House of the Dragon Episode 5 introduces Daemon’s first wife, Lady Rhea Royce. So far Rhea has only been mentioned in the series, though it’s clear that she and Daemon hold no love for each other. Rhea’s appearance in episode 5 will also be her last on the show. Here’s what you need to know about the heir to Runestone.
[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Episode 5.]
Daemon is estranged from his first wife, Lady Rhea
House of the Dragon previously mentioned Daemon’s wife, Lady Rhea, though she doesn’t appear until episode 5. Daemon and Rhea married as a political arrangement but quickly made known their dislike for each other. Their relationship grew estranged, with Daemon even referring to his wife as the “bronze b****.” Daemon also took Lady Mysaria as his mistress while married to Lady Rhea.
In the series, Daemon tries to take Mysaria for his second wife, stating that he did not get to choose his first. When this fails, he later tries to marry Rhaenyra, but she is wed to Laenor Valaryon.
‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 5 introduced Lady Rhea of Runestone
House of the Dragon Episode 5 opens with Lady Rhea riding her horse through the Vale. She comes across Daemon, who approaches her menacingly, causing her horse to fall on top of her. After a final insult from Rhea, he crushes her skull with a rock.
“We allude to Lady Rhea all through the season,” co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik said in a featurette. “And so it felt like a good way to meet her was literally just before we kill her.”
“There was this line in the book that always fascinated me,” co-showrunner Ryan Condal added. “‘Daemon’s wife, the Lady Rhea Royce of Runestone, fell off her horse, and her skull was crushed in the fall.’ I read that, and I was like, ‘That’s such a weird detail to include with no context around it.'”
“So I stared at it, and I was like, ‘Well, Daemon obviously went home and murdered his wife,’ and we made a whole little short film story about it.” Condal continued, “We like this idea that she was actually a tough woman, no-nonsense, who wasn’t as Daemon described her, but probably someone that just didn’t really like Daemon.”
Did Daemon plan to kill his wife?
The scene with Lady Rhea in House of the Dragon Episode 5 was meant to be ambiguous regarding Daemon’s plan. “We never know whether Daemon went there to kill his wife or not, and that’s what Matt [Smith] plays so interestingly,” director Clare Kilner said in a featurette.
“You never know what’s going on in Daemon’s head, yet you believe him when he makes split-second decisions and goes for something,” she continued. Though Daemon may not have planned to kill Rhea, he quickly tries to capitalize on her death.
He tells Rhea’s cousin, Ser Gerald Royce, that he plans to attempt to possess Lady Rhea’s inheritance since they had no children. Daemon also makes one final move on Rhaenyra, though this ultimately fails.
House of the Dragon airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.