Each week, Tarek @tarek_wm will be recapping the most recent episode(s) of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon.
Episode 7 is titled Driftmark and it isn’t the fast-paced and dramatic hour of television that its predecessor is. The first half plods along at a snail’s pace while the second half picks up and gets us to the finish line at a breakneck pace.
Our whole cast of characters has descended upon Driftmark for the funeral of Laena Velaryon who commuted suicide last week. Laena’s uncle Vaemond helps send her casket to the sea. Viserys, Alicent, Rhanerya, Laenor, and all their respective kids with the newly widowed Daemon watch on. Otto Hightower is here and is back as Hand of the King after the fiery death of Lyonel and Harwin Strong at Harrenhal which was definitely an accident.
At the funeral, Laenor and Prince Aegon are getting hammered, so much so that Laenor is just standing in the middle of the water. Corlys is embarrassed and has someone get him from the water. Meanwhile, Viserys is trying to convince Daemon to come back home but Daemon tells him Pentos is his home now. Rhanerya sends her kids Jacaerys and Lucerys to pay their condolences to their cousins and uncle where Corlys tells Luke that he’ll rule Driftmark one day. Luke retorts “if I’m ruling Driftmark that means everyone is dead.”
Later on, we see Rhanerya and Daemon on a walk on the beach. It’s the first time we’ve seen them together since Emma D’arcy took over for Milly Alcock. They’re venting about their love life which leads to them hooking up once more.
The overarching story here is that Jace and Aegon are being groomed to become king by Alicent and Rhanerya. Jace and Aegon are opposites. Jace is shyer and reserved. Aegon is over the top, cocky, and brash. Alicent keeps hammering into him that he’s going to be king one day so Aegon feels untouchable. Aegon’s brother Aemond is the typical middle child who acts out because he feels forgotten. We’ll see that rear its ugly head later on.
Aemond has been hearing a dragon all day long so later that night he goes to find it. He finds the dragon Vhagar asleep in the dunes. Vhagar is THE dragon, he’s the oldest in the Seven Kingdoms and was a part of Aegon the Conqueror’s takeover of Westeros. Aemond mounts Vhagar and takes him on a little joy ride in a thrilling and beautifully shot scene.
When Aemond lands he’s immediately confronted by Laena’s daughters who are irate that Aemond took the last memory of their mother out on a joyride. Jace and Luke step in and end up getting into a huge fight. Luke is defending his cousins but Jace calls him “Lord Strong” which sets Luke off. Luke winds up getting a knife and slashing Aemond’s eye before the Kingsguard steps in.
Back at the castle, everyone has assembled to get to the bottom of why Aemond has one functioning eye. This is the first time we’ve seen Viserys visibly angry. He just wants everyone to be one big happy family. Far from it pal. Everyone’s airing their dirty laundry including that Jace and Luke are bastards. Viserys denies it and doesn’t want to hear of it again. Alicent is so enraged that her son lost an eye that she wants the eye of one of Rhanerya’s children. Viserys squashes that idea when she rips his knife from his belt and charges at Rhanerya with it. They go back and forth a bit but tempers calm eventually. Alicent felt regretful for her actions but her father reminds her that the game of thrones is an ugly one.
Rhanerya realizes her claim to the throne is dwindling with Alicent being as relentless as she’s been. She approaches Daemon and tells him that the only way she can gain strength is if they marry EACH OTHER. “You and I are made of fire,” she says. “We were always meant to burn together.” Daemon knows they can’t marry unless Laenor is out of the picture. Daemon pays Ser Qarl to murder Laenor. They managed to fake Laenor’s death however and he’s on a rowboat sans dreads on his way to start over.
Daemon and Rhanerya have an elegant Targaryen wedding! Kidding it’s just the official and their kids there as they kiss softly to end the episode.