‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 5 recap: ‘We Light the Way’ closes a chapter, however not earlier than referring to a painful trope (SPOILERS)

Editor’s Word: The next comprises spoilers in regards to the fifth episode of “House of the Dragon,” which premiered Sept. 18.


“House of the Dragon’s” fifth episode is definitely important for logistical causes, basically marking the tip of the chapter earlier than the present time jumps forward, that includes older variations of some characters and considerably shuffling the deck.

But the hour might generate as a lot buzz for a brutal demise that occurred, inviting dialogue of outdated considerations and wounds about the way in which that LGBTQ characters are handled – and extra to the purpose, killed off – in TV dramas.

The strides made by way of better inclusion have coincided with debate about how these characters are portrayed and the fates that they meet, giving rise to a much-discussed trope often called “Bury Your Gays.” The phrase refers to a historical past during which homosexual characters have disproportionately died as a plot machine, creating the impression they’re extra expendable within the eyes of storytellers.

On condition that, the “Game of Thrones” prequel probably waded into controversy with its most up-to-date episode, subtitled “We Light the Way,” which once more demonstrated, amongst different issues, that in Westeros not a lot good ever occurs at weddings. (The sequence performs on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

As a part of the plot, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) agreed to a wedding of comfort to Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) – a royal merger designed to fortify their respective strains’ maintain on energy, the place they’ll indulge their “appetites” elsewhere.

Understanding that Laenor is homosexual, Rhaenyra – having been reminded by her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) that marriage is merely a political association – reassured him that they might basically reside separate lives, permitting him to proceed his relationship with Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod). Rhaenyra, in the meantime, had been dallying with a knight of her personal, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

On the marriage ceremony feast, Joffrey let it’s identified to Criston that he’s conscious of the knight’s relationship with Rhaenyra, which clearly unsettled and disturbed him. When the occasion chaotically erupts in violence a short time later, Criston is on prime of Joffrey, brutally pounding him to demise through the melee. He then flirts with taking his personal life, earlier than Rhaenyra’s budding political rival, Alicent (Emily Carey), intervenes.

Martin’s imaginative and prescient is of a medieval world the place life is usually low cost. That features every thing from orgies to incest, and from the horrors of childbirth to securing regal succession even when meaning marrying off under-age women.

Nonetheless, introducing the connection between Laenor and Joffrey solely to dispatch the latter so shortly and horribly virtually instantly prompted questions on Twitter on Sunday evening about whether or not the “Bury Your Gays” trope applies right here. Notably, previous discussions of the observe have usually surrounded science fiction and fantasy sequence, together with “The 100” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and extra lately, BBC America’s darkish spy thriller “Killing Eve.”

It’s additionally value noting that in “Game of Thrones’” heyday some requested if the present had a “gay problem,” as Vulture put it in a 2016 piece citing the variety of LGBTQ characters who, up till that time, had met a violent finish.

The arc of Laenor’s character doesn’t conclude with the newest episode. How that story unfolds might probably offset or soften this newest flip of occasions within the eyes of those that would criticize it.

For now, although, primarily based on the high-profile nature of the franchise that magnifies virtually every thing in regards to the sequence, “House of the Dragon” might face some near-term warmth.

HBO declined a request to deal with the episode.