Viewers have been left feeling disgusted by a particularly ‘f***ed up’ storyline in this week’s episode of House of the Dragon, with many saying the introduction of Viserys’ prospective new love interest was simply too ‘gross’ to stomach.
Of course, the Game of Thrones franchise is known for its unorthodox relationships – from forbidden lovers and forced marriages to straight-up incest.
But even those used to such curveballs found they were left ‘gasping’ after finding out who Viserys (Paddy Considine) was eyeing up as his new bride, following the death of his wife Aemma (Sian Brooke) the end of the last episode.
Many people feared for the worst when Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) took the king to one side to put forward his daughter as wife and queen – not least because Lady Laena (Nova Foueillis-Mosé) was also related to Viserys.
But just how young Laena was didn’t become apparent until we saw her going for a stroll with her prospective lover, with a clear height difference visible even from afar as the camera tracked them from behind.
As we moved in closer to eavesdrop on their uneasy conversation, their contrast in height translated to an obvious age gap – a 12-year-old Laena looking up earnestly at the king as she recited lines that had been fed to her by her parents, including a promise to give him ‘many children’.
Recognising his discomfort, she also assured him that he ‘wouldn’t have to bed’ her until she turned 14.
The idea of their relationship wasn’t something that went down well with fans, with one tweeting: “She’s a baby. This is so f**king gross. How anyone can even consider this is awful. #HOTD #HouseoftheDragon.”
Someone else said: “The King Viserys and Lady Laena scene is so cringeeeee. I know it’s based 1000s of yrs ago, but the age gap is disgusting #HouseOfTheDragonHBO.”
Another said the potential marriage was ‘super f**ked up’, while a fourth added: “Omg Lady Laena is young young. I hate this idea #HOTD.”
— Cinema Nook (@CinemaNookPod) August 29, 2022
this is laena velaryon ?? when he said she was young I didn’t expect her to be a literal child!! pic.twitter.com/q1VO0bOAvO
— hafsa | hotd era 🐉 (@mintyreads) August 29, 2022
— kathleen (@kathleen_hanley) August 29, 2022
Laena Velaryon: I would give you many children of pure Valyrian blood, so that we might strengthen the royal line and the realm
— Maúro (@PotatoRedSauce) August 29, 2022
Viserys didn’t look wildly comfortable at the idea, either, but any shred of sympathy fans may have had for him went straight out of the door when he announced his decision not to wed a 12-year-old Laena… but a 15-year-old Alicent Hightower instead.
Naturally, the choice didn’t go down well with Corlys and Rhaenys, while Rhaenyra looked pretty mortified at the idea of her best mate becoming her stepmum.
Yup, looks like we’re in for a wild ride, once again.
UK viewers can catch House of the Dragon on Sky Atlantic and NOW, while the show will be available in the US on HBO and HBO Max