Household of the Dragon’s sixth episode, “The Princess and the Queen,” was a notably difficult a single for virtually most people on the show. The sequence picked up 10 a long time immediately after episode 5, and caught us up with its most significant people, lots of of whom experienced had a couple youngsters in the interim.
Between these figures was Laena Velaryon, daughter of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen, and now Daemon Targaryen’s 2nd spouse. Viewers understood Laena very best as the 12-year-previous woman from episode 2 who spoke to Viserys about dragons in advance of pitching him on marriage (which he politely declined). Laena and Daemon wound up having two youngsters in the course of the 10-12 months time soar, and Laena spends most of the sixth episode expecting with what would be their 3rd. Amid the drama of an incoming new child is where the filmmakers made a decision to alter a handful of particulars about her fate from the show’s supply substance, Fire & Blood.
[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood novel and for House of the Dragon.]
In Hearth & Blood, Laena undergoes a specifically tricky labor prior to supplying delivery to a stillborn kid, significantly like what takes place in the demonstrate. Nonetheless, in the reserve, she spends various days sick and dying. In accordance to Fire & Blood’s maester writer, legend has it that in her closing moments, she tried using to locate her dragon, Vhagar, to fly just one particular more time, but died on her way.
The exhibit tends to make all this a minimal more rapidly and a minor far more literal. Triumph over with grief over the decline of her son, Laena rushes from the birthing chamber and finds Vhagar. She kneels down in front of the dragon and commands it to burn off her alive.
There could be a couple of explanations for this improve, or additional properly, this new variation of the tale. Though Fire & Blood performs the section of a historical past, telling only the most important specifics of its tale — and even then, accomplishing so with the fallibility of its writer and their sources — Residence of the Dragon is supposed to be a more factual and in-depth account of the Dance of Dragons, in accordance to showrunner Ryan Condal. It is probable that which is what is happening here — that Laena’s suicide by dragon was simply not recorded by Maester Yandel in the in-universe variation of Fireplace & Blood to assist safeguard the reputation of the Targaryens. But this isn’t the only possible cause for the new scene.
Like quite a few elements of Household of the Dragon so significantly, this isn’t so much a direct departure from the story of the books as it is a literalization of selected themes. Though the troubles of childbirth and women’s roles in Westeros are surely principles that are explored in Fire & Blood, the e book does not genuinely commit time detailing them (or any other themes), deciding on merely to recount occasions in Westeros fairly than believe about them.
The show’s adjustments arrive most generally in the realm of character deaths. When the reserve most usually has them slipping away soon after several days in the care of maesters and their leeches, Dwelling of the Dragon prefers to kill characters with a prosper. Characters like Joffrey Lonmouth, and even Daemon’s 1st wife, Girl Rhea Royce, have been explicitly killed by Property of the Dragon’s leads to enable go the plot and figures alongside.
An extra gain of this decision in Laena’s situation is that it a lot more strongly defines her character. Nevertheless we didn’t spend much time with Laena in the demonstrate, observing that she’d relatively stop her individual daily life than bear the loss of a child provides an fascinating wrinkle to who she was, and can help us far better understand House of the Dragon’s really challenging relationship with motherhood, and especially with childbirth.