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‘House of The Dragon’ Episode 5: Ruined By the Ending

5 Minute Read
Sep 19 2022
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House of The Dragon Episode 5 gives us a good set that’s undermined by its ending.

House of The Dragon Episode 4 was the best bit of the show so far. Episode 5 delves into the aftermath, personal and political, of the previous episode’s events. We get some major developments and several characters make choices that will set them on their paths going forward. And yet all the good in the episode is ruined by a horrible ending.

***BEWARE, HERE BE SPOILERS***

Murder in the Vale

We start off in the Vale. Rhea Royce, Daemon‘s wife, is out hunting. Coming home, she runs into Daemon, who has returned to the Vale. Then he murders her. It’s slightly ambiguous if he was always planning to kill her or not, but he does, and that’s what matters.

In the book, he’s not directly tied to her murder. So far indeed, Daemon’s actions have been pretty ambiguous and his motives unclear. He’s been accused of things, but none have really been shown. Now we have a pretty clear shot of Daemon doing something unambiguously evil. I’m not sure I really like that.

House of The Dragon Episode 5 Takes Us to Driftmark

Courtesy of HBO Max

The meat of House of The Dragon episode 5 deals with the royal court visiting Driftmark. Viserys, Rhanerya, and the new Hand Lyonel Strong travel to visit the Sea Snake on the Isle of Driftmark. The king pitches a royal wedding between Rhanerya and Corlys’ son Laenor. He confirms that Rhanerya will remain heir and their children will take the throne after her. This wins over the Sea Snake. However, Rhaenys Targaryen, Corlys’ wife, is not so convinced. She would rather stay out of the game.

Meanwhile, Rhanerya and Laenor have a heart-to-heart. They acknowledge that the marriage is going to be a political one.  Rhanerya tells Laenor that she knows he prefers men, in particular Joffrey Lonmouth. But she’s totally cool with it. She also loves someone else. 

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The two agree to do their duty but also be free to love and sleep with whomever they want. This seems to warm them both to the idea of the marriage, and with the families onboard, all seems good to go. 

Farewells

While this is going on, there is some drama back at the Red Keep. Otto Hightower, having lost his position in the last episode, is leaving town. He bids his daughter Queen Alicent goodbye and gives her a final warning. She must move against Rhanerya and establish her son Aegon as the heir.

Alicent is against this, but Otto points out that Rhanerya will never be secure on her throne as long as Aegon is alive. This seems to shock Alicent, but she doesn’t argue with it. Later, Larys Strong tells her about the Moontea from the last episode, which leads Alicent to think that Rhanerya has been lying to her.

It’s not the only turning point either. On the ship heading back to King’s Landing, Criston Cole makes his move. He asks Rhanerya to run off with him. In Essos they can be free and together, and she can escape her responsibilities.

Rhanerya says she can’t. She is the Crown and has her duty. But it’s okay, because she and Cole can carry on their tryst. Cole won’t have any of this – he threw away his oath for her and is unwilling to be her side piece.  After getting home he accidentally confesses everything to Alicent when she tries to question him about Rhanerya and Daemon. 

Wedding Time

Everyone shows up in King’s Landing for the big royal wedding. It’s supposed to be 7 days of feasting followed by a wedding. There is some tension as a couple of guests arrive late. First, Daemon shows up. Then, Alicent shows up in a green statement dress showing her allegiance to her family. The party then gets going.

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During the dancing, Joffrey Lonmouth tells Cole he knows about him and Rhanerya, but they will keep each other’s secrets. Daemon and Rhanerya also have a conversation where she goads him to carry her off, but he doesn’t. A fight breaks out at the back of the hall – Cole has lost it and beats Lonmouth to death in the middle of the floor. He runs off to the Godswood to kill himself, but the Queen stops him. The episode ends with a quick, private wedding between Rhanerya and a devastated Laenor.  

Some Thoughts on House of The Dragon Episode 5

Courtesy of HBO Max

 The middle part of this episode was fine. There was some good setup, and we got some reasoning between the fallouts between Rhanerya and both Cole and Alicent. But the ending really undermined the plot. This was an ending that just… didn’t make much sense to me.

Cole’s killing of Lonmouth is just odd. He just kind of snaps and murders the guy in public in cold blood. Cole thinks his secret is already out at this point – the Queen knows, so it’s not like he was trying to cover it up. He just goes off on this guy he’s never met before. 

Courtesy of HBO Max

Even odder, no one tries to stop him. Everyone, other than Laenor, just kind of stand by and lets him beat a guy to death. After murdering a knight in cold blood, he’s just allowed to wander off alone in the keep. Worse, the Queen is allowed to go unescorted and confront this unhinged murderer. Where are the guards? The other Kingsguard? What’s going on here?
And why does this prompt the King to cancel all the rest of the parties? Why force the wedding to happen right away in a room in which his lover’s blood is still on the floor? I mean… this was all pretty dumb I think. Overall this was an ending worthy of Game of Thrones, but GoT Season 8.
Let us know what you thought about the episode, down in the comments! 

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