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House of the Dragon Recap: Eye Do

house-of-the-dragon-recap-season-1-episode-7

House of the Dragon Episode 7 contains a funeral, a wedding and a bloody loss of an organ. Man, these Targaryen rites of passage are not for the lily-livered.

The hour also marks the first time that Daemon and Rhaenyra address what happened between them the night they snuck out of the Red Keep. And the aftermath of that discussion will have far-reaching consequences as the season continues to unspool. Also, there’s a lot of dragonriding, if you’re into that sort of thing! Read on for the highlights of the hour, then check out our biggest peeve about the ep.

SEA YOU LATER | We open on Lady Laena’s funeral, which takes place on a cliff over the ocean near High Tide. As the cameras take in the crowd, we watch Laena and Daemon’s daughters cling to Rhaenys. Otto Hightower is there, wearing the Hand of the King brooch — he’s back, baby! As Corlys’ brother, Vaemond, goes on in High Velaryon about how the family’s blood runs thick and true and must never be diluted, Daemon doesn’t even try to suppress a giggle… and Rhaenyra’s son Jace (aka the one who asked about being a bastard in the previous episode) takes note. Then Laena’s stone coffin is pushed into the water, and that’s that.

The vibe is weird at the post-ceremony reception. Jace is angry that no one cares that he’s mourning Ser Harwin Strong, aka his biological dad, but Rhaenyra tells him to hush up about all of that — and Alicent watches the interaction from afar with interest. In another corner, Aegon complains to Aemond that he doesn’t want to marry their sister, Helaena, to whom he is now betrothed. (Take that, Rhaenyra!) And when Ser Criston notes that Larys hasn’t stopped looking at Alicent since they arrived, she looks uneasy as she says it’s merely a look of pride: After his family’s recent, uh, misfortune, he’s the new lord of Harrenhal.

house-of-the-dragon-recap-season-1-episode-7And all the while, Rhaeynra and Daemon catch each other’s eyes from across the gathering but do not exchange a word. She’s still watching intently when Viserys approaches his brother with his sympathies and extends an invitation for Daemon and his family to return to King’s Landing. But Daemon staunchly refuses, storming away.

Eventually, almost everyone retires to their quarters. Rhaenys laments that her daughter didn’t have High Tide’s maesters at hand when she went into labor. “She wanted to come home, and he denied her,” she says; Corlys gently counters that what happened wasn’t Daemon’s fault. But Rhaenys is too sad and too tired to keep up the usual ruse. She calls her husband out on how he always says he’s pursuing the Iron Throne to get justice for her being passed over, but that he really just wants the power and status for himself. He argues that everything he does is for their family’s legacy, but she’s not having it: She announces that she wants Driftmark to pass through Laena’s line, not Laenor’s, so that those with actual Velaryon blood in their veins will rule family’s ancestral seat. “Rhaenyra’s children are not of your blood,” she says plainly. “But Laena’s are. They are her legacy.”

house-of-the-dragon-recap-season-1-episode-7PICKING UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF | Out on the beach, Daemon and Rhaenyra walk and talk. She tells him Laenor hasn’t been interested in keeping up their guise for some time. Oh, and they DID attempt to make little dragons together at one point. “We performed our duty as best we could, but to no avail,” she says. “There was no joy in it. I found that elsewhere.” She regrets not commanding Ser Harwin to stay at King’s Landing, and she references the old home’s alleged curse, but Daemon is like, “C’mon, you KNOW Alicent and Otto had something to do with that.”

Then they finally get to the meat of the matter: how he abandoned her at that brothel back in the day. “I spared you. You were a child,” he says. “Yes, I WAS a child, and look at what my life became without you,” she replies. She asks if he loved Laena (“We were happy enough,” he acknowledges), she offers her sympathies, and then she draws him closer. “I’m no longer a child,” she says, going in for a kiss that he doesn’t hesitate to return.

Not long after, they find some shelter from the wind and surf and get to unlacin’. Unlike their last encounter of this nature, Daemon has no problem valar-ing her morghulis, if you catch my drift. 

house-of-the-dragon-recap-season-1-episode-7A NEW DRAGONRIDER RISES | Aemond, who has stayed outside, makes his way farther up the beach to where the dragons are sleeping. As he gingerly pets Vhagar, it wakes up and sniffs him deeply, and for a moment looks like it wants to make s’mores out of his little, marshmallowy head. But at his command, the beast calms, and the boy decides that that’s a good sign: He climbs on its back, and they take off. Things look hairy there for a minute — the kid is almost done in by a very steep plunge and a flock of seabirds — but soon he’s got the hang of it.

After landing, he cockily marches back to the castle, where he’s met by Daemon and Laena’s angry daughter, Rhaena. She’s fuming because the dragon was her mother’s, and she was planning to be its next master. “Your mother’s dead, and Vhagar has a new rider now,” Aemond declares, setting off a skirmish that eventually has Aemond, Rhaena, Baela, Jace and Luke trying to kill each other. When Aemond calls Jace and Luke “bastards,” it gets even bloodier. And by the end, Aemond is missing an eye, courtesy of a blade Luke slashes through his face.

The tumult draws everyone to the Hall of Nine, where Viserys tries to figure out what happened. It should be noted that Daemon is leaning against a door in the back, looking like he’s watching the most amusing Muppet Babies episode ever. When Alicent points a finger at Rhaenyra’s sons, the princess says they were defending themselves against slander and barely hesitates when she brings up the TOTALLY FAKE OMG idea that Jace and Luke are not legitimate heirs to the throne. “This is the highest of treasons,” she says, doubling down. So Viserys asks his younger son to name the person who told him that Rhaenyra’s kids were not also Laenor’s. Aemond looks at his mother but then says Aegon, who states it plainly: “We know, Father. EVERYONE knows. Just look at them.” Viserys ignores that, yelling at his fractious to stop fighting, apologize and move along. “Your father, your grandsire, your king demands it!” he shouts.

That’s not enough for Alicent, who calls for Viserys to take one of Rhaenyra’s son’s eyes in revenge. And when he won’t do so, she orders Ser Criston to cut out one of Lucerys’ peepers. But it doesn’t get that far — Viserys declares that the matter is finished, then makes sure that the room knows he’ll de-tongue anyone else who brings up the parentage of his grandchildren. Welp, the king has spoken and that’s all, right? Alicent says NOPE. She swiftly grabs a blade from Viserys’ belt and comes for Rhaenyra’s boys. Rhaenyra blocks her, and they struggle. As Ser Harrold starts yelling and everyone freaks out, Daemon steps into the fray — and quickly gets body-checked by Criston (or does he stop Criston?).

So it’s just the two women grappling at the center of a circle of onlookers, and Alicent is having a breakdown that’s been years in the making. “What have I done, but what was expected of me? Forever upholding the kingdom, the family, the law” while “you do what you please!” she says, holding the knife really, really close to the princess’ face. “Exhausting, wasn’t it?” Rhaenyra taunts, “hiding beneath the cloak of your own righteousness. But now they see you as you are.” Alicent stabs at her former bestie as she pushes her away; the movement cuts Rhaenyra’s forearm, and her blood drips on the floor. Aemond breaks the stunned silence, telling his mother that he lost an eye but gained a dragon, and everyone stares at each other as they try to reconcile what’s just happened.

house-of-the-dragon-recap-season-1-episode-7A LONG-AWAITED PAT ON THE HEAD | Otto swings by Alicent’s quarters later, and she expects a dressing-down of the highest order. “I’ve never seen that side of you, my daughter,” he says admiringly. “I even doubted its existence.” She calls her behavior “ugly,” but he’s OK with it. “We play an ugly game,” he reminds her. “And now, for the first time, I see you have the determination to win it.” He advises her to go to Viserys, be penitent “and I promise you, in time, you and I together will prevail.” After all, now they have a dragon on their side!

In Rhaenyra’s quarters, Laenor comes home from mourning his sister alone and is astonished to see his family bloodied. “I should have been there,” he says. “Those should be our house words,” she deadpans. Then she fills him in on Aemond’s insult. They talk about how she’d hoped to bear his children. “I hate the gods for making me as they did,” he says, but she calls him an honorable man with a good heart: “It’s a rare thing.” He lets her know that Sidepiece Ser Qarl will head back to the Stepstones soon, and Laenor is going to recommit himself to their marriage. “You deserve better than what I have been,” he says earnestly. “You deserve a husband.”

And it seems that Rhaenyra agrees with that… kinda. When she and Daemon see each other again, she uses High Valyrian as she begs him to help her fight Alicent. “I cannot face the greens alone. Let us bind our blood, just as Aegon the Conqueror did with his sisters,” she says, proposing that he become her husband and prince consort. But he points out that they can’t marry unless Laenor were dead. “I know,” she says quite matter-of-factly. And just like that, we see Daemon offering Qarl a lot of gold to give Laenor “a quick death, one with witnesses.”

house-of-the-dragon-recap-season-1-episode-7We’re made to think that the princess has quickly hatched a bloodthirsty plan to get what she wants. And that’s true — someone does die — but it’s not Laenor. Here’s how it unfolds. Qarl draws his blade on Laenor while a servant watches; the boy runs from the room for help. In the meantime, a random dude that Daemon has knocked out is dragged into the space and thrown into the fireplace, where he is burned beyond recognition, leading everyone who comes running — including Rhaenys and Corlys — to believe that Laenor is dead.

In the aftermath, Rhaenyra and Daemon are wed in a ceremony that features ceremonial blood and High Valyrian and… am I supposed to be rooting for these two crazy kids? They’re getting the romantic treatment here, and it just feels weird. Anyway, later we find out that Laenor is fine! He’s shaved his head and is in a rowboat with Qarl, ostensibly headed out to board a ship in the distance and make their way to somewhere where they can do their own thing.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

 

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