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This page is about the episode. For other uses, see: We Light the Way (disambiguation)

"We Light the Way"[5] is the fifth episode of the first season of House of the Dragon. It is the fifth episode of the series overall. It premiered on September 18, 2022 on HBO and HBO Max. It was written by Charmaine DeGraté and directed by Clare Kilner.

Premise[]

Daemon visits his wife in the Vale. Viserys and Rhaenyra broker agreements with the Velaryons. Alicent seeks the truth about the princess.[5]

Synopsis[]

Near Runestone[]

WLTW Daemon and Rhea Still

Daemon intercepts Rhea.

Prince Daemon Targaryen confronts his estranged wife, Lady Rhea Royce, while she is out hunting alone near her family's castle of Runestone. Rhea mockingly asks Daemon if he has come to consummate their marriage, or if his brother has finally expelled him from court after disinheriting Daemon in favor of a girl. Rhea asks if Daemon intends to murder his niece Rhaenyra to reclaim his former position, only to realize that Daemon has returned to the Vale solely to kill her, since as a widower, he would be free to marry again, and could easily wed his niece in the tradition of House Targaryen to reclaim his former status. Realizing her peril, Rhea tries to grab her bow, only for Daemon to spook her horse into throwing her from the saddle. Rhea is badly hurt in the fall when her horse collapses on top of her; Daemon briefly checks Rhea before making to leave, seemingly content her injuries will kill her. Rhea then taunts him that he can't "finish," however, at which Daemon picks up a large stone and advances to kill her.

On Driftmark[]

WLTW Lyonel, Viserys, Rhaenyra & Harrold

Viserys arrives at High Tide.

King Viserys sails to Driftmark, the island seat of House Velaryon, to propose a marriage between his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra, and Ser Laenor Velaryon, Lord Corlys Velaryon's heir. He is accompanied by Lord Lyonel Strong, recently appointed as the new Hand of the King to replace Ser Otto Hightower. The king's health is not helped by the journey, as he becomes seasick on the way and develops a light cough. They land and make the overland trip to High Tide, Lord Corlys's fabulous new castle built with the wealth from his famous voyages, located on a tidal island. They find no welcoming party in the courtyard, only Laenor sparring with his companion Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. Laenor's sister Laena Velaryon then comes from the gates and politely invites them in, informing them that Corlys was too "tired" from a recent voyage to meet them there. Lyonel is insulted that Corlys would make the king wait like this, but Viserys waves it aside: Corlys's pride was deeply wounded when Viserys declined a marriage pact with his daughter Laena, so these games are to be expected if they are to re-secure his allegiance, and they might as well get on with it. Laena, at least, is happy to see her cousin Rhaenyra, and departs with her for breakfast.

WLTW Viserys and Corlys Still 1

Viserys and Corlys arrange a marriage between Rhaenyra and Laenor.

Viserys proceeds to the Hall of Nine, the main throne room which is filled with fantastical artifacts from the far corners of the Known world that Corlys brought back from his sea travels. Corlys receives Viserys and is clearly enjoying himself, for the king to come to him to request a marriage alliance to his son, but he stops short of outright arrogance. He also compliments Lord Lyonel on his recent promotion as Hand, a back-handed dig at his rival Otto Hightower's fall from grace, and informs them of Lady Rhea Royce's death. Corlys's wife Rhaenys then enters the hall, still in riding gear from her dragon. Both sides are outwardly polite but the unspoken truth is that Viserys has come to beg them to unite back with the crown, and they make a show of false modesty. Rhaenys is genuinely surprised and concerned when she notices that her cousin has lost two fingers on his left hand, though he insists he is fine. Both sides quickly agree on terms: the firstborn child of Laenor and Rhaenyra, regardless of gender, will inherit the Iron Throne. Corlys also asks that, per Westerosi tradition, their children will take their father's surname. Bemused, Viserys says he can't allow the Targaryen dynasty to end with him just because he had a daughter, but as a compromise, he offers that Laenor's children will take the surname "Velaryon", but after that Laenor's grandchildren will have to go back to using the surname "Targaryen". Corlys finds this an "equitable" solution, and the marriage pact is finalized. Viserys's cough gets worse and Corlys starts to show concern, but Viserys says he is just tired and leaves.

WLTW Rhaenyra and Laenor Still 1

Rhaenyra and Laenor come to an agreement about their marriage.

Later, Rhaenyra and her cousin Laenor are sent on a courtship walk along the nearby beach. Rhaenyra, however, is aware that both she and Laenor are in love with other people, and that he is no more enthusiastic about this marriage pact than she is. In a friendly conversation, she proposes a mutual arrangement: they will perform their duty for their respective families to marry and produce heirs, but otherwise they will both continue having their own private romantic relationships.

OT Rhaenys and Corlys

Corlys and Rhaenys discuss the marriage.

Back at the castle, Corlys expresses concern to Rhaenys that perhaps he was a little too haughty with Viserys, but Rhaenys says that Viserys knew full well what to expect when he came there. She feels it was Viserys who chose to humiliate himself, a king coming to his vassal's castle to beg for a marriage alliance. Corlys goes on to ask where Rhaenyra and Laenor have gone, and when Rhaenys says that they went for a walk along the beach, he eagerly asks if they seemed to be getting along. Rhaenys says they get along as well as can be expected, but Corlys insists that Rhaenyra has grown only more lovely these past few years and Laenor will soon be smitten with her. Rhaenys then bluntly tells her husband that they both know their son's "nature". Embarrassed, Corlys waves it off, insisting that Laenor is just young and will "grow out of it". Rhaenys is instead worried that they have forced Laenor into a dangerous marriage alliance, particularly if the lords of Westeros violently oppose Rhaenyra ascending to the Iron Throne, but Corlys embraces his wife and says this is their chance to set things to rights; that the lords of the realm wronged her and their children by rejecting her as queen as the Great Council, but she says she made peace with this a long time ago, as she can't be robbed of something she didn't have in the first place.

After Rhaenyra departs, Laenor sits in private among the beach dunes with Joffrey Lonmouth, revealing that Laenor and Joffrey are actually lovers in a same-sex relationship. Joffrey chides Laenor for still being so worried, as the meeting with Rhaenyra went well beyond their wildest hopes: a bride for Laenor who is fully aware of his relationship with Joffrey who will not only allow it to continue, but isn't even offended, as she intends to have private lovers of her own. Laenor gives him a light shove but the tension breaks and they soon kiss each other passionately.

As Viserys's ship heads back across Blackwater Bay to King's Landing, Ser Criston Cole confronts Rhaenyra on the deck. He tells her he knows she doesn't love Laenor and for years she's talked about her fear of being trapped in a loveless arranged marriage. Instead, he pleads with her to flee with him into exile beyond Westeros, where they can be married. Rhaenyra gently insists that she still has duties to her family and to the realm itself, so she can never leave or marry him, but she doesn't consider this a problem because she just worked out an "understanding" with Laenor. Criston, however, shifts tone and angrily says that he doesn't just want to be Rhaenyra's "whore": he came from nothing and his honor as a Kingsguard is all he has, honor that he forever sullied when he broke his sacred vow of chastity with her. He says that his hope was to restore at least a part of his honor by lawfully marrying her. Rhaenyra begins to explain again that this is impossible, but Criston storms off.

At the Red Keep[]

WLTW Otto and Alicent Still 1

Otto tells Alicent to prepare Aegon to rule.

On a rainy day in King's Landing, Ser Otto Hightower prepares to ride out of the Red Keep with his household guards and return to Oldtown, now that he has been replaced as Hand of the King. His daughter Queen Alicent Hightower emotionally pleads with him that she believes Rhaenyra's claim that she is still a virgin, and that his dismissal isn't just due to this but the culmination of pushing too hard for her son Aegon Targaryen to be named the new heir. Otto gravely chides her for her naivety and presents her with the cold logic of the situation: Viserys's health is failing and whenever he eventually dies, Rhaenyra will have to kill Alicent's children whether she wants to or not, simply to ensure her own survival. Alicent therefore has only two choices: either start plotting to secure her position at court against Rhaenyra, or fully commit to ingratiating herself with her stepdaughter and hope that when Rhaenyra takes the throne, this will make her merciful enough towards Alicent that she won't kill her half-siblings. Unable to express in words that he loves her, Otto gives Alicent a desperate final embrace and then rides out of the castle.

WLTW Larys and Alicent Still

Alicent talks with Larys Strong.

Alicent then goes to the castle's godswood for solitude but she encounters Larys Strong, the crippled and soft-spoken younger son of Lord Lyonel Strong. Larys remarks on flowers from Braavos that are maintained in the garden, removed from their native climate, which have nonetheless managed to thrive there (a clear allusion to Alicent herself). He then makes a back-handed inquiry into Rhaenyra's health, so that when Alicent asks what cause he has for such concern, he "accidentally" reveals that the same night Daemon was exiled again Rhaenyra was presented with a medicinal tea brewed by Grand Maester Mellos himself. Alicent realizes his unstated implication that Rhaenyra must have received Moon tea, an abortifacient drug, and therefore she must have truly had sex with Daemon.

WLTW Alicent and Criston Still

Alicent learns the truth from Criston.

After Criston Cole returns from Driftmark, Alicent then summons him to her chambers and dismisses her servants so they can speak in private. Alicent is hesitant and carefully chooses her words, starting to say that she has heard rumors that Rhaenyra is no longer a virgin, though not specifying who she had sex with. Overcome with guilt and distraught at Rhaenyra's rejection of his marriage offer, Criston confesses that the rumors are true, because he is the one who had sex with Rhaenyra. This surprises her, as she had assumed the culprit was Rhaenyra's uncle Daemon. Criston says that even if Rhaenyra initiated things, it is still his own fault for abandoning his Kingsguard vows. Criston pleads that if Alicent is a merciful queen, he only makes the small request that he be granted a quick death by execution, instead of the gelding and drawn-out torture that by right the king will subject him to. Alicent, however, is utterly stunned at Rhaenyra's betrayal, realizing that she used a lie of exact words to swear on her dead mother's memory that she never had sex with Daemon, but she still wasn't a virgin. While some of the details were inaccurate, Otto was fundamentally correct to suspect Rhaenyra of losing her virginity and jeopardizing the upcoming marriage alliance, thus Rhaenyra indirectly cost Alicent's father his high-ranking position at court. Her heart hardening, Alicent surprises Criston by quietly telling him to go and return to his duties.

WLTW Orwyle, Viserys & Mellos

Mellos and Orwyle treat Viserys's infection.

When King Viserys arrives back at the castle from his journey, however, he collapses as soon as he dismounts from his carriage in the courtyard. Rushed to his private chambers, he recovers slightly in a bathtub while attended by his maesters. Amputating the two fingers on the king's left hand only slowed the advance of the persistent infection, and now after several more years it has once again continued to spread along much of his forearm. Grand Maester Mellos insists on yet another round of leechings, but his new young aide Maester Orwyle instead suggests that a new mixture of medicines in a poultice might be more effective. The conservative old maester scoffs at this and says his leechings have always improved the king's condition, though the elderly Mellos then struggles to stand back up (hinting that his time as Grand Maester may be coming to an end before much longer). After he leaves, Orwyle hands Lord Lyonel a new medicine anyway and says that drinking it will help the king sleep. Now alone, Viserys laments to Lyonel that he doesn't think he'll be much remembered as king, because he wasn't a great warrior and made no glorious conquests, but neither did he suffer any major defeats. Lyonel says that many would consider that a good legacy. Pained, Viserys smiles but says that a peaceful and uneventful reign isn't the stuff of epic songs retold at feasts. He then ponders wistfully, that if some great crisis had occurred when he was younger, it's possible he might have risen to the occasion and in that crucible been forged into a different, better man. Rather than humour him, Lyonel says many yearn for that test but in truth most men faced with crisis wish it hadn't come to them. Viserys respects his honesty, but can't help but think of another life he may have had and wonder about his legacy.

The royal wedding[]

WA King's Landing fleet

House Velaryon's fleet and dragons arrive at King's Landing.

The long-awaited royal wedding ceremonies finally begin: first a grand feast in the Red Keep, to be followed by seven days of tournaments and spectacle, culminating with the marriage ceremony. The Velaryons arrive on their dragons: Laenor on Seasmoke, and his mother Rhaenys on the older and larger Meleys. Meanwhile, Corlys and the full Velaryon fleet arrive in the harbour, as the city's bells toll out to greet them for the festivities.

WLTW Wedding Still 2

A feast is held in the Great Hall.

The feast is held in the throne room itself. Envoys from all the major noble houses of the realm are announced in turn by Ser Harrold Westerling as they enter, such as Lord Jason Lannister and Lord Hobert Hightower (with the notable absence of Otto). Viserys and Rhaenyra sit at the middle of the high table set up in front of the throne's base and receive each in group, though Queen Alicent is noticeably late and has yet to arrive. The entire room comes to a halt for the entrance of the stunning entourage of House Velaryon, dressed in extravagant gold tracery. Corlys, Rhaenys, Laenor, and Ser Vaemond take their seat at one side of the high table. The assembled guests are surprised, however, when just after the Velaryon entourage finishes coming through the doors, Daemon Targaryen follows some distance behind them, even though his brother Viserys exiled him for a second time and told him never to return. As Daemon was Corlys's partner in the capture of the Stepstones, however, they are the only faction at court where he is somewhat welcome. After a tense moment, Viserys silently welcomes his brother back, as it seems Daemon is appearing out of courtesy for his niece's wedding. Viserys orders another chair brought up to the high table for Daemon, next to Lyonel Strong at the opposite side from the Velaryons. After the moment with Daemon has passed, Viserys rises to give a speech in praise of House Velaryon as the crown's most faithful and powerful allies, and that this marriage will unite both families as one.

WLTW Alicent Hightower Still 3

Alicent arrives in a green gown, giving the Greens their name.

Just then, Queen Alicent enters through the main doors, intentionally interrupting the king in the middle of his speech. Alicent is dressed in a green dress. Larys notes to his brother Ser Harwin Strong that when House Hightower calls its bannermen to assemble for war, the watch fire in the Hightower is set to burn a green color: in effect, green is the Hightowers' war color. Alicent silently makes her way through the feast hall as all, save for Daemon, rise for her presence. When she reaches the high table she gives Viserys a curt peck on the cheek. Alicent coldly congratulates Rhaenyra, referring to her only as "stepdaughter". Her fixed, sharp glares and dramatic entrance make it clear to Rhaenyra that she knows she was lied to, and their friendship is over. Viserys returns to his speech, concluding with his hope that just as the Velaryons have followed the Targaryens since the age of dragons in Valyria, this new union will usher in a second age of dragons in Westeros.

WLTW Royce Still 1

Gerold Royce confronts Daemon about Rhea's death.

Despite the tense entrances of Daemon and then Alicent, they are behaving civil in public, so the tension subsides and the wedding feast begins in earnest. Musicians begin to play as Rhaenyra and Laenor begin the first dance of the evening, and they are then joined by dozens of other couples in a large-scale ballroom dance. Alicent leaves the high table and approaches her uncle Hobert, who affirms Oldtown's support of Alicent. Ser Gerold Royce then approaches the high table to openly accuse that Daemon killed his cousin Rhea Royce, as her riding skill is so well known she couldn't possibly have died in an accident. Daemon warns him that such accusations are not only serious but have little evidence, but he will have time to hear them out again when Daemon goes to the Eyrie to present Lady Jeyne Arryn with his claims over his dead wife's inheritance to Runestone. Gerold leaves, and from across the table Daemon exchanges glances with Corlys's daughter Laena (now an attractive young maiden of 17 years). When Laena goes to the dance floor Daemon cuts in to pair with her, and they exchange light flirtations.

WLTW Joffrey and Criston Still

Joffrey Lonmouth speaks with Criston Cole.

Meanwhile, from observing how Rhaenyra and Criston keep glancing at each other, Joffrey Lonmouth accurately deduces that Criston is her secret lover, and notes this to Laenor. Lonmouth then makes his way over to Criston and speaks of their informal alliance, and how both of them will protect the secrets of Rhaenyra and Laenor. Lonmouth has no way of knowing that Criston desperately wanted to marry Rhaenyra to restore his honor, and is on the verge of a complete breakdown.

Daemon then cuts in to dance with Rhaenyra, and they speak in High Valyrian to keep their conversation private from those around them. Daemon urges Rhaenyra that she hasn't married Laenor yet, and though he thinks he's a good man and brave knight, he will "bore" Rhaenyra in their sham marriage, so she has this one last chance to run away with Daemon now that his wife is dead. Rhaenyra, however, feels spurned by Daemon and suspects that he only wants to marry her to gain political power for himself. As they exchange fiery words, they come close to kissing. Viserys angrily observes Daemon through the crowd, but just then they are interrupted by a piercing cry from a different part of the feast floor.

WLTW Joffrey & Criston

Criston beats Joffrey to death.

A brawl has broken out in the packed room, but it becomes clear that at the center of it Criston Cole has begun pummeling Joffrey Lonmouth. Laenor manages to struggle his way through to them and tackles Criston off Lonmouth, but Criston rises and punches out the groom. As waves of scuffles ripple out it nearly turns into a human crush. Another angry guest throws Laenor over a table and away from Criston. Rhaenyra is nearly trampled but Lyonel sends his son Harwin to save her: Harwin tosses and punches people in the crowd aside to reach Rhaenyra, then slings her over his shoulder and wades out to safety. Criston kneels on Lonmouth's chest and continues his savage beating. Lonmouth manages to pull out his dagger, but Criston easily blocks it and snaps his arm. Criston then flies into a dark fury, shouting and punching Lonmouth over and over again, the onlookers too stunned and afraid to intervene. Criston keeps punching until his arm is so tired he cannot lift it anymore, revealing that he has beaten Lonmouth's face in with his bare hands and killed him. The left side of Lonmouth's face is cracked open down to the skull, trailing viscera onto the floor. Criston silently rises and slowly walks out of the throne room, the other guards too terrified to stop him. As the guests clear the floor, Laenor regains consciousness nearby and rushes over to his lover, only to see that his face has been reduced to gore. Laenor wails in anguish while cradling his body. The stress is too much for Viserys's already delicate health, and he begins to bleed copiously from his nose.

WLTW Criston Cole Still 3

Criston prepares to commit suicide.

Unobserved, Criston makes his way to the godswood, and slowly removes his white cloak and armor, now stained in Lonmouth's blood. Criston kneels in front of the sacred weirwood heart tree, and calmly and deliberately draws his dagger, preparing to kill himself. At the last moment Alicent appears and calls his name, preventing his suicide. Rhaenyra has ended this day with two major enemies bitterly opposed to her.

WLTW Rhaenyra and Laenor Still 7

Rhaenyra marries Laenor.

Some hours later, all of the guests have been ordered out and King Viserys has cancelled the seven days of festivities and games leading to the wedding ceremony. Instead, determined to finish this as quickly as possible, Viserys has called in the High Septon to wed Rhaenyra and Laenor in a private exchange of vows in front of their respective parents and close advisors. Rhaenyra and Laenor are still in shock and crying, as they go through the rote exchange of vows on their now ruined wedding day. The High Septon concludes and pronounces them officially married: at this release Viserys, who had been holding himself together on pure adrenaline, drops to the floor in a full faint. His aides rush to tend to him, while on the other side of the throne room, rats lick at the pools of Lonmouth's still warm blood.

Appearances[]

Main page: We Light the Way/Appearances

Firsts[]

Deaths[]

Cast[]

Starring[]

Co-starring[]

Uncredited[]

Notes[]

Behind the scenes[]

General[]

  • The title of the episode refers to the motto of House Hightower.
  • This is the first episode in the entire World of Westeros franchise to have both a female writer and a female director. Game of Thrones didn't have a female writer after Season 3, and didn't have a female director after Season 4. Three episodes in House of the Dragon: Season 1 will have female writer and director pairings, including this one.
  • This is the first episode in House of the Dragon: Season 1 that doesn't have a notable time skip. According to Ryan Condal, there are three major time skips in the first season which involve recasting actors, the smallest of which was the three-year gap between the second and third episodes. There were also smaller passages of time between other episodes: six months between the first and second episodes, one year between the third and fourth episodes. This episode follows soon after the previous one, however, just the few weeks or months it would take for the great lords of the realm to convene in King's Landing for a royal wedding. The episode therefore presumably occurs in the same year that the previous one did, which appears to be 116 AC.
  • Viewership for this episode again rose over the preceding episodes. Across the HBO linear cable channel and HBO Max combined, in the United States alone, the first episode had 10 million viewers and the second had 10.2 million. After that the Labor Day holiday weekend in the United States made viewership difficult to determine for the third episode, but the fourth episode increased by "about 5%" across all platforms. According to Variety, episode five increased on that by about another 3%.[6]

Filming locations[]

Filming locations for this episode included:

  • The exteriors for High Tide castle on Driftmark are not CGI or a matte painting, but the famous castle of St Michael's Mount on the south coast of Cornwall, England. "High Tide" is so-called because it is a tidal island, with a land bridge connecting it to the main island at low tide which gets subsumed by the ocean when the tide rises. Rather than digitally add these elements, the production team simply found a castle that is actually located on a real-life tidal island which was willing to allow filming there. Thus the shot of the royal carriage crossing a sand bar at low tide to reach the castle on an outcropping in the distance is entirely real.
  • Rhaenyra and Laenor's walk along the nearby beach of Driftmark, was filmed at Holywell beach, which is on the north coast of Cornwall.
  • The rolling moors near Runestone where Rhea Royce encounters Daemon were filmed at Derbyshire, northern England. The sandy main floor of the Dragonpit in the first episode was actually filmed at a nearby quarry.

Near Runestone[]

  • Runestone was previously seen briefly in the Game of Thrones: Season 5 premiere, "The Wars To Come". It is an ancient castle, and has the same appearance as it did in that episode.
  • Rhea Royce's bronze armor is covered in Old Tongue runes of the First Men. Game of Thrones previously used Elder futhark runes to represent these in the sigil of House Royce, but the runes on her armor are much more extensive. Rather than just use random runes or develop a long in-universe narrative with them, when translated the Old Tongue runes on Rhea's armor are copied verbatim from the Codex Runicus, a Danish book of laws from around the year 1300 written in medieval futhark runes. Perhaps not by coincidence, the Codex Runicus is the example image used in the top infobox in Wikipedia's article on "Runes" (i.e. it appears someone in the props department looked up "runes" and copy-pasted the first example).
  • Rhea's taunting quote to Daemon about the sheep of the Vale being prettier than the women are a callback to what he said in "The Heirs of the Dragon", meaning that either word got back to her of the insult he made about her at the small council, or that it's an insult he's made on more than one occasion.
  • As Ryan Condal explains in the Inside the Episode, Fire & Blood never says that Daemon killed his wife Rhea, but has one cryptic line that she suddenly died in a chance fall from her horse. Condal was intrigued by this and speculated it could imply her death was no accident. There has been fan speculation that Daemon may have been responsible, but in the books he couldn't have personally done it because he was still in the Stepstones at the time (i.e. he might have hired one of the Faceless Men to kill her, and they try to make their assassinations look like accidents). Condal also said that they made it intentionally ambiguous whether Daemon intentionally threw Rhea's horse or not: it could have been pre-meditated murder, but Daemon is also known for deftly taking advantage of spontaneous opportunities. Even if it was an accident, however, Daemon then seized on this chance to finish off Rhea with a stone.
  • Later during the wedding feast, Daemon says he intends to press his claim to his widow's lands by going to the Eyrie and petitioning Lady Jeyne. This is the first mention of Lady Jeyne Arryn, the current head of House Arryn and ruler of the Vale in her own right, who will be a major recurring character. Jeyne inherited rule after her father and brothers died: under normal inheritance law, a lord's daughter inherits ahead of the lord's younger brothers (by this principle Rhaenys should actually have inherited the Iron Throne, but the Great Council voted to ignore this). Through Aemma Arryn, Jeyne is Rhaenyra's cousin on her mother's side.
  • It's unclear why Daemon didn't try to sire at least one child with Rhea, as this would have given him much better claim over her lands. Apparently, he hated her so much he couldn't bring himself to do it. In the behind the scenes video, Condal says that Rhea isn't actually unattractive (as Daemon keeps saying) and isn't a bad person in general, but she personally dislikes Daemon and he can't stand her for it.

On Driftmark[]

  • Behind the scenes videos extensively go over the highly detailed design of the "Hall of Nine", the main hall in High Tide containing the Driftwood Throne. The videos state that it is called the "Hall of Nine" in reference to all of the artifacts from Corlys's famous nine voyages of sea exploration to the corners of the Known world.
  • Ryan Condal and Production Designer Jim Clay explained that the underlying idea behind the interiors of High Tide is that it is an entirely new castle: Corlys had the castle built all in his own lifetime using the wealth from his voyages. Other castles such as Winterfell or Highgarden were expanded incrementally over many centuries. Even the Red Keep itself, which was designed and built in its final form, was finished over sixty years ago. The fact that Corlys had the wealth to build an entirely new castle all at once with no price limit means that he could use more experimental architecture, such as the complicated spiral design to the main staircase, paralleled by a curving main entryway behind it. Jim Clay said that the murals and overall color scheme were inspired by the interiors of the Byzantine Hagia Sophia. The main floor to ceiling mural next to the staircase depicts Corlys's ship, the Sea Snake.
  • The Hall of Nine contains props of the treasures Corlys collected on his voyages, and the production team fully worked out where each of them comes from. Actor Steve Toussaint asked Ryan Condal to come up with some background details on each item so he'd know what they were when he was looking at them, and he was surprised when Condal came back with very extensive background descriptions for each of them, even though none of it appears in dialogue.
    • One of the notable easter eggs in the hall is that it contains accurate updated maps of the world from The Lands of Ice & Fire (2012). Due to legal rights issues, Game of Thrones had to rely on earlier maps from 2011 even through its final season. World maps in Game of Thrones therefore contained several errors for the lands around the Jade Sea in the far east, and didn't depict Sothoryos or the Summer Isles. The Hall of Nine contains a prominent world map as a mural to the left of the main staircase, as well as several more detailed navigational maps scattered on Corlys's desk.
    • One of the items in Corlys's collection appears to be a giant mollusk shell the size of a wagon wheel. This is not artwork but (a prop of) a real shell: The World of Ice & Fire (2014) stated that crabs and lobsters of "truly monstrous size" can be found in the Shivering Sea, which Corlys passed through on one of his voyages.
    • Another of the items in Corlys's collection is a mammoth skull: in another of his voyages he sailed north to Hardhome beyond the Wall, in a failed attempt to find a northwest passage to the other side of Westeros.
  • Corlys remarks that the Velaryons currently control half of the realm's dragons. He is appears to be strictly referring to dragons with riders, the ones that are actually "controlled". At this specific time there are only four dragons bonded to riders: Laenor and Rhaenys have Seasmoke and Meleys, Rhaenyra has Syrax, and Daemon has Caraxes. Corlys doesn't appear to include Daemon in that count, as while he has allied with Corlys he is very much his own agent.
  • A prequel series has been pitched which would cover the voyages of young Corlys around the world, under the working title "Nine Voyages". When this episode was made in 2022 it had advanced from the pitch phase and HBO had ordered a pilot script from writer Steve Conrad, though as with other proposed prequels, a greenlight is on hold until HBO sees how well House of the Dragon itself performs.
  • Rhaenyra euphemistically discusses Laenor's sexual orientation using the analogy of food appetites, that some people simply prefer duck instead of goose. Fire & Blood didn't use these exact lines, but did refer to Laenor's sexuality using a food metaphor: when the match to Laenor was presented to the small council, the objection was raised that Laenor had never expressed interest in women, and seemed to prefer the company of handsome young men his own age; Grand Maester Mellos dismissed this out of hand by retorting, "What of it? I am not fond of fish, but when fish is served, I eat it."
    • In the novels, Cersei uses a similar metaphor when she wonders whether Renly had sex with Margaery despite his sexual preference: "A man may prefer the taste of hippocras, yet if you set a tankard of ale before him, he will quaff it quick enough" (A Feast for Crows, Cersei I).
  • Laenor's sexual orientation is something of an open secret at the royal court in the book, though the exact extent of who knew about it is unclear. Rhaenyra refers to it when talking to her father Viserys before the marriage, and later Criston Cole remarks about it to Alicent and her advisors. The book doesn't mention if Laenor's parents knew or if they did what their attitude towards it was. Corlys's line insisting that Laenor is just young and will "outgrow it" isn't in the book. Laenor's parents generally seemed to have a good relationship with him.
  • In terms of Gender and sexuality in Westeros, much like the real middle ages, homosexuality isn't actively persecuted as some sort of major crime, but it is frowned upon as a venal sin of the flesh, loosely comparable to adultery. Like adultery, people don't talk about it in public, but it still happens despite the Faith's misgivings (i.e. Robert Baratheon's infidelities, and noble bastards are so common they have an entire system of special surnames for them).
  • There are two brief lines in Fire & Blood possibly implying that Laena Velaryon is also interested in same-sex relationships: a one line reference from a maester (when the proposed marriage pact between her and Viserys was rejected) that she was more interested in flying dragons than kissing boys, and a mention that after marrying Laenor, Rhaenyra "grew fond and more than fond" of her sister-in-law. No further comment or context was given. It is notable that in this episode Laena is actually happy to see Rhaenyra and pleasantly leads her off to breakfast.
  • The Viserys and Rhaenys branches of the Targaryens in this episode refer to each other as "cousin" without specifying degree: to reiterate, Viserys is Rhaenys's first cousin, making Rhaenyra second cousin to both Laenor and Laena. Even first cousin marriage, however, is officially not considered incest in Westeros (though uncle-niece relationships are).
  • Laenor and Laena are already familiar with Rhaenyra because as cousins of the king, they have appeared at the royal court before. Both of them were present with Rhaenyra in the royal viewing box at the tournament in the first episode, even though they had no speaking lines in it (or with Rhaenyra), but presumably they've interacted before off-screen.

At the Red Keep[]

  • Criston Cole begs Alicent to grant him the mercy of a quick execution, instead of gelding him and subjecting him to prolonged torture. This is actually what happened to the last Kingsguard who broke his vow of chastity, Lucamore Strong, in a scandal about 30 years before this which would still be within living memory. Lucamore didn't even have sex with the king's own daughter, but it was found that he had not only broken his vow of chastity, but bigamously married three separate women and fathered children with them, each ignorant of the others' existence.
  • Maester Orwyle is introduced in this episode as a younger assistant to Grand Maester Mellos. In the book, Mellos is indeed an old-minded physician who insists on the benefits of frequent leechings; but Orwyle doesn't arrive in King's Landing until after Mellos eventually dies. Instead, it is Maester Gerardys who starts treating Viserys somewhat more effectively with various medicinal potions and tinctures. Of course, as both Gerardys and Orwyle are both from a younger generation of maesters than Mellos, it's possible that this is part of a general shift away from leechings in Westerosi medicine.
  • This episode marks the debut of Rhaenys's dragon, Meleys. She is called the Red Queen due to her scarlet scales, with copper highlights on her horns. Meleys is larger than Laenor's dragon Seasmoke but appears to be the same "breed", raising the possibility that Meleys is Seasmoke's mother. The books simply do not give lineages for any of the dragons.
  • Ryan Condal admitted in interviews that the dwarf performing with the royal musicians is meant to be their version of Mushroom, the debauched court jester from Fire & Blood, who later produced an utterly ribald and distorted historical account of these events filled with lies and fabrications.
    • On the dance floor, Daemon asks Laena, "Has anyone ever told you that you're almost as pretty as your brother?" - in the book, Mushroom himself remarks that Laena is exceptionally beautiful, "almost as pretty as her brother".
  • In the book, Alicent starts wearing iconic green dresses but no explanation is given for this choice: she apparently just liked the color green. The detail actually is in the books, however, that House Hightower changes the signal fire on their lighthouse to a green flame when they are calling their banners to war. Thus, green is the Hightower's "war color". It's unknown if this reasoning behind Alicent's dresses originated from Martin, or if Condal and his writing team just developed it retroactively after noting the possible connection.
    • Condal points out in behind the scenes videos that in the book, the point when Alicent first wore an iconic green dress happened at a tournament a few years before Rhaenyra's marriage, but it was condensed together with the marriage in the TV version.
      • In the book, at the aforementioned event Rhaenyra dressed dramatically in Targaryen red and black, as opposed to the green gown Alicent wore; this was the beginning point of the division of the court to "Greens" (supporters of Alicent's son Aegon) and "Blacks" (Rhaenyra's supporters).
    • Note that in the books, the color of the signal fire on House Hightower's sigil is actually that of a normal red flame: the TV version changed it to always been the green flame, as it would appear on a shield facing their enemies in wartime.
  • It is only shown in wideshot, but when Alicent makes her entrance and approaches the throne, everyone in the audience and at the royal table rises to their feet to honor her except for Daemon, who remains seated. If it wasn't for Viserys's remarriage to Alicent, Daemon would still be the only male heir to the throne. Daemon even remains seated when Alicent walks directly past him to reach her seat at the middle of the table.
  • Director Clare Kilner points out in the behind the scenes videos that "Dance", as an art form, never appeared in Game of Thrones whatsoever, so she and her team had to put considerable thought into developing the style of the wedding dance scenes for this episode. There simply weren't dance scenes in the A Song of Ice & Fire books, and while they mention that certain characters are fond of dance, fundamentally it doesn't translate well in a non-visual medium. Kilner's team wasn't happy with the first dance style they came up with, so they revised it to be less "contemporary".
  • Joffrey says that he's called "the Knight of Kisses" but he doesn't know why. In the book, it's because of the heraldry of House Lonmouth: a field quartered six ways, alternating between red lips on yellow and yellow skulls on black. Their motto is "The Choice is Yours" (either be a friend and get kisses, or be an enemy and get death/skulls).
  • Criston Cole doesn't kill Joffrey Lonmouth in the middle of the wedding feast in the book: he mortally injured him at the following tournament held to celebrate the wedding (in the episode Viserys mentions they will hold seven days of tourneys and festivals before the wedding ceremony, but this is abruptly canceled due to Lonmouth's death). This introduces the question of how Criston in the TV series could escape judgement for his actions, because in the book killing a man in a tournament isn't considered murder.
  • While Alicent encountering Criston in the godswood is shown in montage with Rhaenrya and Laenor exchanging wedding vows, they don't actually take place at the same time, because Alicent can be seen behind Viserys during the exchange of wedding vows.
  • This episode again brings up the issue of the "unreliable narrator" in the source material, which gives two alternate versions of how Rhaenyra and Criston broke up:
    • The preceding episode addressed how Rhaenyra lost her virginity, which has two conflicting sources in the book. Septon Eustace says that Daemon had sex with Rhaenyra, while Mushroom's debauched and unreliable account claims that Daemon took Rhaenyra to brothels so she could train to seduce Criston Cole, but he ultimately rejected her, then Daemon asked Viserys to marry her because no one else would have her now. The TV show took a third option between the two, presenting that both accounts were wrong, and Rhaenyra actually did have sex with Criston.
    • In contrast, this episode wholly uses Eustace's version for how Rhaenyra and Criston broke up (other than that Eustace never said they had sex). Eustace said that Criston was smitten with Rhaenyra and begged her to run away with him into exile, but she rejected his offer of marriage due to her duty to the throne. The book version goes on to have Rhaenyra point out that if Criston would abandon his vow as a Kingsguard, she couldn't trust that a marriage vow would mean much to him. The only difference is that in the book Criston snuck into Rhaenyra's chambers to profess his love, while in the TV show he does it on their boat as they return from Driftmark. Mushroom's alternate version of these events is that Rhaenyra tried to seduce Criston for a second time and was again refused: this probably didn't happen, not only because Mushroom is repeating himself, but because it doesn't account for why, if Criston was the one who rejected Rhaenyra and not the other way around, he then flew into a "dark fury" at the subsequent wedding tournament and mortally wounded Joffrey Lonmouth.

In the books[]

Main page: Differences in adaptation/House of the Dragon: Season 1#"We Light the Way"

This episode is adapted from the chapter "Heirs of the Dragon — A Question of Succession" from Fire & Blood.

Gallery[]

Videos[]

Images[]

Stills[]

Screenshots[]

References[]

  1. HOUSE OF THE DRAGON (HBO). The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 5: "We Light the Way" (2022).
  3. 3.0 3.1 House of the Dragon. HBO. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 House of the Dragon: Season 1. HBO. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 We Light the Way. HBO. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  6. Variety, September 20, 2022

Notes[]

  1. "We Light the Way" picks up directly after the events of "King of the Narrow Sea," which takes place in 116 AC.

External links[]


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