Welcome to the Ending Explained for House of the Dragon Episode 5, titled “We Light the Way”. This episode proves once again this week that House of the Dragon is the superior fantasy show on the air right now. The episode is a masterfully crafted series of very tense scenes that lead to a very dangerous and unfortunate fate for our main characters. The amazing production values are as solid as ever, and seeing the king traveling through the scene in fantastic ships and dragons flying around is quite amazing.
The episode also marks the last time we will see actresses, Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, in the roles of Rhaenyra and Alicent. Next week will open with a huge time jump, and because of it, the characters will need to be played by older actresses for the remainder of the season. It is sad to see these two go, especially when they are so good in their roles, but it also makes the story move at a good pace. There is so much detail and so much history in this story that we have much, much to tell.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Episode 5 of House of the Dragon. Read at your own risk.
Does Rhaenyra Marry Laenor Velarion?
The last episode closed with the realization that Rhaenyra might have gone too far. She followed her uncle, Daemon Targaryen, to a brothel, and they almost had sex with each other. Fortunately, Daemon stopped before anything could happen. However, the damage was already done as the rumor reached the ears of Otto Hightower, the hand of the King. Otto informed Viserys about it, and the consequences came hard and fast. Alicent questioned Rhaenyra about the rumor, and she lied to Alicent’s face, saying nothing happened.
However, something did happen when Rhaenyra lay down with his sworn Royal Guard knight, Ser Criston Cole. The consequences of that night are explored in this episode. We open with King Viserys and Rhaenyra on the road to see Lord Corlys Velaryon, with a proposal. Viserys wants to marry Rhaenyra to Laenor, Corlys’ older son. They negotiate the terms, and a deal is made. Viserys can marry her daughter to a strong family so that her claim to the throne remains strong, and Corlys marries into the Royal Family, securing that his ancestors will be Kings and Queens of the Realm.
Rhaenyra is glad that if she has to marry someone, that someone is Laenor. Rhaenyra apparently knows that Laenor likes men and not women. So, she proposes that once they are married they should fulfill their duty to the realm and their families, but that after that they should live and love whoever they want. Forced marriage should not be a reason to be miserable. Laenor is happy with the arrangement, he already has a boyfriend and seems to be pretty serious about it.
Corlys and his wife, Rhaenys seem to be happy with how things have turned out. Their family will finally be part of the Royals, and this will increase their strength. Rhaenys is a bit unsure, though. She knows that by marrying Laenor to Rhaenyra he will become a target. Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne will be challenged. The realm will not want a woman on the throne. Corlys assures his wife that they have enough strength to destroy whoever tries to stop their destiny.
By the end of the episode, Rhaenyra marries Laenor, but there are a couple of things that happen during the wedding.
What Happened During The Wedding?
The wedding, like many other weddings shown in this universe, serves as an excuse to have a bunch of characters under the same roof. This wedding will be filled with tension and lots of foreshadowing for the future.
The first thing that happens is that Daemon arrives at the wedding. This is unexpected, but Viserys accepts him instead of making a scene. Daemon was shown killing his wife earlier in the episode. Now he can marry whoever he wants, and he has also become the heir to his wife’s lands. This move has increased his power considerably. Rhaenyra dares him to take her away and marry her at Dragonstone, but Daemon does nothing of the sort. Instead, he places his eyes on another dragon lady, Laena Velaryon, the youngest daughter of Corlys Velaryon.
Before the wedding, Ser Criston Cole, Rhaenyra’s sworn Royal Guards, approaches her and proposes that they leave and build a life together in Essos. Cole seems pretty much in love with Rhaenyra. He is rejected and becomes very angry because The Princess wants him only as her plaything. During the wedding, Cole is approached by the Knight of Kisses, Laenor’s boyfriend, and Cole kills him later in a brawl. It is a very confusing scene.
Alicent on the other hand has decided she will not be an innocent thing anymore. She follows her father’s suggestion and gets ready for battle. She knows that if Rhaenyra becomes Queen, then she and her sons will be put to the sword. Likewise, she finds Ser Criston Cole ready to commit suicide but stops him. Alicent will gain a new ally in Ser Cole and get ready to betray Rhaenyra. Alicent’s mission now is to put her son Aegon on the throne. No matter what.