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House of the Dragon Episode 5 Review

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  • 4 min read

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House of the Dragon Episode 5: We Light the Way, brings about the marriage between Rhaenyra and Ser Leanor Valeryon. And keeping up with Game of thrones tradition, the wedding ends in death and disaster. 

Rhaenyra’s marriage To Laenor Velaryon should have been the quelling of all conflicts concerning the succession. Instead, it served as kindling that ignites the fire that would be called the dance of dragons. 

The Wedding that Starts it All

As an informal penance for snubbing house Velaryon (again), The episode kicks off with King Viserys sailing from King’s landing to Driftmark, to propose marriage between Laenor and Rhaenyra. 

I love how Lord Corlys seizes the opportunity to ensure that all children from his son’s marriage bear his last name rather than Targaryen. But Viserys, only agrees, on the condition that upon inheriting the throne, his grandchildren must bear the Targaryen name.

Like I said in my episode two review, on paper, a marriage between house Targaryen and House Velaryon makes perfect sense. But just like Leana’s marriage proposal to King Viserys, Rhaenyra’s engagement to Leanor also comes with its complications. 

Lord Corlys Velaryon and Lady Rhaenys Targaryen (House of the Dragon Episode 5)
Lord Corlys Velaryon and Lady Rhaenys Targaryen (Credit: HBO)

Though it’s clear they want power, Corlys and Rhaenys remain one of the few healthy relationships in the show. But as soon as their dealings with the King is done, the couple reveals that their son Leanor is gay and has no interest in women.  This presents the problem of how Rhaenyra (the future heir to the iron throne) plans on continuing her succession. And it’s for this reason that Rhaenys objects to the marriage, believing that it would put her only son in danger.

But Rhaenyra and her cousin come to an agreement.

Rhaenyra’s understanding with Leanor was a good compromise. Marry for the sake of the realm and fulfill their duty, but be with who they love for the sake of your heart. But while this works perfectly for Leanor, what the princess doesn’t understand is Criston Cole’s loyalty to his vows. 

One of the many things I appreciate about House of the Dragon is how the show expands on several vague story details from the book. And one particular detail I have always been interested in is why Cristen Cole leaves Rhaenyra’s service.

A man of honour (for now) Ser Criston, cannot live with the guilt of his affair with Rhaenyra, and instead purposes marriage to restore his integrity. But not only does Rhaenyra reject Cole’s proposal, but the Kingsguard feels insulted when the princess suggests that they continue their secret love affair.

Things only get worse when Joffrey Lonmouth, overplays his hand by trying to blackmail Cole with his secret affairs with Rhaenyra. And in response, Cole murders him in a brawl he starts during the marriage ceremony. (I’m surprised Cole wasn’t immediately arrested after the fight. Not only did he murder someone, and he also punched the future King Consort.)

Having broken his vows, Cole goes to end his life, but he is stopped by an unlikely ally in Queen Alicent. 

Alicent Hightower

Queen Alicent Hightower (House of the Dragon Episode 5)
Queen Alicent Hightower (Credit: HBO)

Like Ser Criston, House of the dragon continues to do Alicent Hightower’s character Justice. And in many ways, the new Queen comes into her own during this episode.

After choosing her best friend over her father, Alicent is hurt to find that Rhaenyra lied to her (or at least omitted the truth). And when Ser Criston confesses the truth about that night, Alicent loses all trust in Rhaenyra.

This division was all the work of Lord Larys Strong (the real little finger of the show), who takes advantage of Alicent’s isolation to turn her against Rhaenyra.

Queen Alicent’s grand entry wearing the green colors of her house was breathtaking and an informal declaration of war. And moving forward Rhaenyra will find her former best friend, has turned into her worst enemy. 

Verdict 

Summary

House of the Dragon episode 5 continues the fallout of Rhaenyra’s decisions from the previous episode. Both Alicent and Ser Criston feel betrayed by Rhaenyra’s disregard of the rules & traditions, that if they broke would get them killed.

By lying to Alicent and not paying close attention to Ser Criston, the series shows Rhaenyra’s immaturity with power. And had the princess known how much these mistakes would later cost her, she would have been more cautious.

Overall
4.5
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Pros

  • Great Character Moments (Queen Alicent)
  • Backstabbing Politics
  • Family Drama

Cons

  • There’s No Reason To Skip

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