House of the Dragon preview: Episode 5, “We Light The Way”

House of the Dragon episode 5
House of the Dragon episode 5 /

“King of the Narrow Sea” turned the Targaryen family upside down. Where do our dragons (and friends) stand heading into “We Light The Way” this Sunday? Let’s catch up with the gang ahead of another new episode of House of the Dragon.

Image: House of the Dragon, HBO/YouTube
Image: House of the Dragon, HBO/YouTube /

Rhaenrya Targaryen — Status: Diving into the family gene pool

Rhaenyra’s life was already complicated before “King of the Narrow Sea.” She was heir to the most powerful dynasty in the world and was fighting off new challengers to her crown. She’s still doing all that, but now she’s had a romantic encounter with her uncle, slept with her most trusted bodyguard, and has agreed to marry the heir to the richest family in Westeros. In the space of one episode, her life has gotten a lot stranger, sexier, and messier.

Where does she go from here? Well, presumably she’ll carry through with marrying Laenor Velaryon, although it’s unclear if there will be any attraction or if it will be a political marriage and nothing more. Either way, might Daemon Targaryen or Criston Cole object to this union rather than forever hold their peace?

Image: House of the Dragon, HBO/YouTube
Image: House of the Dragon, HBO/YouTube /

Viserys Targaryen — Status: [0] Days Without A Crippling Stress Headache

Even if Viserys packed the entire Red Keep full of stress balls, it wouldn’t be enough to help him. His daughter and brother are stirring up potential scandals left and right, and Viserys seems increasingly at a loss over how to deal with them. Plus his body is falling apart and he’s down a Hand of the King after firing Otto Hightower.

One would think that the position of Hand will be filled quickly enough; who wants to bet that the level-headed Lyonel Strong will get the job? As for his immediate family, Rhaenyra’s impending wedding to Laenor Velaryon could settle things down a bit, not to mention bring the powerful Velaryon family back into the fold.

Also, Viserys’ relationship with his wife Alicent Hightower seems pretty solid…although he did just fire her dad as Hand and it’s clear she’s not happy with their sex life. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to marry your daughter’s 15-year-old best friend, Viserys? Hmm? But at least she’s someone he can talk to.

Image: House of the Dragon/YouTube
Image: House of the Dragon/YouTube /

Daemon Targaryen — Status: Chilling somewhere thinking he’s made all the right choices

Oh my god, this guy. Just to recap, he came home from the war to King’s Landing and did fealty to his brother the king, spent all of an afternoon joking pleasantly with him, and then spirited his niece into the city at night and tried to seduce her. Sure, he didn’t go through with it, but it’s hard to blame Viserys for being wroth. And then Daemon had the gall to ask Viserys to “give” him Rhaenyra to marry, all while hung over and lying on the floor of the Iron Throne room. The guy doesn’t lack for nerve, I’ll give him that.

He also doesn’t lack for shame, which is harder to admire. I honestly don’t know where Daemon will go now. The last time his brother kicked him out of King’s Landing, he went warring in the Stepstones with Corlys Velaryon. Maybe he’ll go back. Maybe he really will return home to his wife in the Vale for a while. Or maybe he’ll stalk Rhaenyra from the sky. Daemon does what he wants and nothing less, so we’ll just have to wait and find out where his mind is at today.

House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Otto Hightower — Status: Unhappy even for a recently unemployed person

Otto Hightower doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who has a rich personal life; he even uses his daughter as a tool to get closer to power. Considering how devoted he is to his work as Hand of the King, he’s probably taking his firing very hard.

Will he stay at court and hector his daughter into badgering the king in his stead? Will he go back to Oldtown and face the disappointment of his older brother Hobert Hightower, whom we met briefly in “Second of His Name”? Probably the first. I’d suggest that Otto take a vacation and reevaluate his priorities, but I don’t think he’s ready for that kind of advance relaxing.

House of the Dragon episode 5
House of the Dragon episode 5 /

Alicent Hightower — Status: Dragons to the left of me, Babies to the right, Here I am, Stuck in the middle with the cavernous emptiness inside

Alicent is a hard character to get a grip on. Apparently she held a candle for her friendship with Rhaenyra all throughout the period where Rhaenrya was ticked at her for marrying her dad and then birthing her replacement. Rhaenyra eventually came around, but last we saw she was feeding Alicent half-truths about what really happened during her wild night out in King’s Landing. This friendship doesn’t seem very stable, and something has to give.

Other than that, Alicent’s days are pretty well set. She had two children last we checked, and considering how much this show likes to jump forward in time, she may have another one by next episode. She’s busy, but not so busy that she can’t be thrown by whatever her husband’s crazy family does next.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Criston Cole — Status: Planning his dream wedding

Criston Cole is a Kingsguard knight, meaning he’s forbidden to take a wife or father children. I don’t know if he’s specifically forbidden with sleeping of the princess of the realm, but I’m sure it’s frowned upon, at minimum.

What happens now? Does Criston think of his night with Rhaenyra as a one-time thing that can never happen again? Or is he falling for her, and if he is, how tricky could that make things in light of her responsibilities as heir apparent to the Iron Throne? It’s time for Criston to step up and claim his spot as a major part of the plot.

Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Mysaria — Status: Moving on up, discreetly

Mysaria popped back up in “King of the Narrow Sea” to take care of Daemon after he got blasted out of his brain during his night out with Rhaenrya. She hinted that she’s gotten into a new business. But what kind?

Well, Otto gets his information about Daemon and Rhaenyra’s erotic misadventure from someone called “the White Worm.” That’s one of the names Mysaria goes by in George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. It looks like she’s getting into the information trade and playing both sides. That could serve her well. In the cloak and dagger world of King’s Landing, secrets are a valuable commodity.

House of the Dragon episode 5
House of the Dragon episode 5 /

Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen: Pumping their elbows at their sides and shouting, “Cha-ching, cha-ching!”

The Targaryen family may be in disarray, but it’s high tide for House Velaryon, even if we haven’t seen the lord and lady for a minute. With Daemon’s help, Corlys won his war in the Stepstones, which means trade is flowing again and his house is getting wealthier. And even though King Viserys opted not to marry their daughter Laena back in Episode 2, it sounds like the king’s daughter is going to marry their son Laenor. So Corlys and Rhaenys are rich are about to have a direct line to the Iron Throne. Cha-ching!

Next. The new episode of House of the Dragon is a thrilling erotic disaster zone. dark

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