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House of the Dragon” takes place almost 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones.” The series follows the Targaryen family — that would be the silver-haired, dragon-flying crew, the one that Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) made famous in the original series — just as it is about to rupture, with dire consequences for the realm.
Three years after the most popular show in HBO’s history bowed out, the hunt for a successor is finally over. It took a lot of effort to get here. Numerous “Thrones” prequels were put into development, and a pilot episode for another spinoff was filmed before it was canceled. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into the winner of the bake-off, “House of the Dragon.”
The House of the Dragon Episode 5 teaser opens with ships sailing and Viserys (Paddy Considine) arriving somewhere that is most certainly not Kings Landing. In voice over, Viserys says, “I wish to propose a marriage…to my daughter and heir.” After a title card that says, “On the Next House of the Dragon,” we see a dwarf very spiritedly banging on a drum. Someone says, “A royal wedding,” as even more ships with the House Velaryon Seahorse take to the sea.
Then we’re back in Kings Landing. Viserys and Rhaenrya — all clad in white — rise from a feast table that’s been set up in front of the Iron Throne. People applaud as Viserys says in voice over, “I hope to herald in a second age of dragons.” We see two dragons fly over the water. Rhaenyra looks out over a sun set.
We cut to Rhaenys (Eve Best) telling her husband Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), “Rhaenyra’s succession will be challenged.” Then there’s a quick montage of the Lannisters rolling into the royal wedding and a guilty looking Criston alone with Alicent. Rhaenys says, “Knives will come out.” Then there’s a montage of fighting at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding feast.
There’s a shot of Alicent looking sad, Corlys looking like a badass, Daemon wearing a hood, and Otto says in voice over, “The king will die,” as we get a shot of Viserys looking half dead in front of his beloved model city of Old Valyria. There are some dramatic shots of Rhaenyra as Otto adds, “And if Rhaenyra succeeds him, war will follow.” Someone falls off a horse and Alicent shudders as she sees something happen in a courtyard below. Otto tells an upset Alicent, “Prepare Aegon to rule.”
The fifth episode opens with a visit to Runestone, the castle of House Royce where Daemon's wife Lady Rhea lives. This castle is in the Vale, where House Arryn rules. You'll remember them from "Game of Thrones" with Lysa Arryn and her son Robin, who were both manipulated by Littlefinger. Yohn Royce was one of the lords in the Vale who felt distrustful of Littlefinger in "Game of Thrones."
But here in "House of the Dragon," we get a clear picture of Prince Daemon's cruelty and intent to escape his assigned lot when we see him kill Lady Rhea and stage it to look like a "hunting accident."
In "Fire and Blood," Martin's fictional historical account of the incident says Rhea's death was "a tragic mishap."
"The 'bronze' of Runestone, Lady Rhea Royce, fell from her horse whilst hawking and cracked her head upon a stone," the book said, continuing on to say that she "lingered" for nine days before finally dying.
This is just one more example of how the "House of the Dragon" writing team is creating a new (and one could argue, more objective) account of the events in "Fire and Blood." While some fans had always suspected foul play in Rhea's death, the show makes it unambiguous that she was killed in order to further Daemon's personal desires.
Larys Strong makes important moves in this episode, and there may be a magical connection between his presence in the godswood and the events to come
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