House of the Dragon‘s mid-season episode was the beginning of the end in a lot of ways. Having committed to marrying Laenor Velaryon last week, Rhaenyra’s royal wedding looms — and we all know how weddings in Westeros go. Here’s what you missed in House of the Dragon Episode 5 ‘We Light The Way’.
This article contains full spoilers for House of the Dragon. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch Episodes 1-5 over on Binge now.
House of the Dragon Episode 5: Plot Recap
House of the Dragon Episode 5 begins by introducing us to a character we’ve only heard about, Lady Rhea Royce, aka Daemon Targaryen’s wife.
She is anything but what Daemon has described her as, and is actually a prolific hunter. When Rhea comes across her husband, disguised in a cloak in the countryside, it’s clear the disdain is mutual. Daemon spooks Rhea’s horse, causing it to fall on her, rendering her immobile.
He’s ready to leave her there, until Rhea taunts him with “I knew you couldn’t finish”. Daemon ominously picks up a rock. Don’t go getting attached in Game of Thrones, folks.
In Westeros, we see the ramifications of Viserys’ dismissal of Otto Hightower, who has one last heated discussion with his daughter before he skips town. Otto drops a dire warning: when the king dies Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne will be challenged and in order to legitimise it she will need to eliminate any challengers — including Alicent’s children.
As Alicent grieves her father’s departure she is approached by a new snake in the villa, Larys Strong. Larys tactically reveals to Alicent that Rhaenyra is “unwell” and that the Grand Maester had to deliver her a “special tea”. Alicent knows exactly what that tea means and now realises Rhaenyra lied to her.
King Viserys is travelling with his new hand, Lyonel Strong, and Rhaenyra to Driftmark, ready to bring their marriage proposal to the Velaryons.
Viserys is taken to meet with Corlys Velaryon and also reunites with his cousin Rhaenys. It’s clear throughout this conversation that the king isn’t doing so well; he’s coughing, sweating and unsteady. People notice.
Corlys reveals to Viserys that Daemon’s wife Rhea has died in a suspicious “hunting accident”. Viserys changes the subject by bringing up his proposal of marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor.
Corlys wants the matter of lineage to be clear, but Viserys isn’t about to let the Targaryen dynasty end. So they agree that when they’re born Laenor and Rhaenyra’s children will take the name Velaryon, but when they ascend the throne they will be Targaryens.
Meanwhile, Laenor and Rhaenyra are coming to their own compromise. They agree to a marriage of convenience; they’ll do their duty and produce heirs but keep their own lovers on the side.
Hmm, this sounds familiar.
— depression (@raccoonmum) September 19, 2022
Corlys and Rhaenys discuss the coming marriage, acknowledging the dangerous times to come when Rhaenyra’s claim will undoubtedly be challenged. Luckily, House Velaryon is rich and has a navy, so they’ll be right.
It’s not long until we meet Laenor’s secret lover, a knight named Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. Rhaenyra is also having words with her paramour, Criston Cole.
Criston has grand ideas of running away with Rhaenyra, asking her to leave her royal duties and marry him in the free cities. But Rhaenyra’s not just going to give up being queen for a man, this is bigger than them. She reveals the agreement she and her betrothed have come to which would allow her and Criston to continue their affair, but he’s a man of honour and it’s been eating at him that he’s broken his vow.
Upon their return, Alicent summons Criston to her chambers. She was hoping to get out of the knight whether Rhaenyra had in fact lied to her and slept with Daemon in the previous episode, but instead, Criston confesses that it was he who had sex with the princess. Regardless, Rhaenyra still lied to her friend and it was that lie that cost Otto Hightower’s position as Hand. Criston begs the queen to sentence him to death so he doesn’t have to bear the guilt any longer, but she allows him to leave.
Viserys is really not doing so hot. As he lies bedridden with some degenerative sickness, he questions his legacy with Lyonel, wondering if he’ll be remembered as a good king.
All the royal guests are arriving for the wedding, including Jason Lannister, who only reiterates the fact that the Lannisters really have sucked for generations. His misogynistic comments warrant a traditional Targaryen smirk from Viserys and Rhaenyra.
— Matt (@m_ttt21) September 19, 2022
Lady Rhea’s cousin, Gerold, is also at the wedding and approaches the king to voice his suspicions that Rhea’s death wasn’t an accident. He’s interrupted by the arrival of the Velaryons, and the arrival of Daemon.
Another late arrival is the queen, who interrupts the king’s welcome speech in a stunning green dress that is apparently the Hightower symbol for war. Yikes.
A dance begins and suddenly it’s like an episode of The Bachelor.
Joffrey is eyeing off Laenor who is dancing with Rhaenyra who is being watched by Criston Cole who is also being watched by Joffrey as he puts together that Criston is Rhaenyra’s secret lover. Alicent approaches her uncle who pledges the support of Oldtown to his queen. Gerold confronts Daemon about potentially murdering his cousin, which he shuts down in true Daemon style by threatening to claim his late wife’s inheritance.
Joffrey approaches Ser Criston and reveals he knows about his affair with the princess. He suggests they keep their secrets to themselves for all their sakes, but the fact his sin is becoming well-known doesn’t sit well with Criston.
Then Daemon decides to make his presence known on the dance floor by flirting with both Laena Velaryon and his niece. At this point, Rhaenyra is well and truly up for the game and invites Daemon to steal her away and marry her himself before the wedding commences, which results in them almost kissing right there in front of the king.
However, it’s only a matter of time before they’re interrupted by a fight and suddenly Criston is absolutely pummelling Joffrey to a pulp. I don’t quite know how we got here, but we did.
— ✨Damaris✨ (@this_damaris) September 19, 2022
Harwin Strong rescues Rhaenyra from the crush of the crowd as Laenor weeps over his lover’s dead body. Weddings, amirite?
Joffrey’s blood is literally still on the floor but the show must go on and they end up having the wedding in the hall afterwards with only the immediate family present. The king barely makes it through the vows before he collapses.
Criston Cole meanwhile is ready to fall on his sword, but he’s stopped by Alicent, signalling an alliance to come.
House of the Dragon Episode 5: Easter (dragon) eggs
House of the Dragon Episode 5 gave us a night to remember. Here’s what you might have missed amongst the chaos:
- Alicent’s green dress is symbolic of the two sides in the Dance of Dragons, which sees the kingdom divided between the “greens” and the “blacks”.
- You’ll notice that Rhaenyra was saved by our boy Ryan Corr (aka Harwin Strong) in this episode. He’s also known as Ser Harwin “Breakbones” and really proved it by cutting through that wedding crowd like they were nothing.
- When the Velaryons arrive at King’s Landing we get a look at two dragons, Seasmoke (ridden by Laenor) and Meleys (ridden by Rhaenys).
- The rat drinking Joffrey’s blood at the wedding is symbolic of some characters to come, but we won’t spoil it for you here.
- Episode 5 was the last time we’ll see Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra and Alicent before the massive time jump next week. Forget the queen’s funeral, I’m mourning the loss of these two.
Lastly, as you may have noticed the memes for House of the Dragon are truly unmatched. Here’s one for the road.
this dumb bitch only fucked rhaenyra once and thought he had done so well that she would give up her crown and birthright, i wish i had his self esteem and thought so highly of myself#houseofthedragon pic.twitter.com/iXDwBzNIPO
— eleanor, daemon’s niece (@stormdnerys) September 19, 2022
If you missed last week’s recap you can find that here.
House of the Dragon airs weekly on Mondays at 11:00 am AEST on Binge.
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