House of the Dragon episode 7 recap: Daemon and Rhaenyra bound in blood
A funeral on Driftmark leads to further bloodshed... **WARNING: Contains spoilers for episode 7 of House of the Dragon**
The seeds of war are continually being planted in House of the Dragon.
Following on from last week's dramatic episode, House Targaryen and House Velaryon are in mourning after the death of Lady Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), the wife of Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).
However, that was not the only death in the previous episode as both Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes) and Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) were murdered in a fire orchestrated in secret by their own kinsman, Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham).
Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) has now lost the biological father of her sons in Ser Harwin, but will she suspect that her rival, former friend and stepmother Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) is aware of what happened?
We're sure further headaches for ailing King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) await... There are spoilers from here on out.
House of the Dragon episode 7 recap: Driftmark
On Driftmark, House Velaryon and House Targaryen both gather for the funeral of Lady Laena Velaryon. Laena’s stone coffin is ready to be committed to the sea. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) holds her granddaughters close as her brother-in-law Ser Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson) speaks of the strength of House Velaryon's blood, staring at Princess Rhaenyra and her sons, implying they are not if it. Prince Daemon laughs. Queen Alicent eyes Rhaenyra as Prince Aegon Targaryen (Ty Tennant) appears bored. Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is present and wearing the pin of the Hand of the King. Laena’s coffin is tipped into the sea.
At the gathering following the funeral at High Tide, Rhaenyra sees Daemon. Approaching her son Prince Jacaerys Velaryon (Leo Hart), Rhaenyra asks him to comfort Laena’s daughters, but he shows his desire to be at Harrenhal for the burial of Ser Harwin Strong, but Rhaenyra notes that it would not have been appropriate and emphasises that House Velaryon are their kin. Rhaenyra recognises that Alicent and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) are looking at her before King Viserys is seen looking over at Daemon.
Meanwhile, Princess Helaena Targaryen (Evie Allen) speaks in riddles to insects as her brother Aegon watches from afar and notes how little he has in common with her but is expected to marry her. Prince Aemond Targaryen (Leo Ashton) remarks that he would if it was his duty. Aegon departs to pursue a girl.
Ser Criston notes to Alicent that Lord Larys Strong has been staring at her since they arrived. Alicent remarks that Larys is now Lord of Harrenhal.
Prince Jacaerys stands with Daemon’s grieving daughters and Lady Baela Targaryen (Shani Smethurst) holds his hand. Meanwhile, Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) speaks with Prince Lucerys Velaryon (Harvey Sadler) and comments that when Jacaerys is king, Lucerys will be Lord of the Tides and inherit Driftmark. Lucerys comments that he doesn’t want it as it means everyone will be dead.
Princess Rhaenys approaches her grieving granddaughters and embraces them in their shared loss. Meanwhile, Rhaenyra eyes Daemon who smiles at her.
Lord Corlys watches as a grieving Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) stands in the sea. Lord Corlys publicly orders Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan) to retrieve his patron. Ser Vaemond chides Lord Corlys for the outburst. Alicent glares at Rhaenyra as Daemon locks eyes with Viserys who soon approaches him and compliments his nieces for their likeness to Laena. The Prince comments on how cruel the gods have been to Viserys. The King asks Daemon to return to King’s Landing and to court, but the Prince intends to return to Pentos in his grief.
Ser Otto gives his condolences to Daemon who mocks the desperation of the Hand’s return.
Later, Viserys returns to bed and mistakes Alicent for his late first wife Aemma before saying that she will not follow him. Ser Criston is resentful as the Lord Commander of the Kinsguard, Ser Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish), orders him to take up the night watch.
A drunk Aegon sits on the ramparts but is accosted and ordered to bed by Ser Otto. Aemond watches before hearing Laena’s Vhagar fly overhead.
Ser Qarl retrieves Ser Laenor from the shore.
Inside the castle, Rhaenys speaks candidly with her husband Lord Corlys and blames Daemon for Laena not being home when she died. Rhaenys wonders if their daughter’s death is punishment for their pride but Corlys insists this is to correct the wrongs of her being denied the throne. Rhaenys counters that his plotting is down to his ambition and that has cost them their children.
Corlys claims he is pursuing legacy but Rhaenys asks that Driftmark go to Lady Baela for true Valryian blood and notes that Laenor’s sons will succeed the Iron Throne. Corlys does not wish to disinherit his son and cast a shadow over Rhaenyra’s sons, but Rhaenys makes clear they are not of Velaryon blood. Corlys does not care as history will remember their names and not their blood.
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On the shores as evening approaches, Rhaenyra walks with Daemon and discusses her farcical marriage to Laenor, noting that they tried to conceive children but could not, noting she found better elsewhere and enjoyed feeling desired. Rhaenyra confirms that Ser Harwin was devoted to her and she regrets letting him leave for Harrenhal.
Daemon suspects Ser Otto and Alicent of killing Lord Lyonel and Ser Harwin, but Rhaenyra does not believe Alicent to be capable of murder. Daemon is not so idealistic. Rhaenyra accuses Daemon of abandoning her to a tragic life and he responds that his life has been tragic too before she asks if he loved Laena. Daemon tells her that he was happy with Laena. Rhaenyra caresses Daemon and notes that she is no longer a child and the pair kiss and embrace.
In a tent, Daemon and Rhaenyra undress and make love.
Further down the shore at night, Aemond tracks down and approaches the huge sleeping dragon Vhagar. The dragon awakens and sniffs Aemond. Speaking in Valyrian, Aemond is able to calm the beast before he finally mounts it and claims his dragon, managing to have a chaotic first ride on Vhagar.
From High Tide castle, Baela and Lady Rhaena Targaryen (Eva Ossei-Gerning) spot the commotion as Aemond flies above and around Driftmark. Laena’s daughters wake up Jacaerys and tell him that someone has stolen Vhagar.
From the tent, Rhaenyra awakens and finds Daemon staring at the soaring Vhagar.
Aemond dismounts from Vhagar and is approached by Laena’s angry daughters with Rhaena claiming the dragon was hers to claim, but Aemond makes clear that the dragon is his now. Aemond comments that she can ride a pig instead as it would suit her, prompting Rhaena to shove him but he throws her aside. Baela then punches him in the face but he hits her back and she falls down. Jacaerys then begins fighting with Aemond but he kicks him aside, prompting Lucerys to try but he too is hit. Soon, all four children fight Aemond but he fends them off, begins choking Lucerys and holds a rock to strike him with. Aemond mocks the boys as bastards and calls Ser Harwin their father. Jacaerys draws his blade but is beaten down once more by Aemond, dropping his blade. Lucerys struggles to get the blade as Aemond approaches Jacaerys with the rock. Jacaerys flings dust into Aemond’s eyes before Lucerys swipes the dagger at Aemond’s face, catching his eye. Aemond screams as Ser Harrold and Ser Criston approach, but are shocked to see the state of his eye.
In the aftermath, all are present before King Viserys as he criticises the Kingsguard for failing to guard the princes, but Ser Criston notes that the princes were responsible. The maesters reveal they can heal the flesh but Aemond’s eye is lost. Lord Corlys and Princess Princess Rhaenys arrive and comfort Laena’s girls, as Daemon and Rhaenyra return and see Lucerys’s scars. Alicent notes Laenor’s absence is likely due to his cavorting with squires, to Ser Criston’s amusement.
Viserys inquires about what happened and the children all argue and scream about it. Rhaenyra’s boys tell her what Aemond had said, while Viserys asks for the truth about Aemond. When Rhaenyra reveals what had been said and that this was slander and treason, Viserys wants to know where Aemond heard the rumours. Despite looking at Alicent, Aemond blames Aegon. The King approaches his eldest son and shouts at him for where he heard it but he claims everyone knows this.
In response, Viserys wants this to be the end of the rumours. An enraged Alicent wants a literal eye for an eye but Viserys instead orders that anyone repeating the rumours about Rhaenyra’s children will have their tongue cut out. In response, Alicent swears to serve the Queen’s Justice and orders Ser Criston to bring her an eye from Lucerys, but he notes he is only sworn to protect her. In response, Alicent seizes Aegon’s dagger from Viserys and lunges at Lucerys but Rhaenyra blocks her and holds back. Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys screams. Ser Criston moves to protect Alicent but Daemon meets him and other Kingsguard hold Criston back from the Prince. Alicent accuses Rhaenyra of feeling so entitled and showing no duty or sacrifice as she has and now wants her son’s eye, but Rhaenyra responds that despite hiding beneath righteousness, all those present can now see Alicent as she truly is. Ser Otto orders Alicent to drop the blade. Alicent withdraws, but only after Rhaenyra’s arm has been cut and blood drops to the floor. Aemond comments that it was a fair exchange as he lost an eye but gained a dragon. He then embraces Alicent, while Rhaenyra stands with her boys, Daemon and Lord Corlys.
In the aftermath the next morning, Ser Otto visits the chambers of Alicent who asks him to say what he has to say, the Queen speculating that she has disgraced herself with conduct and ensured that Rhaenyra will forever have Viserys’s favour. Ser Otto notes that for the first time, he sees that Alicent has the determination to win an ugly game. The Queen is encouraged to apologise to the King and win his sympathy, noting that in the end, they will prevail. Ser Otto notes that Aemond was right - Vhagar was worth the price they paid.
Meanwhile, Rhaenyra’s wound is healed by a maester as Ser Laenor returns. Rhaenyra asks Jacaerys and Lucerys to leave. Laenor notes his inability to defend his sister and wife. Rhaenyra notes what is being said of their sons and Laenor notes that he has failed her as a husband but he deeply loves their boys. Rhaenyra tells him of her hopes to bear his children and Laenor reveals his self-loathing for his sexuality, but Rhaenyra notes that she doesn’t hate him as he is a good man with a good heart. Laenor recalls the pair’s arrangement and notes that he is not sure they can honour those vows. Laenor notes that despite the conflict in the Stepstones, he will devote himself to Rhaenyra and being her husband and helping her prepare for the throne.
On the road to the ship to King’s Landing, Alicent comforts an ailing Viserys and apologises. The King asks that they speak no further of what occurred.
On Driftmark, Corlys and Rhaenys watch the King, Alicent and their children depart as their dragons fly with them, now joined by Vhagar.
Watching from the shore, Rhaenyra notes to Daemon that House Targaryen owes everything to fire.
On the ship back to King’s Landing, Lord Larys approaches Alicent and notes the lack of justice in what befell Aemond. Larys suggests that they balance the scales and will devote himself to her as his servant. However, Alicent comments that this act is not necessary but his devotion to her has not gone unnoticed. Alicent says that she may call upon him with discretion soon.
On Driftmark, Rhaenyra tells Daemon that she needs him as she cannot face the Greens alone. The Princess suggests binding their blood as Aegon the Conquerer did with his sisters, suggesting that Daemon becomes her husband and Prince Consort, noting that they are both made of Fire and can burn together as they are meant to. Daemon answers that Laenor would need to be dead for them to marry. Rhaenyra comments that she knows.
At a dock, a hooded Daemon speaks with Ser Qarl and suggests he pays him gold before being transported to safety over the Narrow Sea. Daemon asks if Ser Qarl offers death.
On Driftmark, Daemon seizes a guard while Ser Qarl confronts Laenor in the hall of High Tide. Laenor asks Ser Qarl why he is there as his lover draws a dagger, commenting that Laenor has always looked down on him. Laenor draws his sword and the pair duel as Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys are called and find a corpse, appearing to be their son in the fire. The pair are devastated to believe that both of their children are lost.
Rhaenyra comments to Daemon on the shore that she loves Laenor but their plans will cost the Velaryons their heir and the realm will blame Rhaenyra but will fear what she and Daemon are capable of.
In the aftermath, Daemon and Rhaenyra bind themselves in blood and marry in the tradition of Old Valyria on Dragonstone, in the presence of their children and Maester Gerardys (Phil Daniels). The pair embrace and kiss.
Finally, Ser Qarl climbs in a lifeboat on the shore of Driftmark to depart for a ship across the Narrow Sea. The sailor of the lifeboat is seen to be Ser Laenor himself with his hair sheared off. The pair depart Westeros together.
What book changes are in House of the Dragon episode 7?
A number of changes were made comparing the book Fire and Blood to House of the Dragon episode 7.
- In the book, Lady Laena Velaryon had died on Driftmark and so her children and she had been there the whole time. Rhaenyra’s sons and Daemon’s daughters had been raised closely together as the former were at Dragonstone, and the latter nearby on Driftmark.
- The large gathering for a funeral on Driftmark was not for Lady Laena in the book and was instead for her brother, Ser Laenor.
- Following the deaths of Laena and Laenor in the book, Lord Lyonel Strong and Ser Harwin Strong were killed in the fire at Harrenhal. In the series, this took place in the previous episode.
- In the book, Viserys and Alicent had a third son named Daeron who is absent here.
- The continued presence of Ser Harrold Westerling is a change, as if the series had followed the book timeline, the character would have died during the time jump.
- Princess Rhaenys Targaryen is shown to explicitly be aware of the paternity of Rhaenyra’s children while Lord Corlys is shown not to care regardless in the pursuit of his own ambition.
- Lady Baela and Lady Rhaena Targaryen were not present in the book when Aemond lost his eye and were not involved with that story directly.
- The story of Prince Aemond losing his eye and the subsequent debate is accurate to the book but Queen Alicent’s outburst and violent confrontation with Rhaenyra are original for the series.
- In the book, the loss of Aemond's eye prompted King Viserys to make the ruling against slander of Rhaenyra's children as bastards, but he also ruled that Alicent and her children return to King's Landing, while Rhaenyra and her children should remain on Dragonstone. In the book, this pleased Daemon as he would be near her on Driftmark.
- The series explicitly shows Rhaenyra and Daemon make love and orchestrate their eventual marriage through the fate of Ser Laenor. While their speedy marriage in the book is noted as suspicious, this makes it explicitly planned in advance.
- In the book, Ser Laenor was killed by Ser Qarl while attending a fair in Spicetown and quarrelled around merchants.
- The book offers a number of rumoured scenarios regarding the fate of Ser Laenor. One suggests that Daemon paid Ser Qarl to kill Ser Laenor and helped him escape in a ship before killing him too. Another scenario is that Ser Qarl grew jealous after Ser Laenor found a new lover, prompting them to quarrel and Ser Qarl killing Ser Laenor and fleeing.
- The series invents an escape for Ser Laenor as he faked his own death and escaped across the Narrow Sea with his lover Ser Qarl, while Westeros believes he is dead and Rhaenyra widowed. The book appears to genuinely portray Ser Laenor’s death.
- In the book, Daemon and Rhaenyra's marriage occurred after the deaths of Lord Lyonel Strong and Ser Harwin Strong at Harrenhal and Ser Otto Hightower had returned to King's Landing.
Next week in the eighth episode, The Lord of the Tides, the conversation will likely turn to the issue of who will inherit Driftmark once again after Lord Corlys Velaryon and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen lost both of their children.
Meanwhile, the issue of Princess Rhaenyra marrying her uncle Prince Daemon will no doubt be brought up.
Additionally, the series is set to have another time jump as all of the children will be aged up with some reaching adulthood, including Prince Aegon, Princess Helaena, Prince Aemond, Prince Jacaerys, Prince Lucerys, Prince Joffrey, Lady Baela and Lady Rhaena.
Can Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent finally bury the hatchet for the sake of King Viserys? Somehow, we doubt it.
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