It’s time for the quirky recap of House of the Dragon with a big nod to the parent series Game of Thrones, where the festivities end each time in a bloodbath.
Please note, the following details the plot of episode 5 of the House of the Dragon series, available on OCS on demand. If you haven’t seen it yet, and don’t want to know anything about its content, then you are strongly recommended to stop reading this article now.
It starts as usual with the bloody credits. And we can already tell you that there will be blood!
We meet Lady Rhea in the Val, a pretty green area. She is Daemon’s wife and he has come to visit his loving wife whom he has described in previous episodes with so much tenderness and benevolence.
His visit is anything but cordial since he has come to get rid of her by murdering her and faking a hunting accident. He finishes the job with stones. House of the Dragon is up to date with the times and talks a lot about feminicides.
At sea, Viserys – who doesn’t have sea legs – gives in all his guts. We would have gladly done without the stage (to watch outside of mealtimes, therefore).
In Port-Réal, the weather is terrible. And Otto Hightower is about to leave the capital now that he has been removed from office. Alicent is sad to see her father go, but the two have an exchange that heralds a disturbing future. For him, the children of Alicent will be directly threatened by Rhaenyra who would like to secure her own descendants by eradicating that of Alicent. Good atmosphere to come between the two former best friends.
Down from his boat, Viserys is hardly in better shape. He is away to visit Lord Corlys in his stronghold of High Tide. The reception is icy since Corlys is not present on the steps of his castle to receive Viserys and his escort in good and due form.
In the gardens of the Red Keep, Alicent talks with Lord Larys who comes to distil his venom with Alicent by giving a demonstration in botany. Are all the amateur gardeners, who display their knowledge to neophytes, hiding a treacherous plan? We ask ourselves the question.
He comes to nourish the feeling of bitterness of Alicent following the departure of her father Otto Hightower while it is the father of Larys who has been named Hand of the King in his place. He comes to cuddle with her on Rhaenyra and reports that Grand Maester brought her tea the day after her crazy night out with Daemon, implying that he brought her the medieval version of the morning after pill.
Alicent immediately feels betrayed by Rhaenyra and her husband, King Viserys, even though Rhaenyra had sworn to her that she remained a virgin.
At High Tide, Corlys waits for Viserys enthroned. But he raises the affront by kneeling before Viserys as is customary. As for Rhaenys, she comes to welcome her cousin casually, completely ignoring his status.
On the spot, Viserys learns from the mouth of Corlys the death of Rhea, described as a hunting accident by Rhaenys. A surprising death for a woman so known for her skill on horseback and hunting. A few platitudes on the misfortunes of chance and we quickly come to the point: his inheritance which, in the absence of an heir, falls into Daemon’s pocket.
But Viserys is not a gossip man. If he made this long journey, emptying his guts, it was to propose the union between Laenor Velaryon (the son of Corlys and Rhaenys) and Rhaenyra in order to unite their strength and ensure the stability of the kingdom.
Scalded by their previous exchanges, Lord Corlys does not immediately jump for joy and begins negotiations directly. He wants the children of Rhaenyra and Laenor to bear their father’s name, Velaryon. We end up with the same debate that agitated an episode of The Crown where Prince Philippe did everything with Elizabeth II so that their children bear the name of Mountbatten. In vain.
Again, it will be in vain. Viserys grants that the children bear the name Velaryon at birth but imposes that the eldest, girl or boy, once on the throne take the name Targaryen. And one more snub for Lord Corlys who collects them! But he accepts anyway.
On High Tide Beach, Rhaenyra and Laenor also make a deal. Since they must accept this marriage of convenience, they agree to fulfill their duty – to have heirs – but to lead their sentimental life as they see fit outside of marriage. Laenor approves.
Lord Corlys and Rhaenys debrief together the exchange they have just had with Viserys and the outcome of the negotiations. One subject, however, worries them: Laenor who is not attracted to women. And Rhaenys fears that this union places her son in danger. The fine strategist has already measured all the challenges to come and sees the war of succession looming with Alicent’s offspring.
Shortly after her ride with Rheanyra, Laenor is reunited with her lover Ser Joffrey Lonmouth who takes the news of her marriage with enthusiasm unlike Laenor.
Do not leave me
On the return boat, Rhaenyra and Criston talk. At least, Criston launches into a monologue: a true declaration of love and the proposal, to say the least unusual, to drop everything to leave with him towards the setting sun. More down to earth, Rhaenyra replies that she has responsibilities and that her dream of leaving with Princess Charming will not come true.
She makes him a counter-proposal: that of continuing their relationship, but outside of marriage. Criston is devastated. Because by giving in to Rhaenyra’s advances, he lost his honor. The only way to repair his fault would be to marry the one he loves and so much the worse if she has to renounce all her duties. He leaves disappointed.
Back in Port-Réal, Viserys was in a sorry state. As Criston is ready to sulk in his corner, he is summoned by the Queen, Alicent. She always has it bad since the revelations of the snake Larys. She questions him about Rhaenyra’s virtue and that famous night when she slept with her darling uncle. Criston believes the Queen knows about Rhaenyra and he doesn’t understand that she is referring to Daemon. This is how he calls himself guilty, ready to self-flagellate now that he has been expelled. Alicent falls from the clouds. Criston is ready to go to the gallows, but she decides to spare him.
In his room, Viserys is pale as death and is being treated by the Grand Maester for his festering arm. He remains one-on-one with Lord Lyonel Strong, his new Hand. He worries about his legacy and the mark he will leave in history. Above all, he fears being forgotten.
It’s time for the princely wedding with long festivities. The entire Velaryon fleet docks at King’s Landing. Each house, starting with the Lannisters, is announced at the entrance to the ballroom. The party is in full swing, but one absence is greatly felt: that of the Queen.
One of the guests, Ser Gerold, comes to pay his respects and plead his cause after the death of Lady Rhea, his relative. But the Velaryon make a royal entrance to general applause. Criston, he sulks. The bride and groom greet each other and applause again.
Another makes his arrival, ostentatious although he is alone. It’s Daemon of course. He gets a seat at the end of the table. Viserys then begins his speech in front of this fine assembly of well-dressed people. But he is interrupted in his momentum by the arrival of Alicent, all dressed in green, which means war among the Hightowers.
She would have come with a knife between her teeth, it would have been the same. She congratulates Rhaenyra on her nuptials with bullets for eyes. Viserys resumes his speech but he has lost the thread a little. He announces seven days of tournaments and banquets that will conclude with the marriage of Rhaenyra and Laenor. And Daemon, too, sulks.
Comes the time of the dance. Rhaenyra and Laenor open the ball. And Uncle Daemon is rinsing his eye watching his niece dance. Criston is still just as upset. After this first dance, the crowd joins the dancefloor to the rhythm of percussion. Alicent prepares to leave the assembly but obtains the support of her uncle on the way.
Seeing Daemon installed at the royal table, Ser Gerold Royce – Lady Rhea’s cousin – comes to insult him and accuses him directly of the murder of the young woman. Accusation that Daemon receives with the greatest calm. He drives the point home by announcing that he inherits all the property of his late wife, which brings poor Gerold down.
On the dance floor, Daemon does his seduction number with the Velaryon girl, Laena. As for Joffrey, he confides in Laenor having spotted Rhaenyra’s lover, namely Criston who displays his bad mood. Which seems to reassure Laenor to know the secret of his future wife.
Joffrey then approaches Criston. Frankly, he reveals to Criston to be Laenor’s secret love, but also to know about Rhaenyra and him. Criston remains stoic but it’s bubbling inside.
Daemon leaves Laena to dance with his dear niece. He asks her if this marriage is really what she wants. But the discussion between the two turns between provocation and seduction, all in public. Daemon almost kisses Rhaenyra under the gaze of an outraged but passive Viserys.
Then cries of terror echo through the room, stopping the music and the festivities. The crowd stirs, Rhaenyra is knocked down. We see Laenor rushing at Criston who puts him down with a right. Then he continues what he started and caused all this commotion: he continues to punch Joffrey in the face.
Lord Lyonel sends his son, the colossal Harwin Strong, to bring order. He picks up Rhaenyra and evacuates her by carrying her on his shoulder. Meanwhile, out of control, Criston shreds Joffrey’s face to minced meat (literally). The King almost faints before all this mess and Laenor finds the lifeless body of his love.
End of the festivities. Laenor and Rhaenyra are married in the banquet hall itself, with the floor strewn with food and traces of blood. The newlyweds are not at the party, far from it, and pronounce their vows with a funeral head. (We understand them). At the same time, Criston goes to the gardens, ready to do harakiri. But he is stopped at the last second by Alicent.
Viserys faints just after the ceremony is over. The rats come to drink Joffrey’s blood that hasn’t had time to dry.