House of the Dragon is based on the novel Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and has been adapting many memorable moments from the book. However, any adaptation will take some liberties, and episode 6 of House of the Dragon featured a shocking death scene that differed from how the character died in the book. [SPOILERS AHEAD!]
‘House of the Dragon’ episode 6 features a surprising death
House of the Dragon episode 6 ends with a bang as multiple characters are killed off, including Harwin (Ryan Corr) and Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes), and Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell). We first met Laena as the little girl Corlys wanted to marry off to King Viserys (Paddy Considine). After the 10-year jump in episode 6, she is married to Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) with two children.
She is pregnant with her third child and goes into labor at the end of the episode. During her labor, the baby gets stuck in the womb, and Daemon is presented with the same decision Viserys was given in episode 1, where they could let the child die or cut her open to get the baby out. Laena knows she will not survive and decides to go out her own way, ordering her dragon Vhagar to burn her and her unborn child, giving her a quick death.
Laena’s death in ‘House of the Dragon’ is different than how she dies in the book
In Fire & Blood, Laena’s death is much less epic. The novel states that she died three days after giving in to a fever from giving birth to her deformed son, who also died. In an interview with Variety, showrunner Ryan Condal shares why they decided to change Laena’s death and give her a more fitting end.
“Laena’s a valkyrie. She’s a dragon rider. We met that little girl back in Episode 2; that little girl went on a couple years later to claim the biggest dragon in the world. It felt like she wouldn’t want to go out the way that the history book said. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the season and the storytelling, we didn’t get to spend as much time as I think we would have preferred to with Laena. We had to keep the story moving. So we wanted to give her a memorable out that felt active and in her character. Even though we’re only with Nanna Blondell’s portrayal of her for a very brief time, within that moment, it tells you a lot about who Laena is and was.”
What happens to Daemon after Laena’s death?
Unfortunately, we got little time with the older Laena, and she leaves behind two daughters and a mighty dragon. This was also the first time Daemon looked truly happy, as he finally had a family and a wife he seemed to care about. It is hinted in episode 6 that Daemon misses home, despite being estranged from his brother.
Daemon could return to King’s Landing later in the season to reconnect with his family. In Fire & Blood, Daemon and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) get married, but Rhaenyra is currently married to Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan). We still have a few episodes to go in season 1, so it’ll be intriguing to see how much of the book is covered this season.
House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO Max.