‘House Of The Dragon’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained – How Did Rhea Die?


There are few who think about the well-being of the kingdom, and there are few who are driven by personal desires and aspirations. There are few who are bound by duty, and there are also those who just want to act out their will, even if it means a departure from the set code of conduct. When these two kinds of forces collided with each other in “House of the Dragon,” Episode 5, an explosion took place, and the tremors shook the very foundations of Kings Landing. When Criston Cole, a noble knight, decided to cross the moral boundary, he expected that it would be worth it. He viewed his relationship with Rhaenyra to be pure, contrary to the Princess, who viewed him just as an object of appeasement. With Viserys’ health deteriorating every passing day, it was imperative to take a decision on Rhaenyra’s marriage sooner rather than later. Episode 5 of “House of the Dragon,” titled “We light the Way,” makes us privy to many revelations and developments that would potentially decide the fate of the House Targaryen.

 Spoilers Ahead

Lady Rhea’s Murder

Lady Rhea Royce was Daemon’s wife, and we are introduced to her character for the very first time in the 5th episode of “House of the Dragon”. Till now, we had only heard about Daemon’s dislike for her and how he did not leave any opportunity to undermine her presence in his life. The Vale of Arryn was going for a hunt when Daemon came in front of her. She was surprised by seeing him in Vale, as he seldom came there. Daemon and Rhea had not consummated their marriage as the former never wanted to have a child with her. Daemon had been asked to leave Kings Landing by Viserys, and his offer to get married to Princess Rhaenyra was also put down by the king. Daemon had arrived with a purpose. Rhea saw a malicious intent in his eyes. Before she could even take out her weapon, Daemon pulled the halter of her horse which made her fall to the ground. It initially seemed like Daemon would walk off, but Rhea provoked him. Daemon picked up a stone and murdered the Lady of Runestone then and there. It cannot be said for sure whether Daemon actually came with the intention of killing her. Maybe he would have left if Rhea hadn’t triggered him, or maybe not. But one thing is for sure: Daemon didn’t value his relationship, and it didn’t matter to him if she was alive or dead. For the longest time, the Targaryen prince was in an illicit relationship with Mysaria. Now, his desire to be with Rhaenyra superseded everything else in his life. It felt like he was ready to put everything at stake if it could get him married to the heir to the Iron throne. Viserys always thought that he wanted to marry his daughter only because she had been named the heir. But that was not true. Daemon and Rhaenyra genuinely liked each other and were somewhere inclined to build a future together.

A Deal Between Rhaenyra And Laenor Velaryon

Viserys sailed to Driftmark in order to offer her daughter’s hand to Lord Corlys’ son. Viserys was in a deplorable state. He knew that he wouldn’t survive for long. His wounds were not healing, and now the infection had spread to almost the entire body. Viserys just wanted to form an alliance with the strongest house of the realm. He was skeptical as his relationship with Lord Corlys went downhill after he refused to marry his daughter, Laena Velaryon. Lyonel Strong, the new hand of the king, who had replaced Otto Hightower, had suggested to him that, from a political standpoint, it would be the best decision to get Rhaenyra married to Laenor. Lord Corlys was a shrewd man. Before allowing his son to marry Princess Rhaenyra, he wanted to know if their children would bear his surname or not. Viseyrs agreed to the proposition. He said that the children would have the surname Velaryon, but the one who would sit on the Iron throne would take the title of Targaryen. Lord Corlys felt that it was a fair deal and hence accepted the offer.

Rhaenyra knew that Laenor, too, didn’t want to get married. She knew of his inclinations and likings. The rumor that Laenor Velaryon was in a homosexual relationship with Joffrey Lonmouth was actually true. Rhaenyra took the opportunity and went for a walk with Laenor. She made him understand that they both couldn’t do much about the decision that their fathers had taken, but what they would do after that was totally their own prerogative. Rhaenyra told him that he didn’t have to sever ties with his love interest and could continue doing whatever he wanted to. Laenor liked the arrangement, and it was probably the best he could ask for. Rhaenyra had indulged with Ser Criston Cole, and she wanted to keep doing it even after her marriage. Also, Daemon’s involvement in her life was a crucial factor behind her extending that kind of offer to Laenor.

See More: The Love Triangle Between Rhaenyra, Daemon And Criston Cole, Explained

The Guilt of Queen Alicent Targaryen

Otto Hightower was leaving Kings Landing as Viserys read through his intentions and didn’t want him to serve as the hand of the king. Alicent had gone to Viserys and vouched for Rhaenyra, and that had led to her father being expelled from his position. Alicent felt guilty, but she did what she felt was right. She valued the presence of Rhaenyra in her life and always considered her as a very good friend and confidant. Rhaenyra had sworn that she didn’t indulge with Daemon that night, and Alicent believed it to be true. Lord Larys Strong, son of Lyonel Strong, came and sowed the seed of suspicion in Alicent’s mind. He called Alicent an outsider amidst the natives and told her that in order to thrive, she had to be very tactical in her approach. He revealed to her that the Grandmaester had given Rhaenyra Moon tea following the orders of the king. Alicent knew that Moon Tea was a kind of contraceptive, and if Rhaenyra was given that, it meant that she had indulged with somebody. Though, until then, it hadn’t come to her mind that it could be somebody else, other than Daemon. Alicent wanted to enquire more about the issue. She called Ser Criston Cole to her chambers as she thought that he would be able to tell her something. At this point in time, Criston Cole was laden with guilt. He felt that he had committed a sin. Alicent asked him if he knew anything about that night when Daemon was in Kings Landing. As Criston Cole was guilt ridden, he thought that the Queen was indirectly blaming him. So, he stood up and confessed that he had indulged with the Princess and told Alicent that he was ready for any kind of punishment. Alicent was taken aback. She didn’t see it coming. This was a crucial point in the history of Kings Landing. Up until now, Alicent was the strongest ally Rhaenyra could ask for. She valued the friendship and kept her in high regard. She had gone against her own father and stood up for her friend. But now Alicent realized that the words her father had spoken actually made sense. Otto had speculated that the general populace would question Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron throne, as she was a female. He said that Rhaenyra would eventually be obligated to take active steps to remove everybody who had a probable claim to the throne, which would mean that she would eventually kill Aegon, Alicent’s son. The testimony of Ser Criston Cole had made Alicent rethink her strategies, her allegiances, and her perspective towards things.

Why Did Criston Cole Kill Joffrey Lonmouth?

The preparations of the marriage ceremony had started in Kings Landing and the two strongest houses were set to enter into an alliance. As always, Daemon also arrived at the wedding unannounced. Ser Criston Cole was standing as a silent spectator, though there was a huge tide rising on his insides that wanted to wreak havoc. He had expressed his desires to Rhaenyra and asked her to leave everything and leave with him. He had assumed that Rhaenyra would want a future with him. But Rhaenyra had the spirit of a conqueror and aspired to sit on the Iron throne one day. Yes, she liked Criston Cole and wanted to continue whatever she had with him, but she had no intention of legitimizing her relationship with him. She didn’t want to marry him. When Criston Cole got to know about it, he felt used. He had broken his vow, crossed the boundaries of morality, and now it felt like it was all for nothing. Joffrey Lonmouth was observing Criston Cole very closely, and he understood that Rhaenyra had a secret affair with him. He went up to him and told him that they both should swear to protect the heir to the Iron throne and the heir to Driftmark, as they had vested interests in the alliance. Criston Cole didn’t take it well and smashed Joffrey’s face in front of everybody. He killed the Knight of Kisses because he couldn’t control his anger. Joffrey hadn’t said anything so provoking to meet such a fate, but Criston Cole was in a terrible state of mind, he didn’t know what he was doing. Guilt had taken over the noble knight and turned him into a devil. 

Meanwhile, Daemon pulled Rhaenyra aside and asked her if she really wanted to get married to Laenor. Rhaenyra told her uncle upfront that she was ready to get married to him if he had the courage to take her with him, in front of everybody. The wedding that was supposed to take place in seven days’ time, took place that day itself. Rhaenyra and Laenor were married to each other that night. As soon as they were sworn as husband and wife, Viserys fell on the floor and probably met his fateful end. It was as if he was just waiting for that moment, and as soon as it happened, he lost his will to live.

Alicent had worn the color green to the dinner. For the House Hightower, the color green meant that they were calling in forces to wage a war. Ser Criston Cole was going to kill himself after he brutally murdering Joffrey Lonmouth. But just when he took out his dagger, Alicent came and stopped him. They both felt betrayed by the heir to the Iron throne. In the upcoming episodes of “House of the Dragon,” we might witness the formation of an unlikely alliance. Episode 5 marks the beginning of the great rivalry between Alicent and Rhaenyra. It is said that one’s closest friend has the potential to turn into their greatest enemy. Unknowingly, Rhaenyra had transformed her two strongest supporters into people who now despised her, and it would be interesting to see how she would tackle the threat and overcome the obstacles.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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