House of the Dragon showrunner shares regret over heartbreaking episode 6 death

House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal has shared his regret over a death that took place in the latest episode.

The sixth episode of the Game of Thrones prequel aired on Sunday (25 September), and moved the story on in drastic fashion.

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

Not only did the instalment, titled “The Princess and the Queen”, see Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Vooke make their debuts as the adult version of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, but it saw the death of three important characters.

One death in particular left viewers feeling emotional: Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell).

Leana is the daughter of Steve Toussaint’s Corlys. It’s revealed in this episode that, in the 10 years that have passed since events in episode five, she married Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).

The pair have two children, with a third on the way. However, due to a complication during the birth, her life is left in danger, and the episode sees her ordering her huge dragon, Vhagar, to burn her alive.

Speaking about this death scene with Variety, Condal said: “Laena’s a valkyrie. She’s a dragon rider. We met that little girl back in episode two; that little girl went on a couple years later to claim the biggest dragon in the world. It felt like she wouldn’t want to go out the way that the history book said.”

Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) in ‘House of the Dragon’ (HBO)
Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) in ‘House of the Dragon’ (HBO)

However, Condal acknowledged a regret regarding the scene, adding: “Unfortunately, because of the nature of the season and the storytelling, we didn’t get to spend as much time as I think we would have preferred to with Laena.

“We had to keep the story moving. So we wanted to give her a memorable out that felt active and in her character.”

He added: “Even though we’re only with Nanna Blondell’s portrayal of her for a very brief time, within that moment, it tells you a lot about who Laena is and was.”

Condal also addressed whether fans would see Milly Alcock reprise the role of a young Rhaenyra in flashback scenes.

Elsewhere in the episode, which also featured the debut of David Tennant’s son, saw the emergence of a villain, which caused viewers to draw big comparisons to Game of Thrones’ most scheming character.

House of the Dragon continues every Sunday in the US on HBO at 9pm. The episode is simulcast on Monday mornings in the UK on NOW, and is shown again at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

Find the biggest talking points from Hosue of the Dragon episode six here.