Ah, weddings – a time for love, and if you live in the “Game of Thrones” or “House of the Dragon” world, a time for carnage and death.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for episode 5 of “House of the Dragon.”]
In the fifth episode of the “GoT” spinoff “House of the Dragon” (Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO), there’s a wedding. So, naturally, it turns to disaster with a dramatic murder.
“GoT” sadly had the Red Wedding (season 3 episode “The Rains of Castamere,” in which Robb Stark, his mother, wife, and unborn child were brutally slaughtered). This show also had the purple wedding (“The Lion in the Rose” from season 4) in which the obnoxious villain Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) infamously choked to death, poisoned, at his own nuptials.
Now add Rhaenyra and Laenor’s ceremony to the list. Another Joffrey died at a wedding in Westeros.
This Joffrey (Solly McLeod) in “House of the Dragon” is much nicer than the one in “GoT”. He is the boyfriend of Laenor, whom Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) marries, as part of a political arrangement between their families. It turns out that Rhaenyra’s fiancé is gay, so they agree to have an open marriage where they can both see other people on the side. Laenor can continue dating Joffrey, and Rhaenyra can continue seeing her dreamy protector, Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) who she slept with last episode.
The key to this plan? Criston doesn’t want to be Rhaenyra’s mate. And, he’s furious that she won’t give up her crown to run away and marry him. He is so enraged that he becomes completely psychopathic and murders Joffrey in public, just for the crime of approaching Criston about the fact that they are both dating bride and groom. Joffrey isn’t taunting him about it, he just wants to make sure they’re all on the same page with their unconventional relationship.
But, Criston snaps and kills him, making a full pivot from Prince Charming to Michael Myers.
The wedding wasn’t exactly going well even before the murder – Daemon (Matt Smith) shows up, smiling, and his exasperated brother, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) lets him join their table, even though they had a last fight episode about Demon having sex with Rhaenyra in a brothel. You know, regular family antics. Daemon also recently murdered his own wife, and some of his family members who witness this event are unhappy with him, which creates some awkward moments.
Daemon also dances with Rhaenyra, as his angry father looks on.
To make matters worse, Alicent (Emily Carey), Rhaenyra’s former best friend and current stepmother, has now turned against Rhaenyra, ever since she found out that while defending Rhaenyra from rumors about her sex life in the last episode, Rhaenyra had lied to her. To show that she no longer supports her daughter-in-law, she makes a dramatic entrance in a green dress (which symbolizes war for her house, someone whispers on screen), interrupting the king’s speech and creating a moment Of voltage.
“Fire & Blood” book spoiler alert – this story leads to a civil war between factions that are essentially Team Alicent and Team Rhaenyra. So it’s a big step in that direction.
All of these uncomfortable interactions culminate in Criston going off the rails and murdering poor Joffrey, who should have known better than to attend a Westeros wedding. People named Joffrey should really abstain.
The episode ends with Rhaenyra and a crying Laenor tying the knot while the corpse of Laenor’s boyfriend lies in the background.
Weddings in Westeros – so romantic!