House of the Dragon Actor Bids Farewell To Laena Velaryon
Warning: SPOILERS lie ahead for House of the Dragon episode 6.
After appearing in just one episode of the show, House of the Dragon actor Nanna Blondell has bid a warm farewell to her character Laena Velaryon. The Swedish actor depicted the daughter of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen in episode 6 of the show entitled “The Princess and the Queen”, which picked up following a ten-year time jump. Previously, younger iterations of the character were portrayed by child stars Nova Foueillis-Mose and Savannah Steyn.
A much-loved character from George R. R. Martin’s original story Fire & Blood, viewers of the show were quickly enamored by Laena as the fierce and beautiful rider of Vhagar, the largest dragon in the world. However, in true Game of Thrones fashion, the characters who hold the most affection among fans are often the most endangered, with Laena proving to be no exception on Sunday. Picking up after a decade-long time jump, the episode finds her heavily pregnant and enjoying a nomadic lifestyle with her restless husband Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and their twin daughters Baela and Rhaena. Though offered permanent residence during their stay in Pentos, it is revealed that Laena longs to return home whilst Daemon remains determined to avoid Westerosi politics. In a disturbing parallel to the House of the Dragon premiere, things come to a tragic end for Laena who, after battling through an arduous labour, commands Vhagar to burn her alive.
On the heels of her appearance in the show, House of the Dragon star Nanna Blondell took to Instagram has bid a fond farewell to Laena after just one episode. Thanking fans for their praise and well wishes, Blondell confessed that she was “overwhelmed” by support and hadn’t “fully grasped” how loved her character had been. Sharing a BTS picture of herself posing with a prosthetic baby bump, Blondell added, “It was an absolute pleasure to get a chance to walk in [Laena’s] shoes.” Check out the sweet message below:
While audiences expressed dismay at Blondell’s sudden exit from House of the Dragon, readers of the source material may have anticipated Laena’s demise as a vital cornerstone in the so-called Dance of the Dragons. Already directionless, the death of his second wife leaves Daemon with little choice but to return to Driftmark with her body, as was her wish. Though he may have outwardly expressed his reluctance, Daemon’s return also sets the stage for an emotional reunion with Rhaenyra, whose own lover, Harwin Strong, has recently perished. Drawing the entirety of House Targaryen together for her funeral, Laena’s death also acts as an important turning point for Vhagar. Left riderless, the elder dragon is ultimately fated to bond with Prince Aemond, the younger brother of Rhaenyra and Aegon.
Though viewers mourn the loss of Blondell’s portrayal of Laena, her departure is a vital moment which causes many other characters to move into their final fighting positions. Bringing Daemon back into the fold with his daughters, more chaos is certainly promised in the coming episodes as his almost love affair with Rhaenyra is rekindled. Coinciding with the promised return of his rival, Otto Hightower, a confrontation seems all but guaranteed in the next episode of House of the Dragon.
Source: Nanna Blondell/Instagram