House of the Dragon: What Happened at Rhaenyra’s Wedding?

It wouldn’t be a Westeros wedding without plenty of drama and a little violence, and House of the Dragon follows that tradition in its fifth installment. The Pre-Wedding Feast celebrating the marriage of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon ends not with a happy couple, but with one dead, another dishonored, and much chaos. Let’s break down exactly what we know so far about the fight that crushed another royal wedding.

How did the fight at Rhaenyra’s wedding begin?

The battle, as with so many things in the Game of Thrones universe, begins over offended honor and romantic missteps. During the engagement negotiations between the families of Rhaenyra and Laenor, the newlyweds are given a little alone time to chat. Rhaenyra lets Laenor know that she knows he’s gay, and she assures him that their marriage can be an open marriage: doing their duty and having heirs, but otherwise having relationships with who they really want. In Laenor’s case, that would be Joffrey Lonmouth, his secret lover.

At the pre-wedding banquet, Joffrey quickly discovers that Ser Criston Cole is the “other man” Rhaenyra is interested in. He approaches Criston, acknowledging the situation they are all in, and quietly suggesting that he and Criston make their own pact to protect their respective lovers and their secrets. However, what Joffrey doesn’t know is that Criston recently tried to convince Rhaenyra to run away and marry him and that she turned him down in order to remain heir to the throne. Criston, angry at the slight and what he perceives without good reason as his own broken honor, is less than thrilled with Joffrey’s proposal.

It’s not entirely clear who started the fight (that is, who took the first punch), but the setup certainly makes it look like Criston might just snap.

Why did Criston kill Joffrey?

The outcome of the brawl is tragic and frightening. Criston, seemingly out of control with anger, punches Joffrey in the face until he is dead, his face a bloodied, unrecognizable mess, before Laenor sobs over his body. The implication is that Criston didn’t kill Joffrey out of fear that Joffrey would disclose his affair with Rhaenyra, but simply because Joffrey reminded him of the state he was in: vows broken and rejected. It’s a big change for a character who has historically been portrayed as heroic and likeable, and it signals a change in his motivation.

Why did Queen Alicent stop Criston from killing himself?

After the fight, Criston seems horrified to realize what he has done. He flees the banquet and runs to the godswood, where he is about to use his sword to die by suicide. However, Queen Alicent finds him and stops him just in time. Earlier in the episode, Alicent and Criston shared a scene where she asked him about Rhaenyra and Daemon, but he, a misunderstanding, confessed his own Rhaenyra and begged for mercy. While she doesn’t openly state her intentions, it seems clear that Alicent hopes he can be an ally for her as she slowly develops the idea of ​​fighting for her children to take the throne over Rhaenyra.

Where was Daemon during the fight?

Throughout the fiasco, Daemon seems to have completely disappeared. He is last seen dancing with Rhaenyra and having a tense conversation in High Valyrian about their upcoming marriage and the tensions between them. As the focus shifts to the brawl, Daemon just seems to disappear from the scene. Between his sudden disappearance and his past flirtation with Laenor’s sister, Laena, it’s clear that Daemon is still trying to walk a fine line and find the best ways to maintain his own power, even as his family spirals deeper into division and violence .

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