Rhaenyra’s secret marriage to her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) is the major highlight of House of Dragon episode 7 which serves to inflate her reputation as a ruthless power player.
Rhaenyra(Emma D’Arcy) and Daemon, both newly widowed, marry. This creates a powerful alliance that will be hard to break. Daemon might not be fully trusted because as soon as Rhaenyra takes power, he’ll off her and take the throne fully for himself.
The two might have children together, and it seems those “pure” Targaryen children will attempt to have more claim to the throne than the Strong bastards.
Episode 7 tagged “Driftmark” began in mourning, with the funeral, held on the island of Driftmark, for Lady Laena after last week’s death by dragon. All the major players were there—the late Laena’s husband, Prince Daemon, not exactly grieving himself, their children Baela and Rhaena, King Viserys, Queen Alicent, their children Aegon, Aemond, and Helaena, Princess Rhaenyra, Prince Laenor, “their” children Jayce and Luke. Otto Hightower, Ser Criston Cole, the entire House Velaryon.
Though the Velaryons, i.e., Lord Corlys Velaryon, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, and Laenor Velaryon, were distraught after losing a member of their family, the others were more interested in looking out how it impacted their interests. Daemon saw through the deception created by the excessive outward display of emotions. The royals were accustomed to that kind of pretentiousness, but Daemon still couldn’t get used to it and found it extremely absurd.
After the ceremony, Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon continued where they left off ten years ago at the brothel in Old Town, but this time, on the beach, they consummate their relationship. “Rhaenyra and Daemon are made of the same stuff. They’re a terrible match,” says Emma D’Arcy, who plays Rhaenyra, in the video. “I think there’s a dangerous chemistry.”
Daemon is newly widowed, Rhaenyra’s children’s rivalry with their princely uncles is heating up (literally), and her father King Viserys’ failing health raises the question of succession once more, despite her unofficial royal motto of “we don’t talk about Harwin.”
However, it feels like things are finally shifting. After goading Alicent into making a spectacle of herself when she literally tries to knife the prince as vengeance for her maimed son, Rhaenyra reconnects with Daemon. Literally, as in, they sleep together, finally, but also in terms of executing a grand plan to secure Targaryen power and shore up Rhaenyra’s claim.
Check out the “Inside the Episode” below.
Is Laenor Dead Or Alive? What Happened Between Rhaenyra And Daemon?
Rhaenyra And Daemon made love while Vhagar flew over them and blew the trumpet for an upcoming conflict. She told Daemon to marry her and believed that she could talk Laenor through it and make him understand. But a lamenting Laenor wanted to remove all the guilt and regret from his conscience.
He came and told Rhaenyra that he would be a good husband to her and be there for his sons (graciously enough, he always referred to the Strong boys as his own sons). He said that he would leave Ser Qarl and be with Rhaenyra with the utmost sincerity. As much as Rhaenyra appreciated his intent and the sacrifice, he was willing to make, she knew that she was going to marry Daemon for more than one reason.
Firstly, she loved him, and secondly, she knew that she had to strengthen her claim to the Iron Throne. So, Daemon and Rhaenyra hatch a plan, the consequences of which, they already knew, were going to be ghastly. Rhaenyra could only marry Daemon in the event of Laenor’s death. She knew that though fire incarcerated a person, water always provided them with an escape.
Daemon and Rhaenyra decided to fake the death of Laenor Velaryon. They knew that the heir to the seat of Driftmark would agree to this plan because it gave him a way to escape his pretentious life and get rid of the burden that the expectations of others had put on him. Daemon approached Ser Qarl and told him about what he had to do.
He told him that there were places where one’s name didn’t matter. He told him to escape with Laenor and start the life that he had always wanted to lead. Qarl reached Lord Corlys’ hall and attacked Laenor. But that assault was just to mask their real intentions. Daemon killed a soldier and put his body in Corlys’ hall. Laenor, and Qarl escaped. Laenor shaved his hair, symbolically severing all ties with the house of Velaryon.
Seeing the charred body in his hall, Corlys believed in the fact that his son had been killed. Due to that assumption, Rhaenyra was free to marry Daemon. They entered into a matrimonial alliance and made a vow of blood. Their marriage ceremony was attended by their children, who stood at the threshold of a new chapter in their lives, too.
Daemon and Rhaenyra decided to combine their fires and burn them together. It was a decisive moment in the history of Kings Landing. It marked the beginning of a new era, something that Viserys always dreaded. His kingdom, his own family, was now divided into two groups, and both were ready to draw first blood.
The presence of Viserys was probably the only thing that was restraining them from waging an all-out war against each other. But as we all know, it was just a matter of time till the inevitable happened and unleashed the madness that resided within both factions.
The final twist – that Laenor survived the attack – provides House of the Dragon with its first, proper heart-thumping moment. The prequel has shown promise before, with its more nuanced characterization and small-scale approach, but ‘Driftmark’ was the first time these have alchemized into exhilarating television.
It’s a good thing for both the show and HBO’s world-building risks; the stage is set for more compelling drama, and, inevitably, many, many more seasons.