Matt Smith and Nanna Blondell in House of the Dragon (2022)

HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ Time Jumps Continue to Fail Its Characters

The time jumps in HBO’s House of the Dragon have been something I’ve been trying to get used to. I know the show is trying to get us to the beginning of this war. However, at the expense of this vision, we have seen many characters and their relationships become underwritten. The latest example of this is Laena Velaryon.

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Spoilers for House of the Dragon.

When we last saw Laena Velaryon, it was at her brother’s bloody wedding. She was seen flirting with Daemon Targaryen, and then all of a sudden, in this episode, not only are they married, but they have twin girls, and Laena is pregnant with her third child. We have zero context for this relationship, what they mean to each other, and the whole dynamics of their family unit. In essence, Laena, like her brother, must be included in the show due to their longer dynastic implications and importance. Her daughters with Daemon especially will be necessary during the battle to come. But Laena isn’t, and therefore her existence is there to be a womb.

Daemon has been a fan favorite due to being played by Matt Smith, and while the dark prince is compelling in his own right, the show has also chipped away at the things that made him complicated. Part of his aggression towards his brother, in the books, is the loss of his son by Mysaria when she is forced to cross the Narrow Sea to Lys. Laena dies in childbirth in Fire & Blood, but after attempting to fly one more time on her dragon and collapsing, Daemon carries her back to bed and sits vigil over Laena’s body together with Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra and Laena are friends, and they visit each other often. Wow, a character having emotional bonds to multiple characters? A concept.

Tweets have been shared showing a deleted scene where Daemon held and comforted his daughters after the passing of their mother. Why where these excluded from the finished show? I couldn’t tell you, but it is frustrating to speed through these things with time jumps to get to a two-to-three-year war, when the build-up and exploration of the relationships is the thing that truly matters.

I am especially saddned because we lose this really interesting female character to childbirth (again), and whatever impact she should have will be concentrated around her husband. Hopefully this will bring the other Velaryons together and we can get more scenes with the interesting side of the family tree.

(featured image: HBO)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.