Why did Daemon kill his wife Rhea Royce in episode 5 of “House of the Dragon”?

Dragon House Episode 5 “We Light the Way” may have been about the dramatic marriage of Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) to Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), but the episode opened with the death of Lady Rhea Royce (Rachel Redford) . Although we’ve never met Runestone’s Rhea Royce before, we’ve heard of her since. Dragon House Episode 1. Lady Rhea is the “Bronze Bitch” married to Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).

Rhea Royce and Daemon Targaryen hate each other so much they never even consummated their political marriage. It’s a point that arises in their dark encounter in a dark way as Rhea, her back broken after falling from her frightened horse, taunts Daemon for not being able to finish. It’s that remark that compels him to pick up a stone and, uh, crush his skull.

But who is Rhea Royce, the Lady of Runestone? Why is it important? And did Daemon really want to murder his wife when he showed up at Runestone? And what’s wrong with Runestone? Here’s everything you need to know about Rhea Royce’s death on HBO Dragon House and how it fits into the larger game of thrones saga…


As you’ve probably gathered, Rhea Royce is the Lady of the Runestone, an ancient seat of Westeros. Prior to the Andal invasion, the Royces ruled the valley as “Bronze Kings”. They form a powerful political family linked to the First Men.

Lady Rhea Royce was known as an avid hunter and horsewoman. We see her in her element in Dragon House Episode 5 “We Light the Way” before she succumbs to her fate.

At George RR Martin Fire & Blood, we are told that Prince Daemon was married to Lady Rhea during the reign of King Jaehaerys and it was a disaster. Prince Daemon wrote: “In the Vale men fuck sheep. You can’t blame them. Their sheep are more beautiful than their wives. Dragon House alludes to this line in Rhea and Daemon’s own conversation. Daemon calls Rhea his “Bronze Bitch” because of the bronze rune armor she and all the Royces wear.

It should be noted that the Royces are great in runes. They are engraved in their bronze armor and inspired the name of their family’s crown. Since they are tied to the First Men, it is possible that there is a deeper power in these runes that has been lost over time. We also met a few Royces in Game of Thrones. Ser Waymar Royce (Rob Ostlere) is Ser Waymar Royce (Rob Ostlere) and later we meet his father Lord Yohn Royce (Rupert Vansittart). Yohn Royce rises to prominence after the death of Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) and leads the Knights of the Vale to Winterfell during the Battle of the Bastards.

Demon approaching Rhea Royce in House of the Dragon Episode 5


In Fire & Blood we are told that Lady Rhea Royce “fell from her horse while peddling and cracked her skull on a stone. She lingered for nine days before finally feeling well enough to leave her bed… only to get out of bed. collapse and die within an hour of getting up.

As Dragon House showrunner Ryan Condal points out in the official HBO “Inside the Episode”, it seems very suspicious that Rhea not only fell off her horse, but broke her skull. This, coupled with the fact that Daemon was not immediately welcome in the valley or on his wife’s property, seems to indicate that Daemon is the culprit. So, did Daemon have an evil master plan?

In the same “Inside the Episode” clip, director Clare Kilner credited Matt Smith’s performance with being purposefully nebulous. We don’t know if Daemon hatched a plan to kill his wife by… spooking his horse?? But we think when he saw the opportunity to finish the job, he had a split second of doubt. This is Rhea’s insult – “I knew you couldn’t finish!” — which pushes him to take advantage of the situation.

New York Post

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