Power-ranking the House of the Dragon characters after THAT big fire
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We've got the first hints at a new big baddie...
Hello and welcome (back) to our weekly power-ranking of the characters of the first season of House Of The Dragon.
Need a quick reminder on this 200-years-earlier prequel to Game Of Thrones? Click right here.
Each week, we'll be listing all of the major characters who have died - OUT! - as well as ranking them from the least likely to make it to the next episode, all the way up to who is the most likely to be ruling Westeros as we know it come the series' end.
So here we go, the power-ranking for the sixth episode of House Of The Dragon, titled The Princess and the Queen...
OUT! - Laena Valeryon (Nanna Blondell)
House Of The Dragon would really put you off having kids, wouldn't it? This is the second time that the series has killed off a character through the medium of child birth. And it is the second time we would have definitely enjoyed spending more time with these characters. King Viserys' first wife seemed pretty cool, and Laena was definitely all kinds of awesome, going around on the biggest dragon in the land.
But ultimately she'd rather be burned alive by that dragon that have the drawn-out death of a medieval caesarian. And with her, she took Daemon's third child.
OUT! - Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes)
The King's Hand wanted out, but the King was having none of it. He seemed like a nice enough guy, drawn into the drama of his eldest son having an affair with the Princess, and being the very-likely-father to her three kids. He tried to retire, the King refused, so he wanted to bring his son home to rule their keep.
Instead, his younger (and infinitely more devious) son killed them both, in order to get that step closer to some kind of power.
OUT! - Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr)
For a second there, we were sure that Harwin - known in the books as Breakbones, aka the strongest man in all of the Seven Kingdoms - was going to do to Ser Criston what Ser Criston had done to Ser Joffrey last week, aka turn his head into a boney paste.
Instead, he essentially outed himself as the Princess' secret lover/baby daddy, and was expelled from the King's Watch. And then got burned alive by his brother's henchmen. A bad time to be a Strong family member.
M.I.A. - Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) & Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best)
They weren't around this week, but with the death of their daughter Laena and the new birth of their son's third child (even though it isn't really his), we're sure they'll be back in the action before too long.
M.I.A. - Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans)
With the King's Hand suddenly murdered, and the Queen being blackmailed by his son/replacement, we imagine she'll soon call upon her father to help her out of this sticky situation.
NINE - The various Lords and Grand Maesters on the Council
There are some new, younger members of the King's Council, but the older ones can barely keep track of the topics they're covering. Time for some of these old fogeys to be taken around the back of the shed, if you know what we mean...
EIGHT - King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine)
Okay, hands up that when we clocked there was a TEN-YEAR gap between this episode and the previous one, we presumed that the King would've totally died off-screen during that time. The man was practically falling apart at the seams, so it was a surprise to see the (now balding, but notably not-as-ill) King still in the mix.
Having said that, the near-constant stresses of his wife/Queen and his daughter/Princess being constantly at each other's throats will likely be the thing to see him out. Although we've been saying that since the first episode and he's still around. Somehow.
SEVEN - All of those new kids from various couplings
Aegon, Jacaerys, Lucerys, Aemond, Helaena, Baela, Rhaena and the newly added Joffrey (who Ser Laenor named after his murdered lover). They're pretty much all in the firing line, as the Queen makes abundantly clear to the public masturbator that is her eldest son. Grim.
SIX - Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel)
Has there ever been such a 180 on a character's likability as this? He didn't get his way with the Princess, so he goes full-on troll incel, calling her the worst names imaginable behind her back. And then he provokes Ser Harwin into beating him up, right after he has the Princess' young son beaten up by the Queen's much-older son.
He's a complete and total douchebag, is what we're saying. He's still got great hair, though.
FIVE - Larys Strong (Matthew Needham)
Well well well... We predicted last week that Larys would prove to be this show's answer to Littlefinger, but it turns out he might actually be much worse that that. He had ZERO problem killing his own father and brother when he clocked they might prove too troublesome in his own path to power, and then immediately put the blame for their murder at the Queen's feet, using it as a way to blackmail her to help his ascension within the kingdom.
Plus, he's got the side-hustle of cutting the tongues out of death-row inmates and giving them their freedom... in exchange for being his secret mercenaries. He's a bad man, that Larys. And, weirdly, the series' first proper boo-hiss villain. For all the very evil things Daemon has done, we still kinda want to see him around, because he's so damned entertaining.
Could Larys end up being this season's big villain? Time will tell.
FOUR - Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan)
He seems fine with ignoring the fact that his three kids aren't actually his. He's drinking the wine and eating the food and has a new "secret" boyfriend (that everyone knows about) and is seemingly content. But the future is looking pretty dodgy for him.
For one, he's being dragged away from King's Landing to take up shop in Driftmark with his wife and kids (and secret boyfriend), and for two, he is drunkenly preparing to head into battle on dragon back as the troubles at Stepstones have returned. On the other hand, he does seem pretty handy in a fight, so maybe - hopefully! - he'll be alright.
THREE - Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith)
This week was maybe the LEAST amount of trouble that Daemon has gotten himself into in quite some time, which is ... an achievement, of sorts. Normally Daemon is a maelstrom of dramatics, but this week we see him mostly very happy with his wife and two kids, a third on the way, and an offer to start a new life by the Prince of Pentos, who offers them a lordship in exchange for an alliance against the Triarchy.
He seems content with the offer, but his wife wanted to return to their previous life and raise their children in her family home... right before she orders her own dragon to burn her alive. We imagine he'll end up following his wife's final wishes, which will lead him directly back into the path of trouble with his own family.
TWO - Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy)
After a truly horrendous beginning to the episode, in which she seemed to bleed out over every square inch of the castle, we see that Rhaenyra has finally noticed the walls closing in around her. She tries to get an escape route for her and her family by proposing a marriage between her son Jacaerys and the Queen's daughter Helaena (if our family tree math is correct, they're also nephew and auntie, so the incest vibe is still very much alive and kicking).
But the Queen is having none of it; she'd rather plough ahead with the nasty Prince Aegon as the one and only ruler, no matter the consequences. So off Rhaenyra goes to Dragonstone, putting some distance between her and the amassing enemies. But also putting some distance between her and the throne she is supposed to be the heir to.
ONE - Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke)
Wow, what a difference a decade makes. Any and all signs of weakness or naivety within the Queen have completely evaporated in the 10 years since she discovered the Princess' secret affair with Ser Criston. She's cruel enough to demand an audience of the Princess seconds after she has given birth, which might be enough for her to bleed out, die, not take the crown, and it pass directly to her own bloodline.
But this episode has proven even she isn't without blind spots, allowing herself to become outmanoeuvred by Larys Strong, who has essentially wormed his way into becoming the new King's Hand. He's clearly a dangerous man to make an enemy of, but the Queen isn't one to cower when backed into a corner, either...
House of the Dragon: Episode Seven - titled Driftmark - will be available to stream with a NOW Entertainment Membership from Monday, 3 October.
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