Editor’s Word: The next comprises spoilers concerning the fifth episode of “Home of the Dragon,” which premiered Sept. 18.
“Home of the Dragon’s” fifth episode is definitely vital for logistical causes, primarily marking the tip of the chapter earlier than the present time jumps forward, that includes older variations of some characters and considerably shuffling the deck.
But the hour might generate as a lot buzz for a brutal dying that occurred, inviting dialogue of previous considerations and wounds about the way in which that LGBTQ characters are handled – and extra to the purpose, killed off – in TV dramas.
The strides made when it comes to larger inclusion have coincided with debate about how these characters are portrayed and the fates that they meet, giving rise to a much-discussed trope known as “Bury Your Gays.” The phrase refers to a historical past wherein homosexual characters have disproportionately died as a plot gadget, creating the impression they’re extra expendable within the eyes of storytellers.
On condition that, the “Sport of Thrones” prequel doubtlessly waded into controversy with its most up-to-date episode, subtitled “We Mild the Manner,” which once more demonstrated, amongst different issues, that in Westeros not a lot good ever occurs at weddings. (The collection performs on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)
As a part of the plot, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) agreed to a wedding of comfort to Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) – a royal merger designed to fortify their respective traces’ maintain on energy, the place they will indulge their “appetites” elsewhere.
Understanding that Laenor is homosexual, Rhaenyra – having been reminded by her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) that marriage is merely a political association – reassured him that they might primarily reside separate lives, permitting him to proceed his relationship with Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod). Rhaenyra, in the meantime, had been dallying with a knight of her personal, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).
On the marriage ceremony feast, Joffrey let or not it’s recognized to Criston that he’s conscious of the knight’s relationship with Rhaenyra, which clearly unsettled and disturbed him. When the occasion chaotically erupts in violence a short time later, Criston is on high of Joffrey, brutally pounding him to dying through the melee. He then flirts with taking his personal life, earlier than Rhaenyra’s budding political rival, Alicent (Emily Carey), intervenes.
Martin’s imaginative and prescient is of a medieval world the place life is commonly low-cost. That features all the pieces from orgies to incest, and from the horrors of childbirth to securing regal succession even when meaning marrying off under-age women.
Nonetheless, introducing the connection between Laenor and Joffrey solely to dispatch the latter so rapidly and horribly virtually instantly prompted questions on Twitter on Sunday night time about whether or not the “Bury Your Gays” trope applies right here. Notably, previous discussions of the observe have typically surrounded science fiction and fantasy collection, together with “The 100” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and extra lately, BBC America’s darkish spy thriller “Killing Eve.”
It’s additionally price noting that in “Sport of Thrones’” heyday some requested if the present had a “homosexual downside,” as Vulture put it in a 2016 piece citing the variety of LGBTQ characters who, up till that time, had met a violent finish.
The arc of Laenor’s character doesn’t conclude with the newest episode. How that story unfolds might doubtlessly offset or soften this newest flip of occasions within the eyes of those that would criticize it.
For now, although, primarily based on the high-profile nature of the franchise that magnifies virtually all the pieces concerning the collection, “Home of the Dragon” might face some near-term warmth.
HBO declined a request to handle the episode.