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House of the Dragon episode 5 review: A very ‘Game of Thrones’ wedding

The fifth episode of House of the Dragon proves yet again that no Game of Thrones wedding is uneventful

House of the Dragon episode 5 review: A very ‘Game of Thrones’ wedding
  • Ryan Gomez

Last Updated: 01.04 PM, Sep 19, 2022


Story: King Viserys and Princess Rhaenyra travel to Driftmark to propose a marriage between Rhaenyra and Leanor Velaryon, son of Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. This creates a new dilemma for Rhaenyra who is smitten with sworn protector Ser Cristin Cole, but it creates an even bigger problem for Leanor as he is gay.


Review: Showrunners Ryan J. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik have taken several liberties from the book, Fire and Blood, for their TV adaptation of House of the Dragon. One of the most interesting deviations from the source material is how Queen Alicent Hightower is depicted. Alicent is a far more relatable, and more importantly likeable character in the TV series than in the novel. This presents a very unique opportunity for the writers of the show to depict the imminent ‘Dance of the Dragons’ storyline.

Apart from King Viserys and maybe even Princess Rhaenys, the other Targaryens (Rhaenyra and Daemon), despite their few redeeming qualities, are obsessed with power. And they are often shown to depict their darker side, Daemon in particular. Of course, Daemon’s macho charisma will earn him a few fans, but he remains the story’s most morally grey character.


Another interesting development in the episode is how Lord Larys Strong, son of Lord Lyonel the new Hand of the King, has essentially become an archetype of Lord Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish. His conversation with Queen Alicent seems to suggest that he could play a vital part in the rift between Rhaenyra and Alicent, and he appears to have already chosen his side. He has already begun sowing seeds of doubt in a manner which might as well have been straight from Littlefinger’s playbook.

The wedding between Rhaenyra and Leanor becomes the centre stage of all the simmering political squabbles. Ser Cristin Cole, for obvious reasons, does not find the festivities enthralling. Whereas, a weary Viserys has almost accepted defeat in understanding the drama unfolding around him. While the wedding is by no means as ghastly or shocking as the ‘red wedding’ or the ‘purple wedding’ from Game of Thrones, it is certainly just as riveting.


The episode titled, We Light the Way, will also be the last time Milly Alcock and Emily Carey will essay the roles of Rhaenyra and Alicent, as older versions of the characters will be played by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively. Both Alcock and Carey have essayed their roles with gravitas and conviction. The ‘game of thrones’ in House of the Dragon is truly in motion and the second part of the series promises plenty of action, drama, and dragons.

Verdict: The series has delivered its best episode yet, with all the pieces now in place for the highly anticipated ‘Dance of Dragons’ storyline to commence. It remains to be seen how much it will deviate from George R R Martin’s Fire and Blood, but showrunners Ryan J. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik have managed to find the right balance between a faithful adaptation and new storylines.