House of the Dragon Episode 5: Avoid Weddings at All Costs in Westeros

We should have seen it coming. 

It’s not a Westerosi wedding if it doesn’t end in death. House of the Dragon Episode 5 marks the end of the first volume of season one, setting the foundations for the discord to come. And what an ending it was. 

If the first four episodes focused on the Targaryens—Viserys (Paddy Considine), Daemon (Matt Smith), and Rhaenyra (Millie Alcock)—the fifth focuses on everyone else. Episode 5 sees the ambition and glory of House Velaryon, with enough scenes to finally satisfy our hunger for more Rhaenys. Eve Best steals the spotlight every time she graces the screen, and her handful of scenes has made us even more excited of the bigger role she’ll play in the second half of season one. Meanwhile, Rhaenys’ children Laenor (Theo Nate) and Laena (Savannah Steyn) also get the screen time they deserve. In just one episode, House of the Dragon managed to flesh out House Velaryon in a far more human way than all the previous episodes combined. 

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Photo by HBO.

The same can be said for Kingsguard Criston Cole (Fabian Frankel), who is revealed to be grappling with a lack of self-worth, which will no doubt fuel his righteousness and ambition in the war to come. In short, House of the Dragon displays how one man’s fragile ego will change the course of (fictional) history. Hurt seems to be the running theme of the episode, as Alicent (Emily Carey) is clearly hurt when she learns that Rhaenyra lied to her. A lie that is perhaps the first domino to fall in the chain of events that will lead to a civil war. 

As for the Targaryens, Viserys’ health is failing, no doubt a metaphor for his failings as king. Meanwhile, Daemon casually kills his wife, but fans just love ignoring all of his red flags. All the events and character developments in Episode 5 reach a pinnacle when Rhaenyra and Laenor's wedding begins. And as is custom with Westerosi weddings, it was a brawl. We’re sure we weren’t the only ones who felt our blood pressure go up the minute the celebration began. Lines are drawn and sides are taken. Alicent makes a showstopping appearance dressed in Hightower green, inadvertently dividing King’s Landing into Team Alicent and Team Rhaenyra. Then there’s Daemon, who we don’t see actually see start the fight, but most likely did. And of course, Criston Cole’s fragile ego explodes in a flurry of fists when he pummels Laenor’s lover to death. 

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Photo by HBO.

Suffice to say, it was just another happy wedding day in Westeros. The episode ends with Rhaenyra marrying the grief-stricken Laenor, Criston finding an unlikely ally in Alicent, and Viserys fainting under the weight of his failure. A fitting end to the first volume of season one of House of the Dragon. 

Episode 5 will be the last for the actors who played the younger counterparts of the protagonists, namely Millie Alcock as young Rhaenyra Targaryen, Emily Carey as young Alicent Hightower, Theo Nate as young Laenor Velaryon, and Savannah Steyn as young Laena Velaryon. Despite only appearing for five or fewer episodes, they’ve certainly made their mark on House of the Dragon. 

Stream House of the Dragon on HBO Go in the Philippines. New episodes drop every Monday at 9 a.m. Philippine time. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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