel watching.
Once Lyonel and Harwin are alone he rips into his son while Rhanerya listens in. She knows everything is going to crash down over her family now that it’s obvious to everyone that Harwin is indeed the father of her children. Laenor would rather go fight a war in the Stepstones than stick by Rhanerya but she demands he stay.
At this point, we finally see what Daemon has been up to for a decade. He, his wife Laena Valeryon, and their two kids (with another on the way) are being courted by the Prince of Pentos. He proposes that Daemon lend them their dragons to the war against The Triachry and in return Daemon and his family will have a lavish life in the Pentos. Daemon agrees while Laena is skeptical. The old Daemon would have turned this into a massive argument. It seems that he and Laena are very much in love. So much so that Daemon says he’s ready to settle down in one place, and he doesn’t want to keep fighting for his place among the Targaryens. Laena wants to give birth and raise the baby in her home of Driftmark, this stresses Daemon and he’s found drunk on the roof.
In the Red Keep, there’s a small council meeting going on where of course the upcoming war isn’t spoken on. Instead, Rhanerya proposes that Alicent’s daughter Helaena should marry Jace, to unite their houses. Viserys was the only one who didn’t immediately scoff at this.
Lyonel then meets Viserys to step down as hand to the king. When Viserys asks for a reason Lyonel refuses to give one, Alicent presses him as well but Lyonel is steadfast in remaining quiet about his son’s relationship with Rhanerya. Since he doesn’t give a reason Viserys allows Lyonel to take Harwin with him to Harrenhal.
Lyonel’s other son Larys meets with Alicent later on to spill some tea about how Alicent still has no friends. Ya know the same conversation we watched her have with Rhanerya a decade ago? Perfectly normal until we see Larys and a group of prisoners on a mission which led to him ripping out some tongues. Seriously.
On Pentos Laena is giving birth and like his brother, Daemon is faced with saving his wife or the baby. He chooses Laena and she is sobbing as she walks onto the beach, drops to her knees and exclaims Dracarys. Her dragon doesn’t engulf her in flames until she screams it at him a couple more times as Daemon looks on.
In the Red Keep Rhanerya wants to take her family out of Kings Landing. Laenor is surprised but supports her decision. Amongst the departed are Lyonel and Harwin. They’re off to Harrenhal but they are flanked by Larys and his ragtag group of mercenaries. In the dead of night, Larys burns down where they were staying. He then tells Alicent what he’s done and she’s mortified but Larys says, “The queen makes a wish—what servant of the realm would not strive to fulfill it?”