‘House of the Dragon’ closes a chapter, but not before touching on a painful trope | CNN

Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers about the fifth episode of “House of the Dragon,” which premiered on September 18.


“House of the Dragon’s” fifth episode is actually significant for logistical reasons, essentially marking the end of the chapter before the show’s time jumps forward, featuring older versions of some characters and decks. change to some extent.

Yet the hour may make as much noise about a brutal death as one that invites discussion of old concerns and wounds about the way LGBTQ characters are treated in TV dramas.

The progress made in terms of greater inclusion coincides with the discussion of how these characters are portrayed and the fates they meet, a The much-discussed trope known as “Bury Your Gays.” The phrase refers to a history in which gay characters have died disproportionately as a plot device, giving the impression that they are more expendable in the eyes of storytellers. .

Given this, the “Game of Thrones” prequel likely ran into conflict with its most recent episode, subtitled “We Light the Way,” which revealed, among other things, That marriages in Westeros don’t fare so well. (The series airs on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

As part of the plot, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) agrees to a marriage of convenience with Lenore Velarion (Theo Nate) – a royal merger designed to strengthen their respective lines of power. , where they can satisfy their “hunger” elsewhere.

Knowing that Lenore is gay, Rhaenyra – reminded by her uncle Damon (Matt Smith) that the marriage is merely a political arrangement – assures her that they will live essentially separate lives, and allowing Joffrey to continue his relationship with Lonemouth (Solly McLeod). Rhaenyra, meanwhile, is on the run with a knight of her own, Ser Kirsten Cole (Fabian Frankel).

At the wedding feast, Joffrey reveals to Kirsten that he is aware of the knight’s relationship with Rhaenyra, which clearly upsets and upsets her. When the event erupts into chaotic violence shortly after, Kristen is on top of Joffrey, brutally beating him during the melee. He then flirts with taking his own life, before Rhynera’s rising political rival Elant (Emily Carey) intervenes.

Martin’s perspective is of a medieval world where life is often cheap. This includes everything from penises to promiscuity. The horrors of childbirth Achieving formal succession even if it means marrying younger girls.

Still, introducing a relationship between Lenore and Joffrey only to dispatch the latter so quickly and horribly led to questions on Twitter Sunday night about whether the “Bury Your Gays” trope applies here. In particular, past discussions of the practice have often surrounded science fiction and fantasy series, including “The 100” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and, more recently, BBC America’s dark spy thriller “Killing Eve.” .

It’s also worth noting that during “Game of Thrones,” some people asked if the show had a “gay problem,” as The vulture put. A 2016 piece cited the number of LGBTQ characters who, by then, had met a violent end.

Lenore’s character arc doesn’t end with the latest episode. How the story unfolds could potentially offset or soften this latest turn of events in the eyes of those who would criticize it.

For now, though, based on the high-profile nature of the franchise that underpins almost everything about the series, “House of the Dragon” may be facing some near-term heat.

HBO declined a request to address the episode.

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