Breaking Down Every Twist At Rhaenyra & Laenor's Wedding (In Detail) (2023)

WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5 AND George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood!Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding erupts into chaos as plenty of twists and plot set-ups are introduced in House of the Dragon episode 5’s ending. The imminent notion that Rhaenyra must marry has been building since House of the Dragon episode 3, with the actual wedding seeing the conflicts from both within and outside House Targaryen come to a head. From the years-long feud between Rhaenyra and Alicent to the violent jealousy of the men that can’t have the Princess, the knives finally come out in House of the Dragon episode 5 as all signs point to war.

House of the Dragon episode 5 begins with Rhaenyra accepting her duty as heir to the Iron Throne by officially becoming betrothed to Laenor Velaryon, with both making a deal to “dine” as they please. As such, Laenor intends to keep his lover Ser Joffrey Lonmouth while Rhaenyra can maintain the comfort of Ser Criston Cole, although the knight of the Kingsguard rejects simply being her paramour. When the wedding begins, all goes as planned, until Criston confesses to Alicent Hightower that he slept with Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon episode 4. Alicent then decides to show up to the celebration late while wearing the green dress of the Hightowers instead of the Targaryens’ black and red, revealing where her true loyalties lie.

Related: House Of The Dragon Already Confirmed 1 Major Fan Theory

Chaos soon breaks out as Daemon tries convincing Rhaenyra to not marry Laenor, Laena begins flirting with Daemon, Gerald Royce accuses Daemon of killing Rhea, Viserys’ nose starts bleeding, and Criston Cole kills Joffrey Lonmouth. Once the feast is cleared, Rhaenyra and Laenor marry in an intimate ceremony with blood still on the ground while Alicent stops Criston Cole from taking his own life in the godswood. As the event in which the factions of the Dance of the Dragons emerge and the seeds of the battle for the Iron Throne are planted, the wedding between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon is one that won’t be forgotten in House of the Dragon.

Alicent Wearing The Green Dress Explained

The first big twist in House of the Dragon episode 5 occurs when Alicent makes her grand entrance at the feast wearing a green dress. While this may not seem extraordinary at first glance, it’s a significant representation of where Alicent’s loyalties will lie from here on out. Larys Strong mentions that the beacon of Hightower glows green when Oldtown calls its banners to war, which is exactly what Alicent is doing in this moment. After realizing that Rhaenyra deceived her in regard to her sexual trysts, Alicent decides to move forward with her father’s advice: Keep Rhaenyra from becoming queen by working to place Aegon on the Iron Throne. She knows that Viserys will never disinherit Rhaenyra, and because the lives of her children and herself are at risk should Rhaenyra ascend the throne, Queen Alicent is making herself a formidable foe to the Princess.

Alicent has now chosen House Hightower over House Targaryen, which signals that her loyalties no longer lie with her husband King Viserys either. The Queen had previously worn the Targaryen red, black, and gold after her marriage, so the green dress is a symbol of Alicent both literally and figuratively showing her true colors. This moment also sets up the Targaryen factions during House of the Dragon’s civil war, as Alicent’s supporters will be known as the “green” party while Rhaenyra’s will be labeled the “black” party.

What Happens Between Rhaenyra & Daemon (Do They Kiss?)

(Video) Breaking Down Every Twist At Rhaenyra & Laenor’s Wedding (In Detail)

Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen share yet another heated moment in House of the Dragon episode 5, though they should have been far more discreet during the wedding. When the dancing commences, Daemon goes to the floor and pulls Rhaenyra away from Ser Harwin Strong, at which time their conversation switches to speaking in the more private High Valyrian. Daemon tells Rhaenyra that she shouldn’t marry Laenor, and continues to question if this is what she really wants. Understandably, Rhaenyra says she thought her opinion was of no consequence for Daemon, referencing how he abandoned her in the middle of their sexual encounter in House of the Dragon episode 4.

Related: What Otto Hightower Being Fired As Hand Of The King Really Means

Still, Rhaenyra lets her true feelings be known when she says that she’s technically not married yet, so if he wants her, he must cut down Viserys’ Kingsguard and take her to Dragonstone to be his wife. Daemon realizes that she’s goading him into doing such things but that she truly would go with him if they had the chance. However, the two are interrupted when the fatal fight between Criston Cole and Joffrey Lonmouth breaks out, with Rhaenyra’s proposition being forgotten. Additionally, just before the fight began, Viserys seemed to see Daemon grab Rhaenyra’s face and kiss her, but the view was blocked by others on the dance floor. Given the tension in their conversation, it seems Rhaenyra and Daemon did actually kiss, but everyone was too swept up by the fighting to notice. This moment in House of the Dragon’s big wedding proves that Rhaenyra and Daemon truly do want one another, especially since she would choose to run away with Daemon but not Criston Cole.

Laena Velaryon Sets Up Her Marriage To Daemon

While Laena Velaryon is already betrothed to the son of a Braavosi sealord, she clearly flirts with and intends to start a relationship with Daemon Targaryen. After the two are left sitting on opposite ends of the high table, Daemon and Laena both head to the dance floor where she gives him her condolences for his wife’s passing. The last time Laena Velaryon appeared on House of the Dragon she was 12 years old, but now that she’s considered a woman grown in Westeros, Daemon mentioning how pretty she is sets her up as his potential next wife.

Daemon and Laena’s flirting is extremely brief at Laenor and Rhaenyra’s wedding, but it does lead to far greater developments after House of the Dragon’s 10-year time jump. Since Rhaenyra is now married and Rhea Royce is dead, Daemon does, in fact, take Laena Velaryon as his wife. The pair even have two daughters, Rhaena and Baela Targaryen, who become dragonriders like their parents. Since House of the Dragon’s major time jump is expected to occur at the start of episode 6, it seems the series will skip over their courtship and pick up after their children are born.

(Video) Breaking Down Every Twist At Rhaenyra & Laenor’s Wedding (In Detail)

Daemon Tells Gerald Royce He’s Going To Take Runestone (Will He?)

As always, Daemon causes trouble for House Targaryen before Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding. House of the Dragon episode 5 began with the Rogue Prince killing his wife Rhea Royce, which was passed off as a hunting mishap. Daemon did so in order to allow himself to take a different wife and produce heirs, but also because he could inherit his own lands upon her death. Daemon reminds Gerald Royce that Rhea stood to inherit Runestone, and since she had no children, it’s her husband who is entitled to her claims. Gerald recognizes the truth in this threat, and has no more to say once Daemon informs him that he’ll be flying to the Vale to appeal to Lady Jeyne Arryn herself.

Related: When Is King Viserys Going To Die In House Of The Dragon?

Daemon has been on a path to achieve his own power and glory throughout House of the Dragon season 1, but it isn’t land or titles that he wants. What Daemon has really been searching for through his occupation of Dragonstone, victory in the Stepstones, and proposal of marriage to Rhaenyra is validation from his brother Viserys. Taking Runestone won’t give him this, but it will give Daemon a home inside of Westeros for the time being (since Viserys exiled him from King’s Landing). George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood reveals that Daemon does, indeed, appeal to Jeyne Arryn in the Vale. However, Lady Arryn rejects Daemon’s claim to Runestone and almost immediately sends him away, after which point he goes to Driftmark and marries Laena Velaryon.

Why Criston Cole Kills Joffrey Lonmouth

The festivities of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding come to a close when Criston Cole and Joffrey Lonmouth engage in a lethal fight. It’s difficult to even classify their dispute as a fight given Joffrey wasn’t seen hitting back, but what is certain is that Criston Cole’s fury was incredibly personal. Criston was seen beating Joffrey’s face unrecognizable, with the knight clearly having died several hits before Criston stopped punching. While not the first gory death in House of the Dragon, the gruesome manner of the killing was reminiscent of Game of Thrones’ brutal duel between Oberyn Martell and The Mountain.

(Video) House of the Dragon Episode 5: Royal Wedding With a TWIST! Milly Alcock and Emily Carey Leave HotD

House of the Dragon episode 5 didn’t show what exactly Joffrey said to incite Criston’s lethal fury, but their previous conversation at the wedding already teased the subject. Joffrey continued to press the topic of Criston being Rhaenyra’s paramour, an issue that had already been plaguing Criston throughout the episode. Criston didn’t want to be Rhaenyra’s paramour or have others know that they slept together, as it was a constant reminder that he broke his Kingsguard vows. Consequently, with Joffrey saying that they should come to an understanding in order to protect Rhaenyra and Laenor’s secrets, Ser Criston Cole broke down and placed all of his anger from the situation on the Knight of Kisses. At the moment that he was beating Joffrey, Criston’s fury was truly directed inward, but Laenor’s paramour proved an easy target for Criston to physically release his anger and guilt on. Criston likely didn’t even mean to kill Joffrey so much as make him stop bringing up his affair with Rhaenyra, but once he started beating him, he couldn’t stop.

Why Criston Cole Almost Takes His Own Life (& What Alicent Stopping Him Sets Up)

Upon confessing his sins to Alicent, Criston had already accepted the imminence of his death as punishment for breaking his vows. Appealing to Rhaenyra to run away with him was already a desperate way to relieve himself of his guilt and shame, suggesting Criston couldn’t live knowing that he had betrayed his duty as a knight of the Kingsguard and soiled his white cloak. Killing Joffrey was a lethal culmination of Criston’s guilt, so once he had gone so far as to murder an innocent man in the middle of wedding celebrations, Criston had truly resigned himself to death. By setting down his white cloak and sword before pulling out the dagger that he intended to plunge into his own heart, Criston revealed he couldn’t go on with the shame of his actions.

Related: What The Maester Gives Rhaenyra In House Of The Dragon

However, Alicent had absolved him of these sins on two occasions, once when he first confessed, and again when she stopped him from taking his own life. Alicent saved Criston’s life in House of the Dragon episode 5’s ending and already revealed she wouldn’t expose him for breaking his vow of chastity, indicating Criston’s loyalties now lie entirely with the Queen. With both Criston and Alicent feeling betrayed by young Rhaenyra Targaryen, the two are set to form an alliance that poses an incredible threat to the Princess trying to ascend the Iron Throne. In order to save her children’s lives, Alicent has to stop Rhaenyra from becoming Queen, and she’ll need someone like Criston to help crown Aegon instead. This also makes matters far worse for Rhaenyra on a personal level, as her previous best friend and former lover are both allied against her.

What Rhaenyra & Laenor Being Married Means

(Video) House of the Dragon Episode 5 | Every Twist Explained

Although both have now lost their paramours, marrying Laenor still gives the Princess a major advantage in maintaining her claim to the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra is in desperate need of powerful families in Westeros who will fiercely support her claim, as houses like the Hightowers are already working to supplant her with Prince Aegon. Considering House Velaryon is the richest family in Westeros, possesses half of the realm’s dragons, and controls the seas with the Velaryon fleet, Corlys and Rhaenys are the greatest allies that Rhaenyra could have at her side. With Laenor married to Rhaenyra, the Velaryons will continue fighting to have their own blood on the Iron Throne – even if Rhaenyra’s heir ends up bearing the Targaryen name. Rhaenyra has a massive challenge ahead of her as the realm pushes back against placing a woman on the Iron Throne, so marrying the heir to Driftmark and multiplying her succession with children is crucial to strengthening her claim.

Viserys Collapses At The Wedding: Does He Die?

Another shocking twist at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding occurs during the actual ceremony, as King Viserys I Targaryen collapses immediately after the vows are spoken. House of the Dragon episode 5 had already highlighted the extent of Viserys’ aggressive illness through his terrible seasickness, frequent coughing, collapse upon arriving at King’s Landing, and sudden nosebleed during Criston and Joffrey’s fight, so this final collapse wasn’t unexpected. While the episode didn’t reveal whether Viserys had survived the second collapse, Fire & Blood confirms that the King isn’t dead yet. Viserys’ illness has progressed rather quickly throughout House of the Dragon season 1, but his death won’t arrive until after the 10-year time jump.

What The Rat In Episode 5’s Final Shot Foreshadows

Following King Viserys’ collapse, House of the Dragon episode 5 ends on a shot of a rat drinking from the pool of Joffrey Lonmouth’s blood. This final shot is meant to set up House of the Dragon’s most brutal moment, which is certain to rival Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding and the agonizing death of Shireen Baratheon. The rat in House of the Dragon episode 5’s ending represents the ratcatcher known as Cheese, while the blood symbolizes the butcher known as Blood. The two are assassins later hired by Daemon Targaryen to kill one of Aegon II Targaryen’s young sons, which is arranged as revenge for the death of Rhaenyra’s second son. The event known as “Blood and Cheese” occurs relatively soon into the Dance of the Dragons, suggesting the devastating moment could happen in House of the Dragon season 2.

New episodes of House of the Dragon release Sundays on HBO/HBO Max.

(Video) HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Episode 7 Ending Explained

And, in result, she asked Daemon to marry her—and to do away with her first husband. After Laenor was seemingly murdered by his lover, who was paid off by Daemon, the prince and princess wed in an intimate ceremony attended by their children. (For the record, Laenor is not dead, as he escaped with his lover.)

Does Rhaenyra have her husband killed? ›

At the end of “Driftmark,” it looks as though Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen have conspired to kill Rhaenyra’s husband, Laenor Velaryon, in order to pave the way for their own marriage.

Why does Rhaenyra marry Laenor? ›

At the end of episode 4, Viserys orders Rhaenyra to marry Lord Corlys Velaryon’s son Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) in a bid to avoid scandal. However, what Viserys doesn’t know is that Rhaenyra slept with her knight Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

Why did daemon grab Rhaenyra’s face? ›

Daemon strangled Rhaenyra because he felt betrayed by Viserys. “It’s a moment that I think is surprising and shocking for Daemon as a character, but I also think it’s one of those things that’s been set up over the course of the entire season.

Does Rhaenyra sleep with Criston Cole? ›

Back in her chambers, Rhaenyra’s gaze lands on the handsome Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). After some initial reluctance by Criston, who has much more on the line as a lowborn member of the Kingsguard, Rhaenyra playfully seduces her long-standing crush and they have sex.

How old is Rhaenyra Targaryen when she dies? › At the age of eight, she was made her father’s heir, and grew up expecting to become the first ruling Queen of Westeros. Rhaenyra was a dragonrider whose mount was Syrax….

Rhaenyra Targaryen.

Queen [N 1] Rhaenyra Targaryen
Born In 97 AC
Died In 22th day of the 10th moon of 130 AC, at Dragonstone
Race Valyrian
Culture Crownlander

25 more rows Did Rhaenyra let Laenor live? ›

Rhaenyra and Daemon both know Laenor is alive, and faked his death.

What happens after Rhaenyra dies? ›

During their walk, Joffrey stops at one point to show her the final resting place of Rhaenyra Targaryen, who’s now long dead. “Rhaenyra Targaryen was murdered by her brother, or rather his dragon,” says Joffrey. “It ate her while her son watched. What’s left of her is buried in the crypts right down there.”

Is Rhaenyra son dead? ›

Rhaenrya takes the news of her son’s death none too well. The look she gives the camera upon Daemon delivering the news suggests she is ready to burn Alicent’s family alive. The Season 1 finale was named “The Black Queen,” and it seems that Rhaenyra is finally ready to take on that title.

Do Daemon and Rhaenyra fall in love? ›

Soon after being widowed, Daemon and Rhaenyra marry each other in secret when he is 39 years old, and she is 23. Their marriage causes a huge scandal at court and another rift between Daemon and Viserys, but it is eventually accepted. The couple has two sons together, Aegon and Viserys.

What happens during Rhaenyra wedding? ›

The most significant part of the wedding ceremony — and the one that the episode lingers on the most — is the blood oath, during which Rhaenyra and Daemon use dragonglass to cut themselves and mix their blood ceremonially.

Will Laenor and Rhaenyra have a baby? ›

Rhaenyra and Daemon have two sons, Aegon and Viserys, who both end up sitting on the Iron Throne. However, with their parents’ marriage being illegitimate through Laenor’s survival, Aegon and Viserys are technically bastards when serving as king.

Why did daemon choke Rhaenyra in the finale? ›

While Daemon and Rhaenyra have been circling each other for quite some time, the finale revealed a darker and more toxic aspect of their relationship when, arguing over how to proceed against Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), Daemon chokes Rhaenyra in order to get his point across.

What happens to Rhaenyra’s baby in episode 10? ›

Alas, the baby did not survive and while it wasn’t shown very well on camera, there were debates among fans whether the baby was normal-looking or deformed.

Why did Daemon suffocate Rhaenyra? ›

He chokes Rhaenyra after she starts telling him The Song of Ice and Fire prophecy and learning that Viserys kept secrets from him. Perhaps Daemon’s attack was motivated by this perceived betrayal? Part of it also may be related to his dislike of Viserys weakness.

Who took Rhaenyra virginity? ›

We last saw her find out the truth in “We Light the Way” that Rhaenyra lost her virginity to Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

Why does Daemon stop kissing Rhaenyra? ›

While House Of The Dragon episode 4 showed Daemon was able to seduce Rhaenyra by kissing and undressing her, he couldn’t fulfill the act due to impotence.

How old was Criston Cole when he slept with Rhaenyra? ›

But Dragon’s Ser Criston is likely much younger: Fabien Frankel, who portrays the knight onscreen, is 28 years old, only 8 years older than Alcock’s young Rhaenyra. That would place Criston somewhere in his late 30s or early 40s as of episode 8. Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

Who killed Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen? ›

The moment happens in season 3, episode 4, “And Now His Watch Is Ended,” when Joffrey Lannister is chilling with Margaery Tyrell and giddily explains, “Rhaenyra Targaryen was murdered by her brother, or rather, his dragon. It ate her while her son watched. What’s left of her is buried in the crypts right down there.”

Did Rhaenyra sleep with Damon? ›

After teasing their deep connection for weeks, making out in a brothel, and flirting their way through King’s Landing, uncle and niece at long last did the dirty. Not only that, but Rhaenyra and Damon literally had sex on the beach.

How was Rhaenyra killed? ›

Joffrey Baratheon spoils Rhaenyra Targaryen’s fate on Game of Thrones. As Joffrey tells us, eventually, Rhaenyra’s half-brother Aegon Targaryen will feed her to his dragon Sunfyre. She dies as her son, Aegon III, watches.

Does Rhaenyra have a child with Criston? ›

“The Princess and the Queen” opens up with Rhaenyra giving birth to her third child, another boy. Laenor decides they’ll name him Joffrey after his late lover who Criston beat to death right before he and Rhaenyra wed.

Did Rhaenyra plan for Laenor to escape? ›

But just when it seems as if Rhaenyra and her lover-uncle, Daemon Targaryen, will kill Laenor to facilitate their own marriage, the show reveals — in a major departure from author George R.R. Martin’s source material, Fire & Blood — that the trio conspired to fake Laenor’s death so he could sail away and live happily

Does Rhaenyra have a child with daemon? ›

Aegon III, aka Aegon the Younger: Rhaenyra and Daemon’s first child together.

What happens to Rhaenyra Targaryen first husband? ›

In George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, we are told of the incident where Rhaenyra Targaryen’s husband Laenor Velaryon dies while attending a fair in Spicetown, on the island of Driftmark. We learn he was “stabbed to death” by a knight in his father’s service, his paramour Ser Qarl Quarry.

How is Daenerys related to Rhaenyra? ›

Princess Rhaenyra is Daenerys’ distant ancestor in the Targaryen family tree. Princess Rhaenyra and Daenerys are distant relatives, living 200 years and about eight generations apart, as this thorough Targaryen family tree demonstrates.

What happens to Rhaenyra’s baby? ›

Rhaenyra’s baby died during childbirth.

Unfortunately, Visenya was born a month early — Rhaenyra’s labour was brought on by the news that Aegon II Targaryen had stolen the throne from her — and was stillborn.

Who does Rhaenyra marry in the books? ›

Rhaenyra and Daemon’s Marriage

Soon after being widowed, Daemon and Rhaenyra marry each other in secret when he is 39 years old, and she is 23. Their marriage causes a huge scandal at court and another rift between Daemon and Viserys, but it is eventually accepted.

Does Rhaenyra and Laenor have a child? ›

Jacaerys Velaryon Is Rhaenyra’s Firstborn Son and Heir

Firstborn son of Rhaenyra and her first husband Laenor Velaryon, Jacaerys was affectionately known to his family as Jace.

Who does Rhaenyra marry in House of Dragons? ›

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen

What is the relationship between Laenor and Rhaenyra? ›

Laenor, the son of Corlys and Rhaenys Velaryon (and second cousin of Rhaenyra), becomes the princess’s first husband as a strategic move to unite the two most powerful houses and end the question of Rhaenyra’s marriage.


1. House Of The Dragon Episode 7 Ending Explained 2. Rhaenyra reveals Laenors true nature & agrees to make the best of their arranged union #shorts 3. House Of The Dragon Season 1 Final Thoughts Q&A 4. HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Episode 5 Breakdown & Ending Explained | Review And Game Of Thrones Easter Eggs 5. Small Details You Missed In House Of The Dragon Episode 7 6. Shocking Reasons Why Rhaenyra Wanted To Run Off With Daemon? – But Not Criston Cole

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