This contains potentially distressing discussions of murder, including violence against children.
WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for Fire & Blood and House of the Dragon season 1, episode 7!Rhaenyra and Daemon’s genius plan in House of the Dragon episode 7 is evidence of why they deserve the Iron Throne over Alicent. House of the Dragon’s adaptation of Fire & Blood reveals that much of the recorded history was only half of the truth, with the circumstances behind Laenor Velaryon’s “death” being a major example. The book indicated that Daemon may have hired Qarl to kill Laenor so that he could marry Rhaenyra himself, but House of the Dragon episode 7’s ending reveals that they had actually faked Laenor’s death through an elaborate ruse. Not only does this change the perception of Daemon and Rhaenyra before the Dance of the Dragons, but it also elevates their ability to rule on the Iron Throne.
Daemon and Rhaenyra tricked both history and their enemies into believing they had cruelly killed Laenor for their own gain, which is a significant demonstration of their capacity for mercy, violence, and political strategy. They still had to kill a servant of Driftmark in House of the Dragon episode 7, but secretly sparing Laenor and Qarl has far more of a historic impact. Rhaenyra and Daemon’s plan goes beyond the manipulative schemes of Otto Hightower in House of the Dragon or Littlefinger and Varys in Game of Thrones, as the Targaryens are underscoring their actions with the notion that they must rule by fostering both fear and love. Aegon’s qualifications for the Iron Throne are simply his name and status as Viserys’ firstborn son, whereas Rhaenyra is the officially declared heir, has the strategic mind to outplay her enemies, and is actively avoiding tyranny and the weaknesses of her father.
Rhaenyra & Daemon Are Playing The Game Far Better Than Alicent
The game of thrones is being played by Rhaenyra and Daemon in a manner that is calculated and strategic rather than fueled by emotion and revenge. King Viserys has been preaching that a ruler shouldn’t act based on their emotions, but feelings of resentment and fear are exactly what has driven Alicent to attack Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon. Had Rhaenyra and Daemon simply killed Laenor because they impulsively needed him out of the way, the two would be playing a game similar to Alicent and the greens. Larys Strong killed Harwin and Lyonel simply to get them out of the way, which opened up the opportunity for Otto Hightower to become Hand again.
Learning from the rumors that fueled scandal in House of the Dragon episode 4, Rhaenyra and Daemon’s plan is highly intelligent, as they understand that perception means much more than the truth. They showed mercy by secretly giving Laenor a happy ending in Essos, but are still able to reap the benefits of their enemies fearing what they may be capable of doing next. Viserys’ wife Alicent, on the other hand, reaps the benefits of others’ cruel actions or refuses to show mercy in crucial moments. Whereas Alicent actually requires such violence on her path to crowning Aegon, Rhaenyra and Daemon are wisely using the power of perception to strengthen her claim to the Iron Throne.
Rhaenyra Does What Dany SHOULD Have Done In GOT
Daenerys Targaryen was intent on “breaking the wheel” and abolishing tyranny, but Game of Thrones’ ending saw her become a tyrant to finally win the Iron Throne. When Daenerys acknowledged that the people of Westeros would not love her as they would someone like Jon Snow, she decided to rule by fear instead. What Daenerys failed to realize was that there was more power in a combination of fear and love, as she needed to show a strong hand against her enemies, but also cultivate trust and adoration from the smallfolk and major houses alike. This strategy is set to underscore Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen’s fight for the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon, which is what makes them a formidable pair against Aegon and Alicent.
HOTD Teases A Big Twist For Its Most Horrifying Moment
House of the Dragon’s most vile moment is set to be even worse than Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding, as its main victim is a 6-year-old child. George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book reveals that the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons is stained by the “Blood and Cheese” event, which is supposedly arranged by Daemon Targaryen as revenge for Aemond Targaryen murdering Lucerys Velaryon. Daemon arranges for payback through a “son for a son,” with the prince consort recruiting Mysaria, a.k.a. the White Worm, to hire the butcher Blood and ratcatcher Cheese to murder one of King Aegon II Targaryen’s sons. Blood and Cheese force Queen Helaena Targaryen to choose which one of her sons will die, so after her request to be the one killed is denied, Helaena reluctantly chooses the 2-year-old Maelor. Instead, Blood beheads the 6-year-old Jaehaerys Targaryen, leaving Helaena devastated and broken.
Blood and Cheese is considered the worst moment in the Dance of the Dragons, and is a major source of proof that Rhaenyra and the blacks have as much potential for cruelty as Aegon and the greens. However, Rhaenyra and Daemon’s violent streak was supposed to have already been demonstrated by the murder of Laenor, so House of the Dragon episode 7’s twist ending suggests they may not be entirely responsible for Blood and Cheese. It’s possible that Mysaria had arranged for the murder herself, or even Larys or another figure who wanted to betray Aegon but blame Rhaenyra. Since House of the Dragon is changing the perception of many major events from Fire & Blood, it’s likely that Blood and Cheese won’t be as simple as Daemon unforgivably sanctioning the murder of Aegon’s child.
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New episodes of House of the Dragon release Sundays on HBO/HBO Max.