A Game of Thrones sure knew how to throw a good wedding, but the funerals were arguably less memorable. Could Lady Laena’s funeral in House of the Dragon – Episode 7 change that?
House of the Dragon – Episode 7: Driftmark
Well, there are dysfunctional families and then there’s the Targaryens. One doesn’t need to be a fly on the wall for long to see something is amiss with this lot. Alicent is eyeing Rhaenyra, Larys is eyeing Alicent, Rhaenyrna is eying Daemon (there’s always one overly touchy uncle at family gatherings, or so I’ve heard), and then there’s Ser Criston Cole and the children. Have you ever seen such silent hatred?
One could be forgiven for leaving now, before the drink starts flowing, but if you’re willing to stay a little longer and take a closer look, I’ll tell you what I liked about this funeral.
The feud between Rhaenyra and Alicent’s children set up in the previous episode continues to grow. Prince Aemond appears to make a faux pas when he claims the late Lady Laena’s dragon, Vhagar, before either of her daughters are given the opportunity. This isn’t any dragon, it’s the oldest and largest living dragon, an asset to whoever rides it.
This causes a violent fight to break out between Aemond and his cousins in which Lucerys, Rhaenyra’s middle son, blinds Aemond in one eye. This leads to an all-to-public fallout. Viserys is unable to check everyone’s anger, and soon the family skeletons are bounding out of the closet for all to see–namely that Ser Laenor Velaryon is not the father of Rhaenyra’s children.
The scene is wonderfully tense, as all families present have something to lose. Alicent even draws Rhaenyra’s blood. Watching this unfold, you get a sense that the public display cannot be undone.
A Joining of Forces
Otto Hightower, the hand of the king once more, both reprimands and compliments Alicent’s actions. She has stirred divide in House Targaryen. Moreover, she’s shown her teeth. Otto now believes she has what it takes to play the game of thrones. And Vhagar belonging to House Hightower is worth losing an eye for.
Rhaenynra has a tender moment with Laenor, who eventually flees the seven kingdoms to be with his lover. How does this help Rhaenyra? Well, it allows her to marry her overly touchy uncle Daemon, of course. After some strategising, the pair get married in front of their bemused children.
How did Daemon break the news to his children? Sorry about your mum, girls, but now it’s time to marry my niece? And when someone asks Lucerys about his dad, how will he explain Laenor, Ser Harwin Strong and Daemon?
House of the Dragon – Episode 7 Final Thoughts
House of the Dragon has a habit of killing characters as quickly as they are introduced (see Ser Harwin Strong, for example). I would have liked to have bonded with the characters more before they departed. Also, the situation regarding Laenor’s escape was confusing. Was Daemon in on the escape or did he intend to kill Laenor? The speed of House of the Dragon keeps things entertaining at cost of clarity, which is why I’m unable to give it a 5/5 rating.
A deleted scene came to light recently in which, after the death of his wife, Daemon embraces his daughters instead of just walking away from them, as we saw in episode 6. This touching moment completely changes the viewer’s perception of Daemon’s character. Could there be more to him than ruthless ambition?
Criticisms aside, House of the Dragon continues to entertain and feels like it’s building toward something. I only wish it had the confidence to do so more leisurely, and I hope that something is worth the wait when it arrives.(4 / 5)
If you would like to learn more about House Targaryen, you can read their family history in George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Blood novel here: