The 7th episode of “House of the Dragon,” titled “Driftmark,” gives us a glimpse of the conflict that was going to engulf Kings Landing sooner than later. Till now, it was kept hidden from the public eye, but the passion that was boiling inside the souls that were soaked in greed could not be contained any further. It confirmed the long-standing relationship that fire had with blood. Where there was fire, there was blood and vice versa. The Targaryens couldn’t avoid their fate, and whatever came their way was reduced to ashes. Driftmark was paying the price of its own greed and the association that it shared with the Targaryens. The way water worked was in contrast to the way of fire. It was said that water often provided an escape, but an association with fire meant being trapped forever.
Aemond Rides The Vhagar
Everybody came to Driftmark to attend the funeral of Laena Velaryon. There were different energies, moods, ambitions, and aspirations floating in the air when the conflicting forces came in front of each other. Though the Velaryons, i.e., Lord Corlys Velaryon, Princess Rhaenys Velaryon, and Laenor Velaryon, were distraught after losing a member of their family, the others were more interested in looking out how it impacted their interests. Daemon saw through the deception created by the excessive outward display of emotions. The royals were accustomed to that kind of pretentiousness, but Daemon still couldn’t get used to it and found it extremely absurd. He knew that everybody was just camouflaging their real intentions and feelings under the pretext of solemnity. Even Lord Corlys, who was grieving for his daughter, didn’t forget to have a quick chat with Lucerys and remind him that he would one day become the Lord of Driftmark. An innocent Lucerys said that he wouldn’t dare sit on that seat because it would lead everybody to their demise. The young boy was well aware of the fact that he was an illegitimate offspring of a union that nobody was ready to recognize. A stark difference is established in the sensibilities of Aegon and his younger brother, Aemond.
Throughout the funeral ceremony, Aegon was in an inebriated state. He cared little about the solemnity of the event. Aegon had always got everything in life without struggling for it. He didn’t value his position. He didn’t have any gratitude. He didn’t know what it was worth. He had little or no understanding of the dynamics of power and how everything that mattered was placed on a delicate footing. Otto wanted him to realize his responsibilities and do what was expected of him. He was seen fetching the young prince, who was lying in a drunken state, unaware of the consequences that it could have had. Unlike his brother, Aemond didn’t consider privilege to be his birthright. Aemond didn’t have a dragon like his siblings. He had faced discrimination all his life. His own kin mocked him, and somewhere he felt inferior to them. He was not scared of spilling blood if it led him to glory. In the darkness of the night, Aemond went to light a fire. He went close to Vhagar, the dragon that was ridden by Laena Velaryon and was once the pride of Driftmark. Aemond doesn’t know if he would be able to ride the dragon. The breath of the dragon sends shivers down his spine. But the young prince, overpowered by angst, was willing to do whatever it took to prove his worth. Aemond didn’t know how to go about it and was only following his intuition. He mounted the beast and held the reins to tilt the odds in his favor. Vhagar took him on a jarring ride. Aemond was tossed from one side to another, but he held onto it. He bore all the jerks and claimed what was his. There was a new dragon rider amidst the Targaryens. The one who was mocked for his inability now rode one of the mightiest dragons that ever existed.
A War Of Succession: The Beginning Of The Dance Of The Dragons
It all started when Rhaena and Baela, Laena’s twin daughters, were unhappy about their dragons being stolen from them. They said that they were the rightful owners of it, considering it belonged to their mother. Jacaerys and Lucerys, Rhaenyra’s son, also arrived at the scene. Rhaenyra had told them to look after their cousins, who were in desperate need of support after losing their mother. Aemond entered into a scuffle with all four of them. The tempers soared high, and suddenly the fire was marked by blood forever. Lucerys swung his blade, and it pierced through Aemond’s eye. The second son of Alicent, came to be known as one-eyed Aemond from that day. Helaena, Aemond’s sister, had predicted it way before. She had said that though Aemond would one day ride a dragon, he would have to sacrifice one of his eyes. She had psychic abilities, though many considered her to be a lunatic. Aegon, her elder brother, was also one of them. He had told Aemond, during the funeral ceremony, that he was unwilling to marry her because they didn’t have anything in common, and a lot of times, he didn’t understand the gibberish she spoke. Everything that Helaena said had a profound meaning. She didn’t speak gibberish, but what she said couldn’t be understood by a commoner either.
The situation was brought under control, and everybody looked up to Viserys to serve justice. But everybody had their own perception of justice. Alicent wanted an eye for an eye and nothing less. Rhaenyra wanted Aemon to be apologetic for the fact that he questioned the legitimacy of her sons. Viserys became disheartened by the realization that his family was standing on the threshold of a full-blown internal rivalry. He had tried his level best to make them coexist in harmony, but he had terribly failed. No matter how much he tried, greed for power overpowered everything that came in its way. Alicent had totally lost it. Her veil was removed, and people realized that she could do anything to make her son sit on the Iron Throne. Disappointed by the fact that her own husband wasn’t ready to act against Lucerys and Jacaerys, she attacked Rhaenyra in front of everybody. She was stopped and brought under control, but not before grazing Rhaenyra’s hand with her Valyrian steel. It felt as if blood and fire were destined to be together. It was also symbolic of the fact that a blood bath was soon going to follow. Viserys was petrified about that future. He pleaded with everybody to stop fighting with each other and behave like a family should. But maybe it was too late. The seeds of greed had already been sown. An ailing Viserys knew that soon his kingdom would be divided into two factions: the green faction under the leadership of the House Hightower and the red army under the House Targaryen. He was aware of the harsh realities and that is why the desire to live long was slowly dwindling as he didn’t want to witness whatever this conflict entailed.
Alicent’s Newfound Fire And Lord Corlys’ Ambitions
Just after the epic drama that unfolded after Aemond lost his eye, Otto went to the chambers of his daughter, Queen Alicent. After the death of Lyonel Strong, Otto Hightower had once again become the hand of the king. He resumed his duties and knew that he was closer to his goal than ever. He could see Aegon sitting on the Iron Throne in the near future, and he didn’t want Alicent to make any kind of foolish mistake. He was kind of pleasantly surprised after seeing the fire inside Alicent’s eyes. He had always believed his daughter to be very subdued and timid. He didn’t expect that she would go after Rhaenyra with a dagger in her hand. He told her that as much as he liked this newfound fervor inside her, she needed to stay in control and act with an added judiciousness. It had always been Otto’s dream to see his daughter fight for the things that he desired. The father-daughter duo shared one dream now. When Alicent sailed back to King’s Landing, she knew that she was ready to do anything to accomplish that dream. Her son might have lost an eye, but as rightly said by Otto Hightower, it was a very small price in comparison to what Aemond had gained. They had Vhagar by their side and they knew that the inclusion of another dragon in their team had somewhat tilted the balance in their favor.
Meanwhile, Rhaenys confronted her husband, Lord Corlys, and told him how his ambitions and greed had destroyed their family. Lord Corlys lived his life under the delusion that whatever he did was for his wife. He believed in a narrative where he wanted his lineage to sit on the Iron Throne just because, once, Rhaenys was denied the opportunity. Rhaenys makes him open his eyes and break through his false beliefs. She tells him that it was his own aspirations that had fueled his actions. She asks him to accept the truth. They were paying the price of his greed. Lord Corlys always harbored a dream of becoming the queen’s consort. They had lost a daughter, and Rhaenys pleaded with him to stop before they also lost their only surviving heir.
‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 7: Ending Explained – Is Laenor Dead Or Alive? What Happened Between Rhaenyra And Daemon?
When Rhaenyra once again saw Daemon, the fire was rekindled. She knew that she could no longer live with the farce that her sons had Velaryon blood in their veins. Everybody knew that Ser Harwin Strong was their father, and Rhaenyra felt the need to protect her family at all costs. After the debacle where Aemond lost his eye, it became clear that the battle would no longer be fought behind the veil. She needed somebody to protect her, and she knew that Laenor wasn’t up to the challenge. Though he was a good man, his priorities in life were very different. He was mourning the death of his sister, and people had come to know about his relationship with Ser Qarl. Rhaenyra couldn’t stop herself from getting intimate with her uncle, Daemon. They made love while Vhagar flew over them and blew the trumpet for an upcoming conflict. She told Daemon to marry her and believed that she could talk Laenor through it and make him understand. But a lamenting Laenor wanted to remove all the guilt and regret from his conscience. He came and told Rhaenyra that he would be a good husband to her and be there for his sons (graciously enough, he always referred to the Strong boys as his own sons). He said that he would leave Ser Qarl and be with Rhaenyra with the utmost sincerity. As much as Rhaenyra appreciated his intent and the sacrifice, he was willing to make, she knew that she was going to marry Daemon for more than one reason. Firstly, she loved him, and secondly, she knew that she had to strengthen her claim to the Iron Throne. So, Daemon and Rhaenyra hatch a plan, the consequences of which, they already knew, were going to be ghastly. Rhaenyra could only marry Daemon in the event of Laenor’s death. She knew that though fire incarcerated a person, water always provided them with an escape. Daemon and Rhaenyra decided to fake the death of Laenor Velaryon. They knew that the heir to the seat of Driftmark would agree to this plan because it gave him a way to escape his pretentious life and get rid of the burden that the expectations of others had put on him. Daemon approached Ser Qarl and told him about what he had to do. He told him that there were places where one’s name didn’t matter. He told him to escape with Laenor and start the life that he had always wanted to lead. Qarl reached Lord Corlys’ hall and attacked Laenor. But that assault was just to mask their real intentions. Daemon killed a soldier and put his body in Corlys’ hall. Laenor, and Qarl escaped. Laenor shaved his hair, symbolically severing all ties with the house of Velaryon.
Seeing the charred body in his hall, Corlys believed in the fact that his son had been killed. Due to that assumption, Rhaenyra was free to marry Daemon. They entered into a matrimonial alliance and made a vow of blood. Their marriage ceremony was attended by their children, who stood at the threshold of a new chapter in their lives, too. Daemon and Rhaenyra decided to combine their fires and burn them together. It was a decisive moment in the history of Kings Landing. It marked the beginning of a new era, something that Viserys always dreaded. His kingdom, his own family, was now divided into two groups, and both were ready to draw first blood. The presence of Viserys was probably the only thing that was restraining them from waging an all-out war against each other. But as we all know, it was just a matter of time till the inevitable happened and unleashed the madness that resided within both factions.
See More: ‘House Of The Dragon’ Episode 8: Recap & Ending, Explained – Is Alicent Aware Of Aegon’s Dream? Is Viserys Dead?