Editor’s Note: The following accommodates spoilers about the fifth episode of “House of the Dragon,” which premiered Sept. 18.
“House of the Dragon’s” fifth episode is definitely important for logistical causes, basically marking the finish of the chapter before the present time jumps forward, that includes older variations of some characters and considerably shuffling the deck.
Yet the hour may generate as a lot buzz for a brutal loss of life that occurred, inviting dialogue of outdated considerations and wounds about the approach that LGBTQ characters are handled – and extra to the level, killed off – in TV dramas.
The strides made in phrases of higher inclusion have coincided with debate about how these characters are portrayed and the fates that they meet, giving rise to a much-discussed trope known as “Bury Your Gays.” The phrase refers to a historical past through which homosexual characters have disproportionately died as a plot system, creating the impression they’re extra expendable in the eyes of storytellers.
Given that, the “Game of Thrones” prequel doubtlessly waded into controversy with its most up-to-date episode, subtitled “We Light the Way,” which once more demonstrated, amongst different issues, that in Westeros not a lot good ever occurs at weddings. (The collection performs on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)
As half of the plot, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) agreed to a marriage of comfort to Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) – a royal merger designed to fortify their respective traces’ maintain on energy, the place they’ll indulge their “appetites” elsewhere.
Knowing that Laenor is homosexual, Rhaenyra – having been reminded by her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) that marriage is merely a political association – reassured him that they might basically stay separate lives, permitting him to proceed his relationship with Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod). Rhaenyra, in the meantime, had been dallying with a knight of her personal, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).
At the marriage ceremony feast, Joffrey let or not it’s identified to Criston that he’s conscious of the knight’s relationship with Rhaenyra, which clearly unsettled and disturbed him. When the occasion chaotically erupts in violence a quick whereas later, Criston is on high of Joffrey, brutally pounding him to loss of life throughout the melee. He then flirts with taking his personal life, before Rhaenyra’s budding political rival, Alicent (Emily Carey), intervenes.
Martin’s imaginative and prescient is of a medieval world the place life is usually low cost. That consists of the whole lot from orgies to incest, and from the horrors of childbirth to securing regal succession even when which means marrying off under-age women.
Still, introducing the relationship between Laenor and Joffrey solely to dispatch the latter so shortly and horribly nearly instantly prompted questions on Twitter on Sunday night time about whether or not the “Bury Your Gays” trope applies right here. Notably, previous discussions of the follow have typically surrounded science fiction and fantasy collection, together with “The 100” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and extra just lately, BBC America’s darkish spy thriller “Killing Eve.”
It’s additionally price noting that in “Game of Thrones’” heyday some requested if the present had a “homosexual downside,” as Vulture put it in a 2016 piece citing the quantity of LGBTQ characters who, up till that time, had met a violent finish.
The arc of Laenor’s character doesn’t conclude with the newest episode. How that story unfolds may doubtlessly offset or soften this newest flip of occasions in the eyes of those that would criticize it.
For now, although, based mostly on the high-profile nature of the franchise that magnifies nearly the whole lot about the collection, “House of the Dragon” may face some near-term warmth.
HBO declined a request to handle the episode.