House of the Dragon episode 7’s twist ending is a major change from the books

House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon has, more or less, followed the source material of George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood. The latest episode, however, marks a major change for the fate of one character.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode 7 – turn back now if you haven't seen the latest episode.

The latest episode saw death and drama come to Driftmark. Aemond lost an eye, tensions bubbled over between the Hightowers and Targaryens, and Daemon and Rhaenyra finally consummated their incestuous relationship. 

By its end, Laenor Velaryon had faked his death and fled Driftmark with his lover Ser Qarl. But the burned body fakeout, orchestrated by Daemon so he could proceed with his marriage to niece Rhaenyra, wasn’t how events went down in Fire and Blood.

In Martin’s novel, Laenor was killed on Driftmark by Qarl, with reports suggesting the two quarreled over Laenor’s possible new lover, while other accounts hinted that Daemon may have been involved – to more nefarious ends than how it played out in House of the Dragon.

While the end result is the same (everyone believes Laenor to be dead), it also handily plays into Martin’s idea that legacies can be warped and twisted by different perspectives. No matter the truth, history will always read that Laenor died on Driftmark.

Viewers may not have seen that coming – or much of anything else, for that matter. House of the Dragon episode 7 has been beset by complaints from fans that much of the episode was literally too dark to see. HBO Max’s Twitter help account tweeted that it was "an intentional creative decision."

Keep on top of how many episodes are left with our House of the Dragon release schedule. Plus, get a sneak peek at Sunday's episode with the House of the Dragon episode 8 trailer.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.