No, it’s not the record for most deaths in an episode.
The sixth episode of House of the Dragon is titled “The Princess and the Queen,” and it begins in a tense and terrifying tone. After a time leap of 10 years, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is now an adult and is in the latter stages of giving birth to her child.
An attendant tells her just after she gives birth to her third son that Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) wants to meet the kid. This happens very immediately after birth. Rhaenyra, who is joined by her husband, Laenor Velaryon, must then make their way through the palace in a laborious and arduous manner from that point on (John Macmillan).
The scene lasts for more than five minutes, beginning with Rhaenyra giving birth and concluding with Rhaenyra and Laenor entering Alicent’s apartments. The scene is filmed in two continuous takes, which adds to the suspense and makes it more interesting to watch. The illusion of continuous tracking shots keeps us engaged from the very beginning of the scenario, despite the fact that there are probably some concealed cuts scattered throughout the action.
They are the longest takes ever used in an episode of Game of Thrones, clocking in at well over two and a half minutes each. As a point of reference, the longest tracking shots in Game of Thrones include an introduction to Mole Town that lasts for two minutes and 15 seconds in Season 4, episode 8, “The Mountain and the Viper;” two sequences that last for one and a half minutes each and follow Arya Stark as she travels through a burning King’s Landing in Season 8, episode 5, “The Bells;” and a prelude to the Battle of Winterfell that lasts for one minute and airs prior to the Miguel Sapochnik, who directed “The Princess and the Queen,” is responsible for several of these extended takes that occur in episodes that he has directed.
In addition to being technically amazing and setting records for the duration, the tracking shots in House of the Dragon also have a lot of thematic importance. In the context of the world of Game of Thrones, a lengthy tracking shot almost always indicates that a battle is about to take place.
The majority of Game of Thrones’ longest single takes occur either immediately before or during major conflicts, such as the Battle of Castle Black or the Battle of the Bastards.
The opening montage of “The Princess and the Queen” shows combat, even though no swords are wielded throughout Rhaenyra’s labour and delivery. In the first episode, Queen Aemma, played by Sian Brooke, declares that “the childbed is our battlefield.” The uninterrupted reading serves to put more emphasis on that point.
Rhaenyra is suffering through the pain of childbirth just like her mother did before her in order to fulfil her duty to the kingdom and bring more Targaryen offspring into the world.
Another disagreement may be found in this scenario as well. Already, Rhaenyra and Alicent are engaging in a war of wills, which can be seen by everyone. Already, we can see how Alicent works to bring Rhaenyra down, but Rhaenyra stubbornly refuses to let Alicent have the joy of watching her crumble under Alicent’s pressure.
In spite of the fact that these scenes do not include any heroic deaths of brave warriors, anguish is still being inflicted upon the characters. Rhaenyra leaves a tangible trail of blood behind her as she travels through the Red Keep. I wish you the best of success in banishing that terrifying picture from your mind.
The beginning of “The Princess and the Queen” has a lot of great qualities, and one of them is the conceptual undertones that are embedded inside these scenes. Because the shots are not broken up, we are able to view the entirety of the Red Keep in all of its splendour.
In addition, Sapochnik makes certain that the camera is focused on Rhaenyra for the entirety of the action. This allows the audience to observe Rhaenyra’s agony, rage, and humiliation as they occur in real-time. This is our first time seeing D’Arcy’s interpretation of Rhaenyra, and thus far, they have impressed us with a performance that is a commanding combination of strong emotion and regal control. When it comes to beginning the second half of the first season of House of the Dragon, the show could not have done much better than what they did here to start things off.