House of the Dragon: the guide to understanding THIS choice between episode 5 and 6
Starting its second half of the season, House of the Dragon has gone for a (big) timeskip. But what happened between episode 5 and 6? SPOILERS (obviously)!
With its excellent episode 6, House of the Dragon began an important pivot. If previous episodes have already played with ellipses, the second half of season 1 went much further, starting ten years after the events of episode 5. For the occasion, several characters have changed actors, starting with Rhaenyra (now played by Emma D'Arcy) and Alicent (played by Olivia Cooke).
In a clever way, the spectator is led to reconstitute certain pieces of the puzzle in the face of all this off-screen which has a few surprises in store for him. On occasion, we still thought of a little guide to set the record straight.Rhaenyra's Lover
From the announcement of the marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon, the two allowed themselves to have an open (but discreet) love life, especially in view of Laenor's homosexuality, more or less known throughout the kingdom. Therefore, we understand with episode 6 that Rhaenyra has for several years an affair with Ser Harwin Fort (or Strong in English), seen in the first episodes, and meanwhile become the Commander of the King's Landing Watch.
His father is none other than Lyonel Strong, the King's Hand. But above all, Harwin is the biological father of Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon (well, technically Velaryon), which is a bit obvious, considering that the two children don't have the white hair so characteristic of Velaryon. The situation is an open secret in King's Landing, but Alicent finds a way to react… with violence.
After killing his wife Rhea Royce in Episode 5, Daemon found himself free to remarry. As he could not try his luck with Rhaenyra again in view of his hasty marriage, the venomous Targaryen turned to House Velaryon, in order to ensure a good political and financial alliance.
And as Daemon knows how to choose his prey, we could see him flirt from episode 5 Laena, daughter of Corlys and Rhaenys Valeyrion. Obviously, this strategy has paid off, since we find them married in episode 6, and living in the city of Pentos. They also have two daughters, Baela and Rhaena. In any case, the age of the children (about nine years old) suggests that Daemon and Laena's wedding took place shortly after episode 5, much to the chagrin of Matt Smith's groupies.
Viserys and Alicent had a third child
If the eldest son of Viserys and Alicent, Aegon, will have a capital importance in the events of the Dance of the Dragons, we must not underestimate the place that will take the youngest of the siblings, Aemond. Until episode 5, we discover that Alicent has already given birth twice (to Aegon and her daughter Helaena).
Aemond is therefore born in full during the timeskip between episode 5 and 6, and if we are to believe the books of George R.R. Martin, Alicent and Viserys should have another child, Daeron (thanks for the names that look alike, it helps to navigate…) very soon.
And Ser Criston in all this?
Ser Criston Cole is one of the coolest characters in House of the Dragon. In a handful of episodes, he managed to become the perfect antithesis of Jaime Lannister. Where the regicide has long been perceived as a detestable being, whom we have learned to love in the light of his flaws and his vulnerability, Criston was immediately one of the favorite protagonists of House of the Dragon, before becoming the perfect asshole who can't get over his ex.
Following his sex with Rhaenyra, and the feeling of betrayal he felt when she refused to flee with him, Criston changed sides, and became Alicent's protector. This one obviously saved him after the wedding episode (where he turned another man's head into red fruit compote).
The knight seems to be particularly consumed by bitterness, so much so that he neglects or mistreats the children of Rhaenyra. We wish him all the misfortune in the world… even if deep down, we know that he will be of great importance in the rest of the events.