3. House of the Dragon episode 5: “We Light the Way”
Before we take our 10-year time jump on House of the Dragon, we get a devastating episode that leaves me speechless every time I watch it. After Rhaenyra and Criston have sex in the episode prior, they have a secretive fling that’s pretty much only working for one side. Rhaenyra is happy to keep it going the way it is, but Criston wants more. And this, sadly, leads to murder.
Much of the episode takes place on Driftmark as the festivities for Rhaenyra and her betrothed begin. But what’s meant to be a happy affair turns heartbreaking when Criston gets into a one-sided altercation with Laenor’s secret lover Joffrey and beats him to death. Rhaenyra and Daemon also reunite for the first time since Daemon was exiled and their relationship heats up, while Alicent and Criston form an unexpected bond.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in this episode and the pacing really works, spending enough time on the moments that matter and advancing the storyline. There’s so much tension at the party, it gives me a nervous stomach ache! The episode does a great job of balancing the various characters and their motivations and actions. The moments that lead up to Joffrey’s death make a scene that you almost have to watch more than once to catch all of the details.
Weddings seldom go right in Game of Thrones, and House of the Dragon takes on this tradition well in an effective change from the book.