How House of the Dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

how house of the dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

Corlys and Rhaenys are heartbroken over the tragedy they think has occurred (Picture: HBO)

Warning: spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon episode 7.

The battle between the greens and the blacks reaches a far more violent point in the latest instalment of House of the Dragon, as the feud between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) is laid out for all of Westeros to witness.

However, one of the biggest talking points of the new episode is undoubtedly the shock twist ending with Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan), which involves a drastic change from George RR Martin’s book Fire & Blood.

The twist delighted numerous fans, as they shared how happy they were to see Laenor escape the twisted drama at King’s Landing for an entirely new life.

Elsewhere, Aemond (Leo Ashton) lost an eye in a barbaric clash with his cousins… but gained exactly what he was hoping for, becoming the rider of the legendary dragon Vhagar.

Shock twist ending makes huge change from books – and leaves fans relieved

Having been at Rhaenyra’s side for a decade as her husband, accepting her affair with Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) and loving her sons as though they were his own, fans were undoubtedly devastated to see Laenor die.

how house of the dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

Rhaenyra helps Laenor escape to live a life free from the trappings of his name (Picture: HBO)

However, in a huge twist, it turned out his brutal murder was actually faked by his lover Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan), who had been paid off by Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) to carry out the act of misdirection.

While it was utterly heartbreaking to see Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) sob over what they believed to be their son’s burnt up body, it made our hearts swell to witness Laenor – with a newly shaved head – set sail for a new life with Qarl where they could live freely and allow Rhaenyra and Daemon to wed.

This marked a significant change from the Fire & Blood book, as it was written that Laenor died after a lovers quarrel with Qarl, possibly after Qarl became jealous of Laenor’s attention being elsewhere.

Fans were delighted over Laenor’s fate, particularly after the tragedy he suffered at his wedding when Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) killed his lover Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod) and the fact that his storyline avoided the highly-criticised trope of LGBT+ characters being killed off.

‘I felt so much joy in episode 7’s ending, I love that for you know who,’ one person tweeted.

‘Bro that ending to episode 7 of #HouseOfTheDragon was Chef’s kiss,’ another said.

Someone else pointed out how ‘rare’ it is for anyone to achieve happiness in the Game of Thrones universe, remarking that Laenor ‘might be the only one with a happy ending’.

‘Changing Laenor’s fate so they don’t break our little hearts, how sweet,’ another grateful fan wrote.

Aemond steps up and claims largest dragon in the world

Ever since the child Aemond was introduced last week, it was clear that his top aspiration was to become a dragonrider, despite the mockery he endured from his older brother and cousins.

how house of the dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

Aemond’s wish has come true (Picture: HBO)

Following the death of Lady Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell), he decided to take matters into his own hands, secretly sneaking to her dragon Vhagar – known as the largest living dragon in the world – and claiming her for his own.

In the dead of night, he manages to get on Vhagar’s back and take her for a ride, meaning that she now will be loyal to him.

However, that doesn’t sit well with Laena’s daughters, particularly Lady Baela Velaryon (Shani Smethurst), who angrily says that Vhagar was hers to claim as Laena’s eldest daughter… as their disagreement causes horrifying bloodshed.

Children’s fight turns savage and Alicent is out for blood

After being confronted by his cousins Baela, Lady Rhaena Targaryen (Eva Ossei-Gerning), Prince Jacaerys Velaryon (Leo Hart) and Prince Lucerys Velaryon (Harvey Sadler), the children all unleash their anger on each other.

how house of the dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

Baela and Rhaena are furious over Aemond’s audacious act (Picture: HBO)

Aemond fuels the vicious fighting when he accuses Jace and Luke of being illegitimate and the sons of Ser Harwin Strong, which – while true – is a daring statement to make while fighting four-to-one.

Aemond knocks Jace down and is on the verge of bashing his head with a rock, with Luke picks up his brother’s knife and slashes his cousin in the eye, ending the fight and ridding Aemond of an eyeball.

Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik did warn us that the scene where the children ‘beat each other senseless’ was going to get horrifying…

Alicent couldn’t be more upset or furious over the loss of her son’s eye, so much so that she commands Ser Criston to fetch one of Luke’s eyes in exchange.

how house of the dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

Rhaenyra and Alicent’s war of words finally turns bloody (Picture: HBO)

When Viserys angrily orders her to stop her mission, she takes hold of the King’s knife herself, making for Rhaenyra as the two warring women grip each other in the middle of the room as the rest of their relatives watch the horror unfold.

Alicent manages to slice Rhaenyra’s arm, resulting in some people in court speculating if she’s started to go mad.

However, her father Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), who’s been reinstated as the Hand of the King, couldn’t be happier to see this more vicious side to his daughter see the light of day.

Rhaenyra and Daemon finally make things official after Laenor’s ‘death’

Ever since Rhaenyra was a young girl, it was clear that she and Daemon had an unquestionable connection, despite the fact that he’s her uncle.

how house of the dragon episode 7's shock twist ending is completely different to the book

A new Targaryen power couple makes things official (Picture: HBO)

Following their reunion after the death of Daemon’s wife Laena, the pair make love on the beach, away from the prying eyes of others (although some viewers, like us, might have been worried that Aemond was going to spot them while he was traipsing around at night in search of Vhagar).

Rhaenyra and Daemon hatch a plan that appears to involve the assassination of Laenor – although as we now know, the plan was actually to allow him to escape with Qarl, unbeknown to anyone else.

The dragonriding duo finally exchange their vows in front of their children, becoming a Targaryen powerhouse couple in the lead-up to the bigger war against Alicent and the greens.

House of the Dragon returns on Monday from 2am on Sky Atlantic and NOW.

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