Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Episode 7 of House of the Dragon Season 1 on HBO.
With the seventh episode, House of the Dragon picked up shortly after where Episode 6 left off, as the most important people of the Seven Kingdoms (many of whom being members of the Targaryen family tree) converged on Driftmark for Laena Velaryon’s funeral, after she chose to perish by dragon fire rather than die horribly in childbirth. As you would expect of an important event in the Game of Thrones universe that brings all of the major players together, it didn’t take long for pretty much everything to go sideways and set the stage for the chaos that is sure to come.
In fact, Laena didn’t even get much focus at her own funeral, as her uncle’s eulogy was a thinly-veiled tirade against Rhaenyra passing the Strong boys off as Velaryons. Rhaenyra and Daemon had sex on the beach, Aemond lost an eye after claiming Vhagar and then brawling with Rhaenyra's sons and Daemon’s daughters, Alicent snapped and tried to stab out Luke’s eye, only to slice Rhaenyra instead. Otto is back as Hand and not doing much for his daughter’s mental health and parenting abilities, while Viserys just wants everybody to get along.
Oh, and Daemon and Rhaenyra plotted to “kill” Laenor so that they could marry in a secret Valyrian blood ceremony on Dragonstone. House of the Dragon didn’t need a time jump to pack a whole lot into one hour, and there are some especially noteworthy points worth keeping in mind as Season 1 approaches its end. So, let’s start with where the episode ended: Laenor’s fate.
Laenor Is Out Of The Game
For any eagle-eyed viewers who noticed Daemon and Rhaenyra's Valyrian wedding in the trailers (or read Fire & Blood), Laenor seemed doomed to die young either from natural causes, a violent random encounter, or Daemon deciding to bump off another spouse who was in his way. Fortunately, Rhaenyra and Daemon got him out of their way without murdering him, with the help of his paramour Ser Qarl Correy. They elaborately faked his death and set him free to live openly across the Narrow Sea. For all intents and purposes, Laenor Velaryon is dead to his parents and sons, and no longer a player. (R.I.P. to the man Daemon killed to pass off as a burned-beyond-recognition Laenor.)
Rhaenyra Finally Has A Ride-Or-Die Ally
For ten years, it seems that Rhaenyra didn’t really have anybody she could count on as a public ally willing to act on her behalf. When Daemon returned, he wasted no time in aligning himself with Rhaenyra rather than Alicent, and his only objection to her marriage plan was that Laenor was in the way. Daemon is fiercely loyal to family, and with Daemon as Baela and Rhaena’s father, the marriage could help keep Corlys and Rhaenys Velaryon on Rhaenyra’s side. Plus, House of the Dragon has built Daemon and Rhaenyra’s relationship up as a romance – albeit a twisted and incestuous one – so the marriage isn’t just political, and she has a true ally.
Daemon Will Not Be King Consort
While marrying Daemon gives her a ride-or-die ally, it also seems that Rhaenyra is aware of the strings attached to bringing him closer to the throne when so many were relieved to have him disinherited back in the day. When she laid out her plan for them to marry, she specifically referred to him as her “husband and prince consort,” whereas the plan for Laenor was for him to have the title of “king consort.” Prince Daemon will be husband of the queen, but the only additional title that he’ll receive by marriage is “consort.”
Viserys Was Ready To Welcome Daemon Back
Apparently, ten years, a marriage outside of the family, and two kids were enough for Viserys to forgive what Daemon had done to get himself exiled for the second time. He wanted his brother to come home after the funeral, even though Daemon originally planned to take his daughters back to Pentos. I’m not sure that Viserys would have supported Rhaenyra marrying Daemon as a means to keep him in Westeros, but the king was ready for his rogue brother to come home.
Aemond Has Vhagar… And Probably A Grudge
In an extremely daring act, Aemond snuck out and claimed Vhagar when nobody was awake to stop him. While he survived his first ride on the biggest dragon in the world, things got bloody when he was confronted by Jacaerys, Lucerys, Baela, and Rhaena, the latter of whom had intended to claim her late mother’s dragon for herself. After a scuffle that escalated to include a rock and a knife, Luke sliced Aemond’s eye out to save Jace. Although Aemond later said that it was worth losing an eye to gain Vhagar, it seems safe to say that Luke might want to watch his back around his uncle.
Alicent Is Preparing Aegon To Usurp Rhaenyra
Alicent may believe that Rhaenyra is treasonous for passing Harwin Strong’s sons off as Laenor Velaryon’s, but it seems that she’s actively preparing Aegon to usurp his half sister, and Aemond is in on it. When the brothers were discussing Aegon’s upcoming marriage to their sister Helaena, Aemond said that she would be Aegon’s queen. With Otto back and Aegon boldly claiming that Rhaenyra’s boys were bastards in front of some of the most powerful people in the Seven Kingdoms, the “greens” are making plays for the throne.
Alicent Showed Her True Colors
No mother should be expected to completely keep her cool upon finding out that her young son had his eye sliced out, but Alicent truly snapped when she decided to go rogue, grab Viserys’ dagger, and go after Lucerys herself after nobody agreed with her proposal of an eye for an eye. Alicent even cut Rhaenyra – a.k.a. the heir to the throne – when she tried to stop the queen from stabbing her son in the face, and she realized later that she went much too far. Whether she can truly come back from her meltdown remains to be seen… and may depend on how much longer Viserys lives.
Viserys Is Looking Rough
Although House of the Dragon already delivered plenty of near-death moments for Viserys over the first six episodes, his poor health is showing worse than ever as of Episode 7, and not just because he’s thinning out on top and relying on a cane. Daemon’s return made it easy to compare the two brothers; even though HOTD never confirmed that the brothers are only four years apart like in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, Daemon looking young and healthy compared to Viserys looking ready for death’s door doesn’t bode well for the king’s survival. Plus, he called Alicent "Aemma."
Helaena Might Be A “Dreamer”
Helaena didn’t have a whole lot to do in Episode 7 other than make her brother/future husband want to chase other women, but Aemond gaining Vhagar and then losing an eye is interesting in light of something she said in Episode 6. After Aemond’s failed attempt to claim a dragon in King’s Landing last week, Alicent stopped yelling at him long enough to say that he “will have a dragon someday,” and Helaena dreamily said “he’ll have to close an eye” with the camera focusing on her. It seems like Alicent’s daughter may have the gift of prophecy.
- Apparently, bloody family melodrama is all fun and games for Daemon Targaryen to watch from the shadows until somebody pulls a dagger to cut out the eye of his nephew/great nephew/future stepson.
- If the whole “Rogue Prince” thing doesn’t work out for Daemon, he could make a fortune in marketing his secret to staying forever young compared to his brother.
- Why didn’t Alicent face some actual consequences for slicing up the heir to the throne after stealing a dagger from the king?
- Baela and Rhaena got quite a "Welcome to Westeros" in Episode 7.
- How much time actually passed between Rhaenyra and Daemon deciding to “kill” Laenor and their secret Dragonstone marriage? Luke's nose still appeared broken.
- Aemond may have lost an eye, but I think Rhaenyra's sons and Daemon's daughters might be scarred for life after watching their parents' secret blood ritual marriage.
- Aegon, Aemond, and Helaena all wore Hightower green while Jace and Luke wore Targaryen red and black. Joffrey was... somewhere?
See what comes next in new episodes of House of the Dragon on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO or streaming with an HBO Max subscription. Daemon and Rhaenyra’s marriage is bound to mix things up, especially with Viserys appearing to be barely clinging on to life. Aemond having Vhagar is a major asset for the greens; Aegon as their candidate for king seems like less of a win. As expected, the Targaryen family tree is seemingly about to get even more twisted if Aegon and Helaena marry and have kids, although George R.R. Martin has established why the Targaryens get away with so much incest in Westeros.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).