"House of the Dragon" reminds us that hell hath no fury like an ex-best friend scorned
Ten years after "House of the Dragon" established where George R.R. Martin's tradition of terrible wedding feasts likely began, Rhaenyra and Alicent have matured into their roles as adult royals – except where it comes to the latter's ability to forgive youthful transgressions.
The sixth episode demonstrates this when Alicent (now played by Olivia Cooke) demands an audience with Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) moments after she's given birth to her youngest son.
Rhaenyra remains the named heir to the Iron Throne, but Alicent is the queen, giving her the higher hand in this card game.
Alicent also has experienced the enormous pain and distress of childbirth, which means she knows precisely what she's asking of Rhaenyra, who can neither refuse her queen's command nor show frailty while walking the long distance between her bed chamber and that of Alicent and Rhaenyra's father King Viserys (Paddy Considine).
Rhaenyra stands, painfully passing the afterbirth moments after their handmaids tie her into her gown, and leans heavily on her husband, Ser Laenor Velayron (John Macmillan), as she limps her way to the queen and king, clenching her teeth even harder than she holds her newborn.
When she finally gets to her destination, the queen pretends to be shocked to see Rhaenyra out of bed so soon after her labors, but both women know what's going on here.
"The Princess and the Queen" is an early example of the ways that "House of the Dragon" is trying to learn from and improve upon the sins of its predecessor by the simple fact that it calls on a woman, Sara Hess, to tell a painfully difficult story about female friends who become enemies.