What Happened To Laenor Velaryon In House Of The Dragon?
Warning: major House of the Dragon Episode 7 spoilers ahead
If HBO's House of the Dragon has proved it can do one thing well, it keeps us surprised while sticking to the source material. From the harrowing c-section that offed Aemma Arryn in the premiere to Harwin and Lyonel Strong's shocking murders, Laena Velaryon's fiery demise to her brother's swansong, George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood historical encyclopedia has come to life like we never expected.
Martin is known for crafting the Seven Kingdoms, and for anyone who's ever watched Game of Thrones, you'll know a shock death is always around the corner - you should probably turn down an invite to a wedding. However, while House's bigger brother was called out for its deviation from books (where was Lady Stoneheart?), the prequel series is running with it in the best way. Now, Martin and Ryan Condal's series has given a reprieve to Ser Laenor Velaryon.
What Happened To Laenor Velaryon In The Books?
Those who've read Martin's works will know October 3's 'Driftmark' takes place in the year 120 AC (After Aegon's Conquest), which is also known as the Year of the Red Spring. As well as the deaths of the Strongs and Laena, her brother also dies in tragic circumstances.
In the books, Ser Laenor Targaryen is murdered by his lover Ser Qarl in Spicetown. Here, the jealous Qarl accuses his lover of flirting with someone else, and then cuts him down in front of a crowd of witnesses. Although it's rumoured that Daemon Targaryen has something to do with it, it's never confirmed in the books. Avoiding the whole "Bury Your Gays" trope, HBO mixed it up for House of the Dragon. Ser Qarl still has a part to play, but Laenor's "death" is elaborately staged by Daemon (Matt Smith) and Qarl (Arty Froushan) to free up Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) for marriage to the former.
Rhaenyra is married to Laenor, but if she wants to join the family bloodline and marry uncle Daemon, her husband needs to be out of the way. We see Daemon giving Qarl a bag of gold and saying to make sure there's a quick death with witnesses. Qarl and Laenor (John Macmillan) duke it out in the Velaryon family home of Driftmark. When Laenor's parents arrive on the scene, his charred corpse is pulled from the fire, leaving a grief-stricken Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) weeping over her son's dead body.
What Really Happened To Laenor Velaryon In House Of The Dragon?
Although some clocked the apparent convenience that we never saw Qarl deliver the killing blow, jaws were on the floor when the final scene featured Laenor having shaved off his signature dreadlocks and sailing to pastures new with his lover in tow. As an aside, amazing that they've literally taken the generic name of Carl and stuck a Q on the front to make it Westerosi.
It's an uncharacteristically nice plot from Daemon, but given that Rhaenyra said that she genuinely did love Laenor despite their differences, it's a rare bit of mercy from the usually merciless Targaryens. Still, there are questions about whether Rhaenyra was in on the plan or Uncle Daemon wanted to keep as few people in the know as possible.
Will Laenor Velaryon Return In House Of The Dragon?
As it stands, Laenor Velaryon has one of those rare happy endings. In Game of Thrones, the likes of Jon Snow and Brienne of Tarth got pretty depressing endings, while even Arya Stark sailed off into the unknown to probably never see her family again. With Laenor having survived, there are questions about whether he could return to House of the Dragon.
Given Laenor's pretty definite demise in the history of the Seven Kingdoms, there's no way of knowing whether Macmillan will reprise his role as Laenor. It's not impossible, and we imagine a heartfelt reunion between Laenor and his father, Corlys (Steve Touissant), further down the line. The dreadlocked Sea Snake's devotion to his dynasty has ultimately been its downfall, but if he had to keep the secret of his son's survival to keep him alive, we're sure he would. For now though, Laenor is one of the lucky few spared from Martin's bloodlust.