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House of the Dragon Episode 7 ending explained

How is [SPOILERS] still alive?

House of the Dragon has a habit of ending each episode with an important character dead. Episode 5 took out Laenor Velaryon’s secret boyfriend Joffrey, and Episode 6 came for Laenor’s sister, Laena. So what about Episode 7? House of the Dragon’s latest entry ended with another twist, but not the one you might think. Let’s dive in.

Major spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon Episode 7 ending explained

After a heated confrontation between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her evil stepmother Queen Alicent that ends in a stabbing, Rhaenyra makes a controversial choice. She goes to her uncle Daemon and demands to marry him, both to solidify her claim to the throne and because she’s clearly got a crush on her father’s brother.

Daemon agrees, but points out one major flaw with his niece’s plan: She’s already married. Apparently divorce isn’t a thing in Westeros, because the only way forward is for Rhaenyra’s husband to shuffle off this mortal coil. So they come up with a plot that involves bribing Laenor’s current “secret” boyfriend, Ser Qarl Correy, to murder his own lover.

Qarl (Arty Froushan) in House of the Dragon.HBO

In a series of events intercut with the Targaryen-Targaryen wedding, we see Daemon bribe Qarl and then sneak into the Velaryon castle of Driftmark, where he incapacitates a guard. Next, Qarl shows up at the castle, shouts about how Laenor never treats him with respect, and starts swinging his sword.

Laenor’s squire runs for help, but by the time anyone can show up the fight is finished, and they find a dead body shoved into a lit fireplace. He’s so burned up he’s barely recognizable, but his clothes and jewelry make it clear this is Laenor — or so we think.

A final shot shows Qarl on a small rowboat. He’s joined by a hooded figure who reveals himself to be Laenor, still alive but with a shaved head.

How is Laenor alive?

Laenor and Rhaenyra in (slightly) happier times.HBO

The answer here is pretty simple. Daemon and Rhaenyra’s plan was to create a scenario where Laenor and Qarl were alone, but someone else knew they were fighting. Then they took some other poor soul’s dead body, dressed it up like Laenor, and threw it in the fire to hide its true identity.

After that, Laenor just had to cut off his flowing Velaryon hair and make it to the boat, and then they were home free. As Daemon suggests earlier, the pair will head to Essos, where homosexual relationships are more accepted than they are in the socially conservative Westeros.

Based on those intercut scenes of Daemon and Rhaenyra’s wedding, clearly the plan worked, though whether Laenor will eventually return and ruin everything remains to be seen.

What happens to Laenor in the books?

Laenor is off to Essos.HBO

This is one instance where House of the Dragon is deviating from George R.R. Martin’s books. In the prequel texts, Qarl actually does murder Laenor while the two of them are attending a fair, and the public sees it. Everyone seems to accept that he did this out of jealousy after Laenor left him for a younger man. However, it’s also suggested in the book that Daemon orchestrated the whole affair. Maybe the TV show has further plans for Laenor, or maybe HBO just wanted to give him a nicer ending after his sister’s tragic demise.

House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO and HBO Max.

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