‘House of the Dragon’ episode 6: What happens to Laena Velayron?

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Another week, another House of the Dragon episode fuelled by fire, pain, and death.

And although Larys Strong’s overtly sociopathic decision to kill his own father and brother in an attempt to further his own efforts may have stolen the headlines, there was another equally fiery and devastating death that deserves our attention.

Namely, that of Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), daughter of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Lord Corlys Velaryon (Eve Best and Steve Toussaint), and wife of the murderous Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), who died in an unusual, moving, and dramatic scene at the close of episode 6.

But what exactly happened? Let’s recap.

How did Laena Velaryon die?

In episode 6, Laena is midway through labor when it becomes clear something is wrong. “I’ve reached the limit of my art,” the maester tells Daemon. “The child will not come.” He then explains, in a horrible echo of the conversation Daemon’s brother King Viserys (Paddy Considine) had with Queen Aemma Arryn‘s (Sian Brooke) maester in episode 1, that he may be able to save either the child or Laena, but not both.

Clearly, Laena overhears some of this conversation. Or if she doesn’t exactly determine the details, she instinctively understands the situation and decides to take matters into her own hands. Stumbling outside, she finds her dragon, Vhagar, and utters the “Dracarys” command. Vhagar hesitates, but Laena repeats the word over and over until the dragon eventually surrenders and unleashes its fatal fire.

A blonde man kneels in front of a pregnant blonde woman.

“I want to die a dragon-rider’s death.”
Credit: HBO

How did House of the Dragon foreshadow Laena’s death?

As we see at the start of the episode, Laena clearly loves nothing more than riding Vhagar. She’s restless in the house in Pentos, one of the Free Cities on Essos’ western coast, far from Westeros. During a conversation with Daemon, in which she tries to persuade him not to stay settled where they are, Laena foreshadows her own death.

“At my end I want to die a dragon-rider’s death,” she says. “Not that of some fat country Lord.”

Without being informed of her perilous situation during labor, Laena realised her fate from Daemon and the maester’s expressions. But instead of dying during childbirth, Laena dies by suicide, commanding the assistance of her greatest love: Vhagar.

This article has discussed suicide. If you’re feeling suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis, please talk to somebody. You can reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988; the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860; or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. Text “START” to Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or email [email protected]. If you don’t like the phone, consider using the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Chat at crisischat.org. Here is a list of international resources.



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