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Laenor Velaryon

Laenor Velaryon’s death was altered by a House of the Dragon twist, but there was a catch.

The programme appears to deviate greatly from George R. R. Martin’s original work, albeit perhaps not by as much as you might assume.


With the exception of a 10-minute, dialogue-free scene of victory for Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), House of the Dragon’s first season thus far has been heavy on political manoeuvring, alliances, and scheming and low on actual conflict, combat, and violence.


Some people, including myself, don’t mind because you can find that additional material in other fantasy series. The world of Game of Thrones does this by introducing human dynamics from works like Succession into a fictional setting. Let’s see how the plots of these two-steps-ahead types of thinkers work out when dragons, blood alliances, and murder are involved. We know what Kendall Roy and Connor Roy are like when they’re in contemporary, corporate New York City.


Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and Larys Strong, the two main puppet masters of House of the Dragon, played prominent roles in episode seven, titled “Driftmark” (Matthew Needham). But by the end of the episode, neither of them had taken part in what would turn out to be the biggest, most complex, and most important power play yet on the show: impersonating the death of a crucial figure in Westeros, Laenor Velaryan (John MacMillan), in order to cause a substantial power shift in favour of Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy).


What? You said we should fake the death? Yes, you read that correctly. If you didn’t catch that while watching “Driftmark,” don’t worry. The breakdown is available right here.

Laenor Velaryon: Does She Still Exist?


Laenor Velaryon did not pass away, as was abundantly obvious from “Driftmarkconclusion. “‘s Instead, rather, he was seen in a boat with his fellow knight and lover Ser Qarl, rowing off, presumably towards the places across the Narrow Sea where Daemon earlier told Qarl that “it doesn’t matter what a man’s name possesses—only how much gold he possesses.”


It turns out that Daemon and Qarl played a little prank on each other in that exchange. At first glance, it would have appeared that Qarl was drawn to the notion because it was “golden.” But in truth, it was the notion that a name was meaningless. It probably wasn’t too difficult for Daemon to persuade Laenor to agree to the concept of a life of riches and obscurity, which he also successfully marketed to Qarl.


Both Rhaenyra and Daemon fabricated Laenor’s death knowing that he was still alive.


The episode’s conclusion is cut in a very, very, very clever and intriguing way; we witness a conversation between Daemon and Rhaenyra in which they both express a clear understanding that a war with “the Greens”—the Hightowers and those who support them—is imminent following King Viserys’s unavoidable demise (Paddy Considine). And by combining the Targaryen force, they can best defeat that expanding house, which has now attained dragonlike strength as a result of that brat Aemond effectively trading his eye for Laena’s former dragon, Vhagar.


And if Rhaenyra and Daemon (who is now single) work together and become married, that power can be increased. They are indeed uncle and niece. Yes, it is offensive. Even while we recognise this, we still have to proceed.


However, as long as Laenor is involved, Daemon and Rhaenyra are unable to get hitched. So, despite his recent commitment to stay put and be a wonderful husband and father—or, at the very least, as good as he can be—our Targaryen couple come up with a scheme to cut him out of the picture. Although it is assumed that they will have him killed, the real strategy is exposed in the conclusion: they require dread of Rhaenyra. They need rumours that she actually ordered the murder of her spouse. They therefore require people to honestly, sincerely think that it occurred while also understanding that it will never be possible to conclusively establish that she was involved.


Thus, their plan—to severely burn a body and claim it was Laenor, complete with an unbiased witness who can assert that Qarl was insulting his friend—went into effect. Though they didn’t actually lose their final child, Lord Corlys (Steve Toussaint) and Rhaenys (Eve Best) genuinely feel that they did. And now that Daemon and Rhaenyra may wed, their home will be significantly stronger.


Rhaenyra has so far been shown by House of the Dragon as being kind despite her position of authority; she wouldn’t murder a good person like Laenor only for her personal political advantage. She is a crafty and resourceful person who would figure out a way to make things work out for the two of them.


It’s also a great opportunity for Daemon to develop his character after we saw him kill his first wife for political reasons in a previous episode. We’re not about to absolve him of responsibility, but it’s evident that he’s evolving from the irrational troll he was for the majority of Season 1 into a serious player in this power battle.


Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin depicts Laenor’s death in a different way.


Laenor doesn’t have quite as pleasant of an ending in George R. R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood, which tells the history of Westeros and served as the inspiration for House of the Dragon. According to that version, Ser Qarl does kill Laenor at a fair in Spicetown. It is claimed that the two men were at odds and that Qarl was envious that Laenor had developed feelings for a fresh, younger male soldier in their ranks. The unreliable historian and storyteller of Westeros, Mushroom, claimed that Qarl killed Laenor on behalf of Daemon.


But since Fire & Blood is essentially a history textbook on Westeros, it’s also important to keep in mind that this is how the events we witnessed in the show would be recorded. Only those who were privy to the plan, in which Laenor faked his death, would know that Qarl and Laenor were involved. In this sense, the events of House of the Dragon would be remembered exactly as they occurred.

Thank you, Mr. Martin.

Chris M Walker

Journalist at Flaunt Weekly

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