House of the Dragon – Season 1 Episode 7 “Driftmark” Recap & Review

Driftmark

Episode 7 of House of the Dragon starts with Laena’s funeral. Everyone mourns her death, with Velaryon and Targaryen alike joining to pay their respects. Daemon breaks up proceedings with a maniacal chuckle, while Aegon looks visibly bored.

After Laena’s coffin is pushed into the sea via ropes, Rhaenyra speaks to her son and reminds him where he is – and how powerful House Velaryon is. Jace approaches Daemon’s two children and one holds his hand, which is a nice gesture. As for Daemon himself, he’s clearly unhinged and shares several intimate glances with Rhaenyra.

As the night wears on, Viserys takes himself to bed without Alicent while Corlys reprimands his son for wandering off and grieving knee-deep in the middle of the ocean. After, he discusses the lineage of Driftmark with his side and which side of the family will take it. “Rhaenyra’s children are not of your blood,” Corlys is reminded. In reply he says: “History does not remember blood, it remembers names.”

Outside, Corlys’ suspicions are all but confirmed by Rhaenyra, who walks with Daemon down the beach. She admits there was no joy with Laenor but she found that with Ser Harwin. Rhaenyra bemoans Daemon for abandoning her and here, with the waves lapping gently up onto the beach, the pair kiss. “I want you,” Rhaenyra whispers. And with that, the pair have sex.

Elsewhere on the beach, Aemond causes all sorts of chaos. He spies Vhagar, the orphaned dragon of Laena, alone. He sneaks up and attempts to ride it. He’s absolutely dwarfed in the presence of this majestic creature and almost gets burned when the creature spurns fire deep in its belly.

However, Aemond manages to tame it and takes the dragon off for a big ride around the castle. Given the absolute racket this causes, it wakes most of the castle… including Baela and Rhaena. They, in turn, approach Jace and all three head downstairs and begin beating Aemond when he shows up.

Given the dragon was supposed to be claimed by one of Daemon’s children, this combustible cocktail explodes into chaos. Aemond has his eye sliced out, Luke has his nose broken… and Lord Corlys arrives just as Viserys demands everyone be silenced in the hall together.

At the center of this are Alicent and Rhaenyra, who go back and forth like two mums in a school playground. The difference here though is that the fate of the Kingdom hangs in the balance. Aemond is told to reveal who spurned these rumours about Rhaenyra’s bastard children… and he names Aegon after a long glance at Alicent. “Everyone knows. Just look at them.” Aegon replies.

Viserys has had enough and demands everyone stop fighting and make amends. “That is insufficient.” Alicent says, and decides that a just punishment should be taking one of Rhaenyra’s children’s eyes as payment for the debt caused.

When Viserys refuses, Alicent orders Criston Cole take control and do this, undermining the King’s command. When he hesitates, she grabs a blade herself and launches herself at the kids.

Rhaenyra grabs her old friend and holds her back, eventually whispering “And now they see you as you are.” She slashes at Rhaenyra’s wrist, spilling blood across the floor, bitterly retorting how unfair it is that Rhaenyra does as she pleases and doesn’t confront to duty like she does.

Aemond eventually stands and simmers the tension, claiming that they’ve enacted a fair exchange. He may have lost an eye but he’s gained a dragon. The matter is resolved.

In the wake of all this, Otto is back as Hand of the King. He approaches Alicent after the incident in the hall and admits that he’s actually proud of her. He goes on to reveal this is an ugly game and her outburst may have actually helped serve their cause. He knows that Viserys will forgive her and promises that they will prevail together. They have a dragon now too, and Viserys will undoubtedly forgive Alicent. Otto tells her daughter she needs to be patient.

As for Rhaenyra, she’s patched up by the Maester and speaks to Laenor. He admits he’s failed them and bemoans the Gods for making him the way he is. Rhaenyra calls him an honorable man with a good heart, smiling and telling him that’s a rare thing.

Laenor decides to double his efforts though and stay devoted to her as a husband. He sees the target painted on Rhaenyra’s back and realizes this is the best thing he can do for her and the kingdom. Rhaenyra is grateful but has another idea.

Rhaenyra approaches Daemon and suggests they strengthen their bond together properly. She wants to bind their blood just as Aegon the Conqueror once did, wanting to take Daemon as her husband and Prince Consort. The only way this would be possible is if Laenor is dead.

So Daemon pays off Ser Qarl to have him killed. And when the scene cuts from their fight to Lord Colys showing up in the hall, they find their remaining son burning in the fire… or do they?

A clever reveal shows a bald Laenor still alive and smuggled out the building by Ser Qarl. Given Laenor has been dreaming of the Stepstones and looking for a way out, this kills two birds with one stone and allows a happy ending of sorts for him.

As the episode closes out, the final scene depicts Rhaenyra and Daemon getting married, with their children watching on.


The Episode Review

Daemon and Rhaenyra’s wedding is likely to cause shockwaves across the realm. Not only is it going to see Corlys want to strike back, but it could well spark a huge war to round out this first season too. There are a lot of moving parts here and this chain reaction is first set off by Aemond in taking the dragon for himself.

It’s clear Alicent’s children have her same temperament and ultimately this whole fight ends with Rhaenyra realizing she needs to strengthen her claim in order to make a real impact in the realm.

The ending certainly throws up a lovely twist with Laenor actually still alive and getting what he always wanted – an escape. He now no longer needs to worry about his family lineage or making heirs, and this deal he’s seemingly struck with Rhaenyra is a defining point in this whole story.

Next week’s finale should be quire the dramatic affair and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more deaths along the way.

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You can read our full season review for House of the Dragon Season 1 here!

  • Episode Rating
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3.5

4 thoughts on “House of the Dragon – Season 1 Episode 7 “Driftmark” Recap & Review”

  1. Hey Anne, good spot. I’ve just gone in and changed that now so it should read correctly. Thanks for the correction, really appreciate the heads up!

    -Greg W

  2. Daemon and Rhaenyra have to be the most selfish and cruel Targaryens so far. They know how much Corlys and Rhaenys mourn the loss of their daughter Laena; Daemon is their son-in-law; and yet they happily let them believe that their only remaining child, Laenor, had been killed. Rhaenys’ grief over the burned corpse she believes to be that of her son is heart-wrenching. Why couldn’t Rhaenyra have had the decency to tell the grieving parents that at least one of their children still lived, even though he had chosen to live a life far apart from Driftmark?

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