House of the Dragon 1×05 “We Light The Way” was young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Alicent’s (Emily Carey) last episode. Unfortunately, this episode was probably one of the weakest, and it seemed like a bit of a travesty that this is where we’d say goodbye to the actresses that we have come to love.
The fifth episode focuses on the marriage festivities between Rhaenyra and Laenor, who — in great Targaryen tradition — is her cousin. In true Game of Thrones fashion, obviously, the wedding does not go as planned.
What seemed a bit off-putting in this episode is how hasty it was. While there have been time jumps, sometimes years in between each episode, the actual episode has been well thought out; a bit of a slow burn. We have been able to follow along with every thought and emotion these characters have.
But “We Light the Way” sort of rushes through everything. Viserys, who we know has an illness, and we have seen it progress over the season so far, is suddenly passing out, and coughing up blood. While I do understand that this illness could be rapidly deteriorating his health, it seems unlikely that it’s doing so this quickly. Considering that the last episode is when Rhaenyra told her father she would be fine with a marriage to Laenor, and episode five opens with the King asking for the match… I would think that only a day or so has passed. And while we knew he had issues with his arm, they weren’t this bad.
Side note: Are we ever going to talk about this illness in depth? Is anyone going to give it a name? Is this what will drive Viserys mad, starting the age-old Targaryen curse? Or is it that the iron throne has deemed him unworthy? Maybe we’ll find out next week when we see the time jump — and how Viserys is remembered as King.
Moving on from the wedding comes the marriage itself — which again, happens pretty quickly. Perhaps in today’s world, we are too accustomed to engagements being a year long. But we see the King start the celebrations for the wedding festivities almost immediately after Lord Corlys has agreed to the match.
I feel like maybe this episode is just to set up the rest of the season. We start to see Alicent’s subtle rebellion — though I could not for the life of me, understand why she was so mad. But thank god for the two random lords who were used as exposition, since they’re the reason we know that the color of the dress signifies “ready for war.” And we do see the King being pissed that she entered during his speech.
Honestly, I really do wish the King and Queen would talk to each other more. Look at Rhaenyra and Laenor. They had a nice walk on the beach and have already decided on an open marriage because it suits them best. If Alicent and Viserys actually spoke to each other, they’d know that Viserys did fire Otto — but not because he thought Rhaenyra was innocent (thus wrecking Alicent with guilt), but because he agreed that Otto was pushing his own agenda a bit too much. They didn’t have to necessarily share the details that it was Cole, but still, communication is key!
Speaking of Ser Cole… he was absolutely all over the place this week. Last week, when Rhaenyra tried to seduce him, he seemed very reluctant. We are then told, that it’s probably because he was worried that he would be tortured or killed if anyone found out. But then… he proposes to her? Asks her to run away. And that too — only to save his name.
And then he beats Laenor’s lover to death? Why? Because he knows that Rhaenyra and Cole “care for each other”? It just all seemed to happen so quickly, and was very out of character.
The whole episode was like that, especially for what we have become used to from House of The Dragon. Everything happened too quickly, and for viewers who weren’t up to date with their Game of Thrones history, it felt like it was disjointed and messy — leaving us confused and hoping someone on screen would explain it to us.
I just hope that next week is a great payoff for everything that was set up this week. And hopefully, this isn’t the last we have seen of Milly Alcock and Emily Carey.
- The way Daemon pulled Rhaenyra in while on the dance floor… was… hot. I know it’s gross and icky — but Matt Smith and Milly Alcock have killed it in these roles.
- Laenor is gay! I loved the representation, but I hated the way it was spoken about.
- Daemon’s just cool with killing people now- especially his wife? It seemed a bit out of character for him. But maybe I’m wrong. Obviously, he just wanted to inherit Runestone, but he just seemed more conniving
- Before Otto parted, he seemed to part some wisdom on his daughter- probably one of the most honest exchanges we have seen the two of them have. There was a sense of protection in the earnestness of the discussion, a craving for his daughter to see — and perhaps play into this game that he threw her in.
House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.