Well, that happened.
Episode five of HBO’s The House of the Dragon, titled “We Light The Way,” dropped last night. And while it was as dramatic and violent as the good days of Game of Thrones, it also came with the original show’s homophobia.
When it comes to LGBTQ characters and representation in the Game of Thrones mythos, we’ve mostly seen violence and sad endings. All of the queer male characters have been brutally murdered and only one queer female character, Yara Greyjoy (played by Gemma Whelan) survived the entire show. So when viewers were introduced to Theo Nate as Laenor Velaryon, LGBTQ fans were hopeful. Not only is he a gay character, but he’s a gay character of color! We love to see it, but….
The episode introduced the young adult version of the character with a political marriage between him and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock). Rhaenyra, having grown up with Laenor, knows that he’s gay and gives him permission to keep seeing his lover Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly mcLeod). Meanwhile, she hinted at doing the same with her knight lover Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). But when Joffrey learns of Cole’s relationship with the princess, he teases the knight. Unfortunately, Cole was pretty wound up about breaking his oath of chastity. When confronted, Cole went into an angry panic and killed Lonmouth.
Watching the moment, I was not surprised to see another gay character be killed off. But, I WAS surprised to see him die so quickly. And sadly, I wasn’t the only one.
— Devin Randall (@DevJackRan) September 19, 2022
— depression (@raccoonmum) September 19, 2022
— Calebe Cobalt (@CalebeCobalt) September 19, 2022
— X Æ A-Xii (@JustinSanx) September 19, 2022
The gays really kept losing this episode
— mementomoray (@mementomoray) September 19, 2022
— Ratcole (@2__jet__2) September 19, 2022
It seems House of the Dragon will be continuing its run of brutally killing off its few LGBTQ characters. And if you’re thinking, “Who cares? It’s medieval times and the show’s violent. That’s the point,” you’re missing the fact that this is a fictional world in a fantasy story. While yes, violence and conflict are at the heart of this show, the death of nearly every queer character did not have to happen.
“And while it can be argued that most characters in the series experience some form of horrific violence, queer characters’ deaths are often also marked by homophobic subtext that can’t be ignored… And for those who will try to paint the homophobia as some sort of “historical accuracy,” ‘House of the Dragon’ is a fictional show set in a world with dragons and ice zombies.”
But let’s also take a moment to celebrate the good in the situation. One queer character survived! While the episode saw Laenor Velaryon in shock and mourning the death of his lover, he also married Rhaenyra. Laenor is now betrothed to the heir to the thrown and is set to be King Consort. Next week’s episode reveals a time skip and shows that the pair will even have children. BUT, that time skip also means we’ll be getting a new actor playing the role.
Theo Nate’s time playing young adult Laenor was short-lived. But, we wanted to give the actor a shout out. It looks like HBO had a practice of hiring new talent for this show. Like Alcock and Frankel, Nate was still new to the film industry. After mostly working in theater, Nate’s only TV appearance by 2021 was a small role in the Sean Bean series Time. And it looks like Theo Nate doesn’t have any publicized social media accounts for fans to follow.
The same can be said for the man who’ll be replacing Theo Nate. Matthew Carver is listed as the next man to play Laenor Velaryon. And it looks like he ALSO doesn’t have any publicly known social media accounts. Come on working actors! Give us some Instagram accounts to follow!
But LGBTQ fans and fans of LGBTQ media. I’m giving you a warning now! Matthew Carver is only listed as appearing in one episode….
It was hard to be a Game of Thrones fan if you were and are LGBTQ. Watching one queer character after another die became both numbing and redundant. And, sadly, it looks like House of the Dragon is more of the same.