‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 5 recap: ‘We Light the Way’ closes a chapter, however not earlier than concerning a painful trope (SPOILERS)
Editor’s Note: The following incorporates spoilers in regards to the fifth episode of “House of the Dragon,” which premiered Sept. 18.
USA Prime Time
“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.
Yet the hour may generate as a lot buzz for a brutal demise that occurred, inviting dialogue of outdated issues and wounds about the way in which that LGBTQ characters are handled – and extra to the purpose, killed off – in TV dramas.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 when it comes to larger inclusion have coincided with debate about how these characters are portrayed and the fates that they meet, giving rise to a much-discussed trope referred to as “Bury Your Gays.” The phrase refers to a historical past wherein homosexual characters have disproportionately died as a plot gadget, creating the impression they’re extra expendable within the eyes of storytellers.
Given that, the “Game of Thrones” prequel doubtlessly 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 collection performs on HBO, which, like USA Prime Time, 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 will indulge their “appetites” elsewhere.
Knowing 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’d 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).
At the marriage feast, Joffrey let it’s recognized 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 high 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 commonly low-cost. That contains all the pieces from orgies to incest, and from the horrors of childbirth to securing regal succession even when meaning marrying off under-age women.
Still, introducing the connection between Laenor and Joffrey solely to dispatch the latter so shortly and horribly nearly 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 apply have usually surrounded science fiction and fantasy collection, together with “The 100” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and extra not too long ago, USA Prime Time America’s darkish spy thriller “Killing Eve.”
It’s additionally price noting that in “Game of Thrones’” heyday some requested if the present had a “homosexual downside,” 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 most recent episode. How that story unfolds may doubtlessly offset or soften this newest flip of occasions within the eyes of those that would criticize it.
For now, although, based mostly on the high-profile nature of the franchise that magnifies nearly all the pieces in regards to the collection, “House of the Dragon” may face some near-term warmth.
HBO declined a request to deal with the episode.
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