‘Home of the Dragon’ Season 1 Episode 5 Recap and Wedding ceremony Reactions
If there’s something we’ve realized from Westerosi customs, it’s that weddings are not often nonviolent affairs. Home of the Dragon’s mid-season transition episode—the moody and well-acted “We Gentle the Approach”—purposefully recollects moments from Sport of Thrones’ infamous Pink Wedding ceremony, although Dragon’s ceremony fails to hit the previous’s physique depend. (A minimum of, not but.)
There’s numerous commotion over marriage and its downfalls this episode, as we open “We Gentle the Approach” with a welcome departure from King’s Touchdown, as an alternative clomping via the verdant fields of the Vale. Girl Rhea Royce, spouse of Prince Daemon, weaves a path via the hills on horseback, her rhythm clean and actual till she encounters the hooded determine of her husband. He looms in silence as she, his Bronze Bitch, barbs him. “Have you ever eventually come to consummate our marriage?” she calls for. “The Vale’s sheep could be keen, even when I’m not.” That’s an objectively demented (and pleasant) factor to say to a person of Daemon Targaryen’s temperament. Positive, he kills her in response, however what a strategy to exit!
In the meantime, Alicent is floundering amidst the political machinations of the Pink Maintain. Her father, Ser Otto Hightower, blames her for his dismissal as Hand of the King, although she insists that, had he not been so relentless in pushing for Aegon as inheritor, he may need retained his job. That final half having struck a nerve, he swoops in shut with a treasonous little bit of perception: “The king will die,” he assures. “It could be months or years, however he is not going to reside to be an previous man. And if Rhaenyra succeeds him, conflict will observe, do you perceive?” As Alicent begins to shudder and weep, he continues, “You know it. You’re no idiot and but you select to not see it. The time is coming, Alicent. Both you put together Aegon to rule otherwise you cleave to Rhaenyra and pray for her mercy.” He hugs her as she breaks into open sobs.
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Later, out from below her father’s embrace, Alicent will get one other dose of chilly fact, this time within the type of Lord Larys Robust spilling tea. Underneath the weirwood tree, Lord Clubfoot factors out a pink plant from Braavos that “shouldn’t be thriving right here” however, in opposition to all odds, has bloomed. (Little bit of a heavy-handed metaphor, however I’ll roll with it.) He’s probing Alicent for clues as to how and why Otto was scorned, coaxing info out of her by interesting to her feelings. “It feels one thing of an injustice,” he suggests. When she appears reluctant to share something helpful, he sprinkles a bit extra of his personal intel as bait.
He shares his concern over Princess Rhaenyra’s well being: Rumor has it that the Grand Maester was seen delivering a particular concoction to the princess’s chambers the opposite night time. Absolutely one thing should be fairly fallacious to warrant such a go to? Alicent’s face hardens. Rhaenyra sailed to Driftmark simply that morning; the princess couldn’t presumably be in poor health. And Alicent’s apparently spent sufficient time on the birthing mattress to acknowledge the maester’s abortion tea when described. And if Rhaenyra wanted Plan Tea, meaning Rhaenyra lied about her chastity (or lack thereof). Nonetheless, Alicent isn’t happy with mere rumors. Like several good reporter, she wants a main supply.
At Driftmark, an ailing Viserys and his new Hand, Lord Lionel Robust (good for ’ole Lio!), are greeted by Ser Corlys and Princess Rhaenys within the drafty fort Excessive Tide. They focus on the late Girl Rhea’s passing—what an odd coincidence, given her talent as an equestrian!—however transition to extra urgent issues: the betrothal between their son, Ser Laenor, and Rhaenyra. Corlys and Rhaenys appear amenable to this concept, however Corlys inserts a bit stinger: He presumes that, in line with Westerosi custom, Rhaenyra’s youngsters (and thereby the heirs to the throne) would preserve the surname Velaryon.
“Absolutely, Lord Corlys, you aren’t proposing the Targaryen dynasty finish with my daughter, just because she is a girl,” Viserys says. (You simply must chuckle. Rhaenys definitely does, smirking as she leans in opposition to the brittle wooden throne of their fort, Excessive Tide.) Ever the people-pleaser, the king however agrees to an “equitable compromise.” Laenor and Rhaenyra’s youngsters will bear the title Velaryon till certainly one of them is to grow to be the brand new sovereign, at which level they’d rule as a Targaryen.
Whereas their mother and father focus on the particulars, Laenor and Rhaenyra stroll alongside the coast and act out a dialog paying homage to the “wine, not the label” scene from Schitt’s Creek. Laenor likes goose, Rhaenyra roast duck. It’s implied their marriage will stay open to fulfill each tastes, as long as collectively they supply the realm with appropriate heirs. Ser Joffrey Lonmouth—Laenor’s lover—appears notably taken with this concept.
However Princess Rhaenys, Laenor’s mom, frets over these would-be heirs. She acknowledges marrying Laenor to Rhaenyra places a goal on his again, and on the backs of their eventual youngsters. If the realm didn’t settle for her, the Queen Who By no means Was, why would they settle for Rhaenyra in her stead? Rhaenys acknowledges a battle brewing, irrespective of how Corlys longs for so-called “justice.”
After the preparations are finalized, Rhaenyra and her sworn sword, Ser Criston, sail again to King’s Touchdown. It’s amongst the rolling waves that Criston approaches her, eyes virtually glowing with earnestness. (You’ll recall that, final episode, they loved a steamy night time collectively.) He’s not thrilled with the concept of Rhaenyra marrying to fulfill the whirling cogs of the crown. “If there have been one other path, one which led to freedom, would you tread it?” he asks, and it dawns on her what he’s actually after. So he simply comes out with it, inviting her to elope, to run away with him, to begin a brand new life amongst the bursting fruits and vivid landscapes of Essos. “In Essos—” he pauses, clutching his hand to his armored chest. “You would marry me.” He’s bearing all the pieces, virtually bleeding out in entrance of her, hoping she’ll rush in and staunch the wound.
However Rhaenyra, for all her deserves, is a Targaryen—and Targaryens will not be a very beneficiant brood. She smiles, touched, however can’t return his emotion. It’s wrenching to observe her face fall. It’s much more wrenching to observe his.
“I’m the crown, Ser Criston. Do you assume I might alternate infamy for a bushel of oranges or a ship to Asshai?” she asks, so completely encapsulating the delight and entitlement of her brethren. Positive, a few of Rhaenyra’s reluctance could be owed to an actual sense of responsibility—to her father, to her folks. However a lot extra of it’s about standing. Her goals of consuming solely cake and using to battle and glory, first expressed in episode 1, weren’t as pure as she’d first expressed them. Now, she needs solely to rule.
Fabien Frankel is implausible on this scene as Ser Criston, his eyes filling with tears as he acknowledges what Rhaenyra is asking of him. Not solely did he break his oath of chastity, doubtlessly sacrificing his white cloak—“the one factor I’ve to my fucking title”—however now she’s asking that he humble himself additional. “So that you need me to be your whore?” he hisses. Rhaenyra insists the Iron Throne is larger than them each, that her very title permits sure pleasures, however he tears himself away, one other casualty of the princess’s recklessness.
When the ensemble returns from Driftmark, Viserys passes out in the course of the Pink Maintain courtyard. Alicent, watching from the wall, chooses to not rush to her husband, however as an alternative summons Ser Criston to her chambers, the place she needs to query him “on a fragile matter.” And, woof, it’s a delicate matter certainly. The misunderstandings of this scene are so fraught, it’s uncomfortable to observe. Alicent needs to know in regards to the standing of her BFF’s virginity: She stumbles round the fitting wording, however she’s trying to find details about the princess’s pursuits with Daemon. Criston thinks she’s asking about Rhaenyra’s antics with him. “It occurred, Your Grace,” he says. (At this level I paused my display screen and audibly groaned right into a pillow.) He then proceeds to admit to his sins, startling Alicent, who’s pressured to place the items collectively shortly. Not solely did Rhaenyra mislead her about having intercourse, however she had it with Ser Criston! In addition to possibly Daemon?!
Emily Carey should be counseled for her capability to painting all these realizations as they every make their means, in speedy succession, throughout Alicent’s face. Criston asks for a merciful demise as punishment for his crimes. As a substitute, she lets him go. “Thanks on your honesty, Ser Criston,” she says, virtually as if chatting with Rhaenyra as an alternative of her sworn sword.
In the meantime, Viserys is dying. He is aware of it. “It hardly makes tune, does it?” he asks Ser Lionel, as he sweats in his chambers, a ghoulish patch of decayed flesh snaking up his arm. Because the lights flicker in opposition to his pale, sickly face, he questions if he’ll be remembered as king, or as an alternative one other scribble in a protracted listing of Targaryen successors. He admits to his personal weaknesses; they hang-out him as a lot as they do the dominion he serves. As soon as the Black Dread’s rider, he’s a mere apparition of his forebears. “I usually assume that, within the crucible, I may need been cast a special man,” Paddy Considine, in his greatest kind, sighs. He then permits a stirring, foreboding confession: “’Tis, maybe, greatest to not know.”
We soar, then, to Rhaenyra and Laenor’s resplendent rehearsal dinner—or, anyway, the Westerosi equal of 1. The precise set right here is beautiful, the tables overflowing and the costumes as ornate and considerate as we’ve come to anticipate, however I’ve to register a criticism in regards to the lighting. A movie of mud appears to coat the whole scene; pores and skin, wooden, metallic and cloth alike come throughout uninteresting and colorless. Even in its heyday, Sport of Thrones usually caught flack for its common lack of ability to correctly gentle a moody or grim scene. Home of the Dragon seems to be flirting with the identical error.
Fortunately, Daemon’s right here to spice up the vitality a bit. He relaxes into his chair on the head desk whereas Ser Gerald Royce calls for rationalization for Rhea’s mysterious passing. “Within the Vale, males are made to reply for his or her crimes,” Ser Gerald threatens. “And?” Daemon asks, earlier than reminding the knight that, as a consequence of his aforementioned lack of consummation with Rhea, they by no means had youngsters. Due to this fact, Daemon stands to inherit Runestone, the seat of Home Royce within the Vale. (Within the nook of the display screen, Ser Lionel—exhausted by all this drama—reaches for his wine goblet.)
Daemon’s not the one one desperate to ignite a bit controversy. Alicent, working late to the grand event, lastly arrives proper in the course of Viserys’ speech—and he or she’s wearing robe of hanging emerald inexperienced, the colour of Home Hightower when its beacon declares conflict. (Larys, for one, is dwelling for this flip of occasions.) Followers of the guide, Hearth & Blood, will acknowledge this as a major turning level for Alicent and her aspect of the Dance of the Dragons. She has misplaced all religion in Rhaenyra. She acknowledges that her father’s warnings are true. The title of this episode, “We Gentle The Approach,” additionally occurs to be the motto of Home Hightower itself. No extra will Alicent stand apart.
However that’s not all! Rather more is about to happen amidst the backdrop of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s goofy little courtship dance. Daemon and Laena strike up a flirtation rife with ulterior motives. Ser Joffrey notices Ser Criston pining after Rhaenyra, and accurately guesses that he’s the princess’s paramour. And Daemon confronts Rhaenyra, sharing Criston’s objections if not the knight’s tact: “This isn’t for you. Laenor is an efficient man and a nice knight. He’ll bore you mindless.”
Rhaenyra—maybe nonetheless pissed that her uncle deserted her in a brothel simply as issues had been getting sizzling and heavy between them—shoots again: “So take me, then. Has this not been your objective? I’m not but married. However the hours move swiftly.”
Daemon grabs her face in his palms, gripping it as if to kiss her, with Viserys watching from the top desk, seething and shocked. However we don’t get to witness if uncle and niece’s lips lock. Earlier than anybody can register the scandal, a combat breaks out, sending the whole celebration into chaos. Viserys hunts for his daughter among the many undulating crowd, however solely after a protracted second of panic does Ser Harwin Robust (a.okay.a Breakbones) throw her over one shoulder and escort her out of the kerfuffle. In the meantime, Criston is unleashing all his pent-up heartbreak onto Ser Joffrey, beating him to a pulp in a scene eerily paying homage to Oberyn Martell’s ugly demise in Thrones. The knight didn’t appear to take too kindly to Joffrey’s threats of blackmail. Laenor, seeing his lover’s ruined face and lifeless physique, shrieks with agony.
That night time, Laenor and Rhaenyra are married earlier than an intimate crowd, the banquet corridor a demolition zone of spoiled meals and particles. Criston sinks to his knees on the weirwood, mere seconds away from stabbing himself with a dagger when Alicent—lastly able to put her wheels in movement—stays his arm. And on the finish of all of it, Viserys passes out once more, leaving his destiny in query as we plunge into episode 6’s main time soar.
The following time we see these characters, they’ll feel and look completely different in additional methods than one. Alcock as Rhaenyra might be changed with Emma D’Arcy, and Carey as Alicent with Olivia Cooke. I’ll admit no small quantity of dismay at bidding Alcock and Carey goodbye; they’ve been implausible in these roles, establishing the muse so essential to carrying this collection via its many twists and turns. If we weren’t to like these characters of their youth, there’d be little motive to like them in maturity, after we can anticipate them to be extra ruthless, extra (dare I say it) unlikeable. But when that is the intimacy and intrigue that solely the primary half of Home of the Dragon has to supply, I’m virtually buzzing to obtain what comes subsequent.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an affiliate editor at ELLE, the place she covers information and tradition.