Trigger &Spoiler Warning: This article includes videos with imagery of graphic violence, and major spoilers from the first six episodes of House of the Dragon and their corresponding book sections.Episode six of House of the Dragon brought a lot of change to the framework of the story. Perhaps most notably, there was the shifting of lead actors, from Milly Alcock and Emily Carey to Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke. However, another major shift involved relationships. Audiences learned that Rhaenyra was involved with Harwin Strong, while Daemon had married Laena Valaryon.

Despite having three different actresses play her over the course of six episodes, Laena was relegated to an incredibly minor role in House of the Dragon. Her most important plot lines happened in between the events in episodes five and six, so much of her character was a casualty of the time jump. However, she was very important to the proceedings in Fire & Blood, so it will be helpful for fans to know the details about Laena Velaryon that House of Dragon left out.

She Was Critical To The Previous Succession Crises

After Aemon Targaryen, the eldest child of Jaehaerys I, was killed in 92 AC, the first major succession crisis began. The King named his next-oldest son, Baelon, as heir, but Queen Alysanne and others argued that the succession should run through Aemon's daughter, Rhaenys. This was most important because Rhaenys was pregnant with "the boy in the belly."

That child ended up being Laena Velaryon, but while her sex prevented her from being a viable choice, the fighting that had begun for her sake was continued when her brother was born and Prince Baelon died. Had she not been a factor, much of the legal and social debate on succession would never have happened, yet the show eliminated this background for the sake of time.

Laena's Dragon Had An Important History

Viewers saw Laena's love of flight during her marriage to Daemon, but the history of her dragon was never expounded on. Laena had bonded with Vhagar, the oldest living Targaryen dragon. Vhagar had previously been ridden by Queen Visenya Targaryen during Aegon's Conquest and Viserys and Daemon's father Prince Baelon years later.

While this was vaguely alluded to in Laena and Viserys's conversation, it was easy to miss, especially for fans who don't know the history of Aegon's Conquest. For example, fans might assume Viserys had no dragon, but he actually had bonded with Aegon the Conqueror's mount, and loved him so much that he never flew again after the dragon's death.

Laena's Response To Being Spurned By Viserys

When Viserys chose to marry Alicent over Laena, Corlys took it as a horrible rejection. Unfortunately, the show didn't actually show anything about how Laena felt in the situation. Her feelings were ignored, because her parents' words were parroted in the scene between her and Viserys.

The book at least gave some focus to the girl in question. While everyone else was outraged, Laena happily moved on with her life. According to the maester at High Tide, "'Her ladyship shows far more interest in flying than in boys.'" Given her young age at this point in the plot, its hardly surprising she was happy to continue on with her life rather than marry a man several times her own age.

Laena Had Been Engaged Before Marrying Daemon

While Rhaenyra didn't have to worry about marriage until she turned sixteen, Laena was considered to be old enough as soon as she menstruated, which was shortly before she was considered for Viserys. After losing the king, Corlys quickly betrothed her to "a son of the Sealord of Braavos."

This is important, because she was actually engaged when she met Daemon, making her yet another forbidden prospect for him to crave. Daemon taunted the boy into a duel and swiftly killed him, so he could marry her. This adds a lot to Daemon's character and their relationship, but the controversy was mostly ignored in the show, where the entire scandal was lost in the time jump.

Daemon Supposedly Fell In Love With Her

In the show, Laena makes eyes at Daemon at Rhaenyra's wedding, and then they were married after the time jump. However, their relationship was far more sentimental in the book. Fire & Blood is written as a history, so most things are stated without elaboration. However, readers are explicitly told "Prince Daemon fell in love with Laena, the singers would have us believe."

While the truth of that love is questioned, the only other couple in the book to have songs written about their love were their shared ancestors Jaehaerys and Alysanne. There were certainly political advantages for Daemon in marrying Laena, but it would have been nice to see a couple that truly loved each other in the midst of all the politics and scheming.

Laena's Daughters' Birth Reconciled Viserys And Daemon

Daemon was exiled from Westeros after supposedly sleeping with Rhaenyra, and that punishment meant that, after getting married, he and Laena were abroad for the first year or more of their marriage. This is briefly touched on in the show, but Viserys only kicked Daemon out of the castle, making it unclear why Daemon insisted on living abroad.

However, when Laena gave birth to twin girls Baela and Rhaena, Viserys and Daemon were reconciled. After 4 years of exile, Daemon sent word to Viserys, "informing His Grace of the birth of his nieces and begging leave to present the girls at court to receive his royal blessing." Viserys agreed, and the whole family moved back to Westeros, taking up residence at Driftmark.

Rhaenyra And Laena Were Very Close

Because Daemon and Laena moved back to Westeros, they were able to establish strong relationships with Rhaenyra. By the book's timeline, Laena was only four years older than Rhaenyra, and the two were close friends. In the show, no relationship between the women existed at all, perhaps because the invented friendship between Rhaenyra and Alicent was favored.

The relationship was important for two key reasons. First, it meant that Rhaenyra and Daemon spent a lot of time together, as all three flew together on regular occasions. In addition, Rhaenyra's eldest sons were betrothed to Laena and Daemon's daughters. Viewers can expect these factors to play into the characters' future actions.

Laena's Labor Vs. Aemma's

As the audience saw in episode six, Laena's second labor did not go well. In the show, the labor was nearly identical to Queen Aemma's: both had a long, hard labor, which could not be safely completed.

However, Laena's labor was very different in the book. It was still a difficult labor, but Laena did manage to deliver the child, who died within an hour. Laena herself survived another three days, with Daemon desperate to save her. When his own maester couldn't manage, Daemon flew to get a better one. There are certainly comparisons to be drawn, but Daemon did everything he could to save her.

Laena Died Surrounded By Loved Ones

Laena's death in the show was strikingly different from the book, though it was based on one of the book's scenes. In Fire & Blood, Laena was dying from sepsis, not the labor itself, for three days. Recognizing her fate, she attempted to reach Vhagar, but didn't make it. Daemon carried her back inside, where he and Rhaenyra mourned her.

By having her die from fire in the show, Laena was made to parallel Harwin Strong. This is an understandable visual choice, but it takes away from Laena's own story. She was not just a disposable love interest, but a powerful woman who was greatly loved and truly missed.

Laena's Legacy Will Be Important Moving Forward

Without spoiling upcoming plot points, Laena's life and death had a lot of meaning in the book. It was a tragedy for Daemon and Rhaenyra, not simply a way for Daemon to dispose of another wife. In addition, Baela and Rhaena made sure to keep her legacy alive, despite being so young when she died.

There are many characters in Blood & Fire, and it would be impossible to include them all in great detail. However, Laena was more than a political alliance for Daemon and womb for her children. She was a strong character in her own right, and her death had an impact on all those who loved her. Hopefully, the show will address that as Daemon, her children, and Rhaenyra make their plans moving forward.

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