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Just after a decade time jump in last week’s episode of House of the Dragon, tensions continue to rise in Sunday night’s seventh episode.
After disappearing for several episodes after being removed as Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) returns in the seventh of 10 House of the Dragon episodes, entitled Driftmark.
The episode’s title is the island south of Dragonstone that is the home of House Velaryron, as tensions rise between Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke), leading to a surprising attack from Alicent on Rhaenyra that has left House Targaryen more divided than ever and lead to a shocking wedding between Rhaenyra and her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith).
Otto returns: After disappearing for several episodes after being removed as Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) returns in the seventh of 10 House of the Dragon episodes, entitled Driftmark
Tensions: The episode’s title is the island south of Dragonstone that is the home of House Velaryron, as tensions rise between Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke)
Attack: The episode’s title is the island south of Dragonstone that is the home of House Velaryron, as tensions rise between Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke), leading to a surprising attack from Alicent on Rhaenyra that has left House Targaryen more divided than ever and lead to a shocking wedding between Rhaenyra and her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith).
The episode begins with a tomb being prepared, the body of Lady Laena, who had her dragon kill her after she could not bear her child.
The Velaryon and Targaryen families are all present at the ceremony, when suddenly Prince Daemon (Matthew Smith) starts laughing for some reason.
Her stone tomb is dropped into the sea, resting at the bottom, while we see dragons fly overhead the ceremony.
Rhaenyra approaches her son Jace and asks where his father, telling him their cousins could use a kind word from him but he doesn’t want to.
Criston tells Alicent that Larys has been staring at her since they arrived, as we see Jace approach his cousins and offer a kind word as his mother suggested.
Corlys approaches Lucerys and says he doesn’t want to be the Lord of the Tides because that means that everyone will be dead.
Viserys approaches Daemon, offering kind words, saying the gods can be cruel as Daemon says, ‘It seems they’ve been especially cruel to you.’
‘You should return with us to King’s Landing. It’s time you came home,’ Viserys says, but Daemon says Pentos is his home.
Viserys says there is a place on his court for him, if that is something that he needs, but Daemon says he needs nothing, and walks away.
He sees Otto Hightower, who expresses his condolences, as Daemon tells him, ‘No matter how fat the leech grows, it always wants for another meal.’
Otto goes and gets Aegon and tells him to get to bed as night begins to fall.
Rhaenys (Eve Best) and Corlys (Steve Toussaint) are talking in their chambers, as Rhaenys says her daughter wanted to come home and he wouldn’t let her.
Corlys says the maesters in Pentos are just as well trained as those here, as Corlys again mentions that Rhaenys should have been Queen years ago.
‘Mayhaps the gods have scorned us… For our insatiable pride,’ Rhaenys says, as Corlys adds, ‘The crown was yours until those fools at the Great Council plucked it from your head. Is it such a terrible thing for your husband to wish to win it back?’
‘Tonight of all nights, let us lay aside this falsehood. It is not justice for your wife that drives you. It is your own ambition. ‘Tis desire for the throne if not for yourself, then for the scions of your house. I gave up the idea of wearing a crown a generation ago. It is you, lord husband, who refuses to abandon this pursuit, even now, at the cost of our children,’ she says.
Rhaenys says, ‘I want Driftmark to pass through Laena’s line to Baela. To true Velaryon blood. Declare it now, while all are gathered here, and we will say that is how we will honor Laena’s memory.’
He asks why she wants to, ‘disinherit our son?’ as she adds, ‘He will be the King Consort. His son will one day sit the Iron Throne. ‘
‘Rhaenyra’s children are not of your blood. But Laena’s are. They are her legacy,’ she says, but he adds, ‘History does not remember blood. It remembers names.’
The episode cuts to Rhaenyra and Daemon walking along the beach, as she tells him, ‘Laenor has been restless for years, but now, he will be useless. Or worse. I know better than anyone that our marriage is a farce. But I at least make the effort to maintain appearances.’
He tells her, ‘You have more to lose,’ and she adds, ‘Yes, well, that has been my lot since my father named me heir. We did try… To conceive a child. We performed our duty as best we could. But to no avail. There was no joy in it. I found that elsewhere. -It felt good to be desired.’
He adds, ‘I understand Ser Harwin was quite… Devoted to you,’ and she says she should have forbid him from going to Harenhaal.
Rhaenyra still clearly has feelings for her uncle Daemon, telling him, ‘You abandoned me,’ but he adds, ‘I spared you. You were a child.’
‘Yes. Yes, I was a child. And look at what my life became without you,’ she tells him.
She asks if he loved her and he says they were, ‘happy enough,’ as she starts to get close to Daemon again.
‘I am no longer a child,’ she says as they kiss on the beach before moving to another more private place ass they begin to disrobe and have sex.
Alicent’s son Aemond (Leo Ashton) is seen running along the beach, approaching the dragon Vhagar, which belonged to the late Laena, and waking it up.
He complained in previous episodes that he wouldn’t have a dragon, and was even pranked by Aegon, giving him a pet pig dressed as a dragon.
The dragon starts to open his fiery mouth but Aemond calms him by stating, ‘Dohaeras! Dohaeras, Vhagar! Lykiri! Lykiri!’ in High Valyrian.
He issues some more commands and the dragon takes off, as a screaming Aemond struggles to hang on as the dragon ascends into the sky… while his cousins watch.
He starts maneuvering the dragon with ease, smiling and laughing atop the beast.
Meanwhile, Baela (Bethany Antonia) wakes up Jace and tells him that, ‘Someone stole Vhagar,’ not knowing it was Aemond.
Aemond returns and finds his cousins waiting for him as Baela is angry Aemond claimed the dragon that was herss to claim.
‘Vhagar has a new rider now,’ and Baela complains that was hers to claim and he says she should have claimed it then.
‘Maybe your cousins can find you a pig to ride,’ Aemond says as a fight breaks out after Aemond says Rhaenyra’s sons are bastards.
The fight continues until Aemond gets sliced over his eye when the knight Harrold Westerlig breaks it up.
The whole family gathers as Viserys demands answers about what happened and the maester says Aemond’s eye has been lost.
Rhaenyra’s sons say that Aemond called them bastards, which is clearly a touchy subject that Viserys never wants broached.
‘It was my sons who were attacked and forced to defend themselves. Vile insults were levied against them.The legitimacy of my sons’ birth was put loudly to question,’ Alicent says
They ask where Ser Laenor is as Alicent jokes he is probably entertaining young squires, as Viserys demands to know where Aemond heard those lies.
He says Aegon told him, and Viserys asks where he heard it and he says, ‘Everyone knows. Just look at them.’
Viserys says, ‘This interminable infighting must cease! All of you! We are family! Now make your apologies and show good will to one another. Your father, your grandsire, your king demands it!’
‘That is insufficient. Aemond has been damaged, permanently, My King. “Good will” cannot make him whole,’ Alicent says.
He asks how she wants to be ‘made whole’ and she says, ‘I shall have one of her son’s eyes in return.’
‘Do not… Allow your temper to guide your judgment,’ Viserys says, as Alicent says, ‘If the King will not seek justice, the Queen will. Ser Criston… Bring me the eye of Lucerys Velaryon.’
‘He can choose which eye to keep, a privilege he did not grant my son,’ Alicent says, as Rhaenyra says, ‘You will do no such thing.’
‘And let it be known: Anyone whose tongue dares to question the birth of Princess Rhaenyra’s sons should have it removed,’ Viserys says as Rhaneyra thanks him.
Alicent pulls out a dagger and decides to take it out on Rhaenyra, trying to attack her but she was stopped.
Aemond says, ‘Do not mourn me, Mother. It was a fair exchange. I may have lost an eye… But I gained a dragon.’
Otto goes to see his daughter Alicent, who says she has, ‘conducted myself in a manner… Unbefitting my station. Or any other. I lost composure… Assaulted the Princess. Already the word is spreading, the gossip speculating that I’ve gone mad. All true. I disgraced myself. And ensured my husband’s favor will forever rest on her.’
Otto says, ‘I’ve never seen that side of you, my daughter. I even doubted its existence.’
She says it was ‘ugly’ and she regrets it but he says, ‘We play an ugly game. And now, for the first time, I see that you have the determination to win it.’
He says that Alicent sees Rhaenyra for what she is and, ‘what the King’s stubbornness has wrought.’
He adds that Viserys will forgive her and he tells her to, ‘go to him, be penitent, plead the injury to your son. Keep a grip on your passions. And I promise you, in time, you and I together will prevail. What that rogue Aemond has done in winning Vhagar to our side. The boy was right. It’s worth a thousand times the price he paid.’
The episode cuts to Rhaenyra, whose sons are being tended to by Maester Kelvyn who says a broken nose is the worst injury, when Laenor arrives.
‘I should’ve been there. Those should be our house words. I have fought dreadful enemies, but I could not defend my dear sister far from home and in agony,’ he says.
She tells him, ‘Aemond called our sons bastards,’ and he says, ‘I have failed you, Rhaenyra. Our marriage… I tried. Our boys… I do love them. But I have not, mayhaps… Loved them enough.
She adds that she, ‘had hoped to bear your children. The few times we lay together. Things might’ve been different. I hate the gods for making me as they did. I do not. You are an honorable man with a good heart. It’s a rare thing. We made an arrangement all those years ago to do our duty and… Yet explore happiness.’
‘But there are times I think when these things cannot mutually exist. Ser Qarl will return soon to the fighting in the Stepstones. But I recommit myself to you. And to strengthening our house as we prepare you for your ascension. I will raise our sons to be princes of the realm. You deserve better than what I have been. You deserve a husband,’ he tells her.
Rhaenyra is speaking with Daemon, telling him, ‘Fire is such strange power. Everything that House Targaryen possesses is owed to it. Yet it has cost us both what we loved. Perhaps the Velaryons knew the truth of it. The sea is the better ally. Fire is a prison. The sea offers an escape.’
Meanwhile, Laryss talks with Larys Strong, who says what happened to her son was, ‘A perversion of justice. The young prince… Defiled. An outrage. Indeed. If it’s an eye you want to balance the scales, I am your servant.’
She says, ‘That will not be necessary. But your devotion has not gone unnoticed. These are dangerous times. The day will doubtless come when I require such a friend. With not only skill but discretion as well,’ as he says, ‘I shall await your call, my Queen.’
Rhaenyra tells Daemon, ‘I need you, Uncle,’ but he says, ‘We could not marry unless Laenor were dead,’ and she says, ‘I know.’
Daemon finds Laenor’s secret lover Ser Qarl (Arty Froushan), telling him, ‘I’ve heard about your exploits in the Stepstones, Ser Qarl. Said to be a knight of remarkable skill.’
He says he is common born and has no land but Daemon says, ‘There are places across the Narrow Sea… Where it doesn’t matter what a man’s name is? Only how much gold he possesses.’
Qarl asks what he wants him to do, and Daemon says, ‘A quick death. One with witnesses.’
Laenor finds Qarl and they start battling, while other knights look on as Daemon says in voice over that Rhaenyra should, ‘grant him this kindness. Set him free.
While they keep fighting and guards are alerted, Rhaenyra says, ‘This will cost Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys their only remaining child. And the realm will whisper that I was somehow responsible,’ though Daemon suggests, ‘They will fear what else we might be capable of.’
Corlys arrives and finds the charred remains of his only son, as a furious Corlys asks the knights how this could happen in his own house.
The episode cuts to the wedding of Rhaenyra and Daemon as their children look on as they kiss.
The final shot of the episode finds Qarl waiting in a small boat while another hooded man runs towards the boat… revealed to be Laenor, who has cut off all his hair and rows the boat towards a waiting ship as the episode comes to an end.
The preview for next week’s episode shows Otto Hightower, now restored as Hand of the King, revealing, ‘As Hand, I speak with the King’s voice on this and all other matters.’
Rhaenys says, ‘Tomorrow, the Hightowers land their first blow,’ while Rhaenyra adds, ‘Those vipers rule in my father’s name,’ as Daemon says, ‘To King’s Landing then.’
It is said that Corlys, a.k.a. The Sea Snake, ‘has taken a grave wound in battle in the Stepstones. Who will take the Driftwood throne?’
Viserys angrily says, ‘The crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided,’ as another large time jump is teased, as the one-eyed Aemond is seen as an adult, greeting his cousins.
Return: The episode ended with Rhaenyra, fed up with life in King’s Landing, returning to her family’s ancestral home, Dragonstone
Laenor: While Rhaenyra and Laenor are a mixed-race couple, all three of their children are white, as it’s learned Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) has been having a secret affair with Rhaenyra and has fathered their children
Terrified: Queen Alicent was clearly terrified by the revelation of his actions, as Larys is heard telling Alicent in the trailer that she has to be ‘feared’ to be an effective queen