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Review of House of the Dragon Episode 5: Death and Doom Dominates Westeros’ Royal Wedding

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This fifth episode of the House of the Dragon follows a royal wedding that took an unexpected turn, leaving blood on the hands of our darlings, Daenerys and Jon. Check out our review of the episode below.

The 5th episode of the House of the Dragon.

Cast of House of the Dragon Ep 5: Milly Alcock, Paddy Considine, Fabien Frankel

Episode 5: House of the Dragon Creators: Ryan Condal, George R. R. Martin

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar

in Westeros, happily-ever-after is not always achievable. Well, if the events of the latest episode of House of the Dragon are any indication. It is indeed very short on gruesome scenes and it may not end in carnage but its trappings are just as palpable as the Red Wedding and at least as death-defying. As seen in the previous episode of the show, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock), the presumptive heir to the Iron Throne following her father’s agreement to a marriage with Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan) to strengthen her claim and make her position more stable.

As one of the strongest houses in Westeros, King Viserys plans on matchmaking Prince Viserys and Princess Rhaenys for an all-around good gain for him. The only problem is convincing the House’s head Lord Corlys to agree with the match, but to overcome the minor setbacks, King Viserys, himself, goes to Driftwood to have a word with the House’s Lord and the Daughter of his dearly departed sister. After an intense bout with seasickness, a frail King Viscerys manages to reach Driftwood where he organizes the biggest alliance between the two houses and it was successful. In a different scene, we see Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan) enjoying each other’s company while reflecting on their own set of ideals. They decide to view their marriage as an act of duty but leave love decisions in their hands.

Rhaenyra (Alcock) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) have been having a dalliance in the last episode. Cole proposes to Rhaenyra after her marriage to Laenor has been approved. Although not totally showing what his character was feeling, Frankel truly shined in portraying the naïveté of his character in the one moment. Love can cause judgement to cloud the rational more than anything, and in this case Ser Criston seemed to forget Rhaenyra’s ability to go back on her decision. Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) who has been fired as Hand of the King, alerts his daughter Queen Alicent (Emily Carey) that he might not have as much influence after King Viscerys leaves and Rhaenyra ascends to the throne. Although conflicted over whether she should trust her friend, the words of the dragon born Rhaenyra over the situation that resulted in her father losing his position as King’s Hand, Alicent eventually learned some hard truths.

In Westeros, the royal wedding festivities begin with a celebration where King Viscerys I’s ill health is evident. Until that point, Prince Dareon Targaryen (Matt Smith) whose brief cameo on the new episode unexpectedly puts one of the more troublesome foes in his way – his wife, Rhea Royce, Lady of Runestone – well out of his way. With no hope of procreating in his past, an embittered man accompanies his sister’s son’s bride to her wedding feast in the northern kingdom. A fight ensues that’s ended by one of the infamous knights of Westeros with his face and hands drenched in blood. After a gory incident at the ball, Queen Rhaenrya and Prince Laenor were wedded in an intimate ceremony while King Viscerys seems to suffer further after this event.

The fifth episode of the show is a major turning point for all its characters. From King Viscerys’ survival to Ser Criston Cole’s future and Alicent’s freshly gained perspective on things, there are some big changes in the dynamics of the show’s core characters that we can expect in the next episode. From the way it was teasingly touched upon in the last episode, the fifth episode highlights Rhaenyra and Daemon’s moments where they provoke one another and provoke a riot that was incited at her wedding. It will be interesting to see how things proceed.

With regards to the performances of the episode, Fabian Frankel portrays the difficult-to-watch parts very well, including Ser Criston Cole’s dual personality. It’s a portrayal of sympathy inducing levels, and Frankel succeeds in transmitting this sensation of sadness. Emily Carey’s latest scenes in this week’s episode are a change for her character. While there aren’t a lot of Emily’s scenes in this episode, she changed her posture when she arrived to the pre-wedding bash wearing a color proclaiming House Hightower’s military declaration of war. His portrayal of Daemon Targaryen continues to impress with its coldness and unpredictable nature.

We are now halfway through House of the Dragon’s first season, and the show has been successful in bringing us back to Westeros after Game of Thrones. While the first half of episode five of the fifth season starts out slow, it builds up for an ending that is unexpectedly dark. The makers of House of the Dragon have stuck to the classic GOT roots for the most part, while also surprising us, and that’s probably what has made it so enjoyable so far.

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