Through the first six episodes of House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel series has followed its source material rather closely. The events of the series have mirrored those in George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood, albeit with some slight variations or extra explanation here and there. What the show hasn't done, however, is completely change something from its source material, altering Game of Thrones history in the process. That changed during Sunday night's new episode.
WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from the latest episode of House of the Dragon! Continue reading at your own risk...
In the story laid out in Fire & Blood, Laena and Laenor Velaryon die around the same time. We saw Laena die in last week's episode of the series, which meant that Laenor wasn't too far behind. After all, his death in the book sets in motion some significant events that shape the rest of the story. Much to the surprise of everyone, however, House of the Dragon opted to keep Laenor alive, revealing his safety in a shocking twist at the end of "Driftmark."
In the episode, Daemon and Rhaenyra talk about marrying one another to solidify their line, even though they couldn't do that with Laenor in the picture. Rhaenyra even seems to acknowledge that means killing her husband. While the two have never been romantic with one other, she has always cared for him, so this felt out of character, at least for a few minutes. The montage that follows shows Daemon approaching Ser Qarl Correy, Laenor's lover and the man who kills him in the book. Daemon then kills a random slave and Qarl attacks Laenor, leading to a duel in front of a servant. That servant goes to get help, and that moment allows the whole plan to work.
Corlys and Rhaenys pull a burnt body out of the fire, believing it to be Laenor's. And it seems as though the future King Consort is actually dead. But we then learn that it was all a setup. Laenor is then seen with a shaved head, rowing with Qarl out to a larger boat, where he will sail out to sea as an anonymous man. His fake death allows him to be free, while also allowing Rhaenyra and Daemon to get married and attempt to rule together.
What Happens to Laenor Velaryon?
With this trickery from Rhaenyra and Daemon, the Targaryen line gets to continue as laid out in Fire & Blood, but it also allows Laenor to keep his life. This means that he could come back and be involved the story at some point later in the series. If there's any kind of spinoff from House of the Dragon, he could also be involved in that.
The truth is, it's hard to know what's going to happen to Laenor at this point. Much like the final two seasons of Game of Thrones, this is uncharted territory. There's no mention of Laenor potentially being alive, which allows for infinite possibilities with his future.
What did you think of House of the Dragon's latest twist? Let us know in the comments!