Home of the Dragon’s seventh episode opens with Daemon Targaryen doing essentially the most Daemon factor he can: tittering—nay, I say guffawing—at his late spouse’s funeral. To make certain, Daemon is a fancy character; to imagine he finds precise amusement within the dying of Laena Velaryon, his companion for the previous 10 years, can be to misconceive his lack of etiquette. Somewhat, Daemon is sharp, even in grief. In Home Velaryon’s eulogy for Laena, he acknowledges a number of not-so-subtle jabs at Rhaenyra’s not-so-Velaryon sons. His eyes sweep over Jace and Luke’s brunette bowl cuts, then over the scornful eyes of his fellow funeral visitors, and he can’t assist however snigger on the open secrets and techniques swirling within the air round him. There’s a cause the king’s youthful brother by no means had a lot style for politicking, even when he might by no means fairly sate his thirst for energy.
After Laena’s coffin is launched into the ocean surrounding Driftmark, Daemon and Rhaenyra trade a number of loaded glances—oh, boy, do we all know what’s coming—whereas Viserys asks that Daemon return together with his daughters to King’s Touchdown, the place he’ll need for nothing. Daemon argues he needs nothing as it’s, brother, and anyway he wants a second to accuse Otto Hightower—again on the town as Hand of the King, following Lionel Sturdy’s dying final episode—of lecherous conduct.
In the meantime, the Velaryons are crumbling beneath the load of their grief. Laenor, Rhaenyra’s husband and Laena’s twin, stands waist-deep within the roiling ocean, his jaw slack and cheeks sunken. Rhaenys and Corlys work out the kinks of their ache with an old style marital row: Rhaenys blames Daemon for dragging Laena to Pentos, however she additionally blames her husband for his “insatiable delight.” Corlys, shocked to listen to his usually steadfast spouse criticize him, argues his pursuit of energy is simply to revive the crown to Rhaenys’ personal deserving head. She rolls her eyes, retorting, “It’s not justice in your spouse that drives you; it’s your personal ambition.” Corlys, flipping the script of Larys Sturdy’s children-are-a-weakness speech from episode 6, leans ahead and whispers, “What is that this temporary mortal life, if not the pursuit of legacy?”
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Rhaenys tries a special tactic: Enchantment to Corlys’ craving for glory. She needs Driftmark, Home Velaryon’s ancestral house, to go by means of Laena’s line to Baela, Daemon and Laena’s daughter. Such a transfer can be unorthodox in Westeros, the place the firstborn son’s line tends to inherit energy and property. To seal the deal, Rhaenys speaks the quiet half out loud. “Rhaenyra’s youngsters usually are not of your blood,” she says. “However Laena’s are.”
Lastly, we escape this mournful debating for a long-awaited reunion—and what a union it was! The Daemon girlies shall be dancing within the streets tonight, and I’m positive to be certainly one of them. However if you happen to cheered this little dose of incest, know this: To borrow a line from peak Tumblr…you’ll go down with this ship.
On the shores of Driftmark, Daemon and Rhaenyra take a romantic moonlit stroll, throughout which niece tells uncle of the fruitlessness of her sexual exploits along with her husband. (Apparently a quaint subject of dialog in Westeros.) Rhaenyra admits that she and Laenor did attempt to conceive, however “there was no pleasure in it. I discovered that elsewhere.” Daemon, already crammed in on the Pink Hold’s hottest gossip, offers her such a loaded look I needed to pause the episode and step away, laughing hysterically. Matt Smith’s supply of, “I perceive Ser Harwin was fairly…devoted to you,” must be the clip that wins him his Emmy subsequent 12 months.
The pair transfer by means of a number of different matters of dialog, catching up after years aside. Does Daemon suppose Alicent’s chargeable for Harwin’s dying? Test. Did he love Laena? Certain, sufficient to be content material. Test. Rhaenyra says she’s sorry for his loss however scoots slightly nearer. Is she not a toddler? Test.
The following intercourse scene is steamy however not gratuitous—a welcome departure for a Sport of Thrones franchise. Rhaenyra and Daemon’s tryst is certainly one of pleasure, but in addition one infused with a palpable sense of aid. They really feel most free after they’re collectively. They usually each appear to sense this was all the time inevitable; the act itself may as properly be the success of prophecy. That may make sense, given how Targaryens consider their very own line and legacy. After all an uncle and a niece falling in love can be the want of the gods.
However whereas they’re busy getting it on, their households are fracturing round them. In one of many present’s most gorgeous sequences of the season, Aemond conquers the chip on his shoulder and claims Vhagar as his mount, taking to the sky upon the again of the final surviving witness of Aegon’s Conquest. Their bonding is breathtaking to observe, however it’s also a betrayal: Aemond claiming Vhagar denies Baela of her proper to her late mom’s dragon.
Jace and Luke run as much as defend Daemon’s daughters, however Aemond and Aegon use the chance away from their mother and father’ prying eyes to pronounce the Velaryon boys bastards. (That’s thought-about treason, by the way in which.) The ensuing squabble breaks noses and slices by means of eyes, however maybe nobody takes the injuries extra personally than Alicent, Aemond and Aegon’s mom, who invokes Hammurabi’s Code: an eye fixed for an eye fixed.
When Viserys refuses to punish his grandchildren in such a fashion, a livid Alicent steals the king’s Valyrian metal blade—the one with the “Prince Who Was Promised” inscription, bear in mind?—and costs towards Jace and Luke. Rhaenyra throws herself in entrance of her sons, lastly giving Alicent the chance to confront her former greatest pal with a number of alternative phrases: Whereas she, the Queen, has sacrificed every little thing within the identify of responsibility, Rhaenyra has spat in its face. Rhaenyra flaunts sons who’re clearly not her husband’s. She (by Alicent’s estimation, anyway) sleeps round. She is so satisfied of her Targaryen-born sovereignty that she betrays the principles of “decency” simply by respiration. Alicent’s fury is partially that of a fearful mom’s, however Olivia Cooke’s hissing supply makes it clear simply how a lot of Alicent’s response is actually born of jealousy.
Lastly, Alicent loses her cool and slices Rhaenyra’s wrist. (Fret not, your fave is ok.) However the near-death expertise grants the princess each readability and conviction. She sees, lastly, the rot inside her personal family, and so she seeks to strengthen it with a union of—forgive me—fireplace and blood. She proposes that she and Daemon marry, which in fact would require Laenor’s dying.
And so the secrets and techniques tangle tighter. Collectively, Rhaenyra and Daemon pull off Westeros’ best Houdini act, faking Laenor’s dying with the assistance of his lover, Ser Qarl. After the latter engages Laenor in an impromptu duel inside the halls of Excessive Tide, they dump a person’s physique into the fireside, charring away any distinguishable options. (Does Driftmark simply have random useless our bodies freely out there for frying, or…?) Rhaenys and Corlys barge into the lobby to find what they suppose is their solely remaining baby burned alive. However the actual Laenor and Qarl escape to a rowboat on the shore, embarking on a visit throughout the Slender Sea, the place they will reside and love collectively with out interference or judgement.
Whilst I took a number of shaky breaths to recuperate from the depth of this showdown, episode 7 charged forward. Days, even perhaps months, go in a single scene as Daemon and Rhaenyra are wed, their bleeding lips pressed collectively in a kiss between kin. Like most Targaryen amorous affairs, it’s so improper it’s virtually proper. However heed my warning from earlier, Daemyra shippers: Greatest bear in mind George R. R. Martin is not any romantic.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an affiliate editor at ELLE, the place she covers information and tradition.