Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Episodes 1-7 of House of the Dragon.leave it house of the dragon to end an episode with a massive plot twist. Episode 7 set up many things for the future of the Dragon Dance, making it a turning point in the series. Mourning for Laena Velaryon (granny Blondell) the whole family is brought together in Driftmark to attend her funeral. Viserys (Paddy Considine) is along with Alicent (Olivia Cook), as well as the newly minted Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) and the newly minted Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is with Laenor (John Macmillan) and her two older sons who were hit by the Velaryons, including Rheanys (Eva Best) and Corlys (Steve Toussaint). demon (MattSmith) has returned from Pentos with Laena’s corpse and his two daughters. For some, this is the first time they have been reunited in a decade, and tensions and emotions run high.
The episode mainly revolves around Rhaenyra’s reunion with her uncle Daemon, the legitimacy of her children, and the establishment of the blacks against the greens. We see Rhaenyra and Daemon finally getting together after years apart, and she will eventually take him to be her husband at the end of the episode. But first, they must take care of one thing in their own way: their husband.
Does Laenor die?
In order to marry Rhaenyra, Laenor must disappear from the scene, but does that mean he dies? For many fans of the book Fire & Blood through George RR Martin, Laenor’s death has long been in the stars. During his conversation with Rhaenyra, he confesses that he wasn’t the perfect father to their children and promises to be a better father and husband in the future. It is also clear from the conversation that the two tried to have children together, but none came. Since Rhaenyra was aware of his sexuality prior to marriage, they both came to an agreement and would find sexual pleasure elsewhere. Unfortunately, this meant that Rhaenyra’s sons were actually Ser Harwin’s (Ryan Corr) and not Laenors.
Despite that kind of freedom, we know from Episode 6 that the last decade hasn’t been ideal for Laenor. Although he has spoiled himself, he has not been free to be himself. We see in this episode Alicent make a derogatory remark about Laenor’s sexuality in front of everyone, and we know that homosexuality is heavily stigmatized in Westeros. He tells Rhaenyra outright that he sometimes hates the gods for making him the way he is, but she assures him she doesn’t, and he is a good man with honor. It’s clear this isn’t a man she wants dead, so Laenor doesn’t die.
How does Laenor survive?
Only in the last scene is it revealed that Laenor is not only Qarls (Arty Froushan) attack but sails away with him, his head now shaved to hide his Valyrian heritage. But how did they get there? As Rhaenyra and Daemon talk, she tells him that she loves Laenor, and Daemon tells her to do him a favor and set him free. What at first sounds like cruel kindness is actually reality. It is clear that this is the moment he and Rhaenyra formulate a plan to fake Laenor’s death.
We then see Daemon approach Ser Qarl and pay him gold, telling him “There are places across the straits where it doesn’t matter what a man’s name is, it matters how much gold he owns”, and asking for a quick death with witnesses. As someone who has spent some time in Pentos, he knows they aren’t nearly as biased about sexuality there. It’s a place Laenor can escape to without the pressure of being a royal consort or the pressure of hiding who he really is. But at first glance, it seems like Daemon is acting for both himself and Rhaenyra, hiring Qarl to kill Laenor.
But knowing that Laenor is not dying, things begin to fall into place. Knowing that Qarl loves Laenor means he can be trusted with the plan, and we can tell their dialogue before their fight diverges a bit when Qarl says, “You’ve always looked down on me,” without the audience knowing saw evidence of it. Daemon kills a minion and after Qarl and Laenor start their rowy fight, the minion runs away in the room for help and they have enough time to clip Laenor’s boots on the man Daemon killed. As the Velaryons storm into the hall, all they see is a burned corpse in the fireplace wearing Laenor’s boots.
Why did Rhaenyra and Daemon plot his death?
Laenor’s fake death works on two fronts. First, it grants Laenor his freedom, and second, it instills fear in Rhaenyra’s enemies. Daemon tells Rhaenyra that a king is powerless unless he is feared. The two want rumors to spread that they killed Laenor. They know the truth, but their enemies will assume the worst and wonder what else they could be capable of.
This comes after the argument with the kids that happened in Aemonds (Leo Ashton) eye is cut out by Lucerys (Harvey Salder). With the question of legitimacy hanging over their heads. Rhaenyra realizes that her marriage to her uncle will create a stronger bond and that the two of them could be better protected against the doubters and usurpers. With Daemon at her side as Prince Consort, Rhaenyra believes her claim cannot be easily challenged. It will protect her position as heir and also her children.
How does this differ from the books?
The reason this moment is such a shock is that it’s a departure from the book. in the Fire & Blood, Laenor is killed by Ser Qarl at a Spicetown carnival. Witnesses see the two arguing before fighting with their swords as in the episode, although Laenor’s actual death also appears to have been witnessed. Some believe that Laenor found a new lover and Qarl was jealous, while others believe that Qarl killed Laenor on Daemon’s orders since Daemon married Rhaenyra not too long after. While it is clear that the history books hold Laenor dead, Episode 7 shows us how easily history can be rigged by rumor and uncertainty. Qarl publicly fought Laenor, and he was hired by Daemon, but it was all a sham that ensured Laenor would not be dead but would be freed.
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https://collider.com/house-of-the-dragon-episode-7-ending-explained/ What Happened to Laenor? House of the Dragon Episode 7 Ending Explained