The following contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Episode 5 (and most of Game of Thrones).
In the first episode of House of the Dragon, we had an “heir for a day”—Baelon Targaryen, who died during birth. In Episode 5, we had a boyfriend for a day, a brand new character, Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), paramour to Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), who dies at the latter’s wedding to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock).
The death comes as little surprise; there have been several weddings in the Game of Thrones franchise, and few have been bloodless. (During the franchise’s first wedding, between Drago and Daenerys, it is remarked how a bloodless wedding is, in fact, an ill omen.)
In George R.R. Martin’s books, Lonmouth, nicknamed the “Knight of Kisses,” dies during a tournament when Ser Criston Cole attacks him with a morningstar. Little is known about the knight except for his relation to Laenor, who favors him among the other knights; their romance is only rumored in the books.
In the series, Cole (Fabien Frankel) kills Lonmouth after the knight reveals his knowledge of Cole and Rhaenyra’s romance. Either out of shame or anger or wanting to protect Rhaenyra—who at that moment in the wedding finds herself aggressively held by Daemon—Cole steps in and goes berserk, climbing on top of Lonmouth and beating him to a meaty pulp.
Lonmouth’s death was almost identical to that of another LGBTQ character from Game of Thrones: Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), who was killed by the Mountain after the big man mounted him, applied pressure to both eyeballs with his thumbs, and burst open the Prince’s scull. Martell had before been introduced as a sexually fluid character, taking both male and female lovers. Other male LGBTQ characters like Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) and Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) also met gruesome ends. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) was the only queer character in Game of Thrones world to survive.
“LGBTQ characters in the world of “Game of Thrones” — particularly queer men — have a long history of being ignominiously dispatched on the show. 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.”
The Times summation of these deaths: “That the world of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon routinely accepts incest but cannot let queer men survive, let alone thrive, is more than disappointing. It is problematic and harmful.”
Unlike Game of Thrones, however, House of the Dragon seems eager to at least give its LGBTQ characters some actual power; both Rhaenyra and Alicent, two of the show’s most prominent figures, are implied to be queer. Laenor, too, may soon become a powerful player, having just married Rhaenyra.
So while Lonmouth’s death may be the result of some latent and unnecessary homophobia (Cole’s aggression is directed at him and not Daemon, for instance), there’s still a few characters who can both survive and thrive despite their sexual identities.
One may even take the Iron Throne.
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