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House Of The Dragon Showrunner Finally Addresses All That Episode 5 Backlash

The Westerosi-based shows "House of the Dragon" and "Game of Thrones" have never been one to shy away from controversial moments that leave viewers in an absolute state of shock. Besides explosive plot twists of intense violence, like the Red Wedding or the rather questionable decision regarding Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and his daughter, these shows often cross over into areas of real-life cultural taboos.

Examples of incestuous families in both "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon," as well as prolonged torture scenes, beheadings, extreme verbal abuse, and mutilations often make up much of the story, so it isn't surprising to see fans react viscerally. Episode 5 of "House of the Dragon" deals with arranged marriages, secret lovers, murder, and attempted suicide, but it looks like one particular moment has caused a fair amount of backlash due to the expression of a perceived trope. Considering the contents of Episode 5, it should come as no surprise that the death of Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), the paramour of Laenor (Theo Nate), has created quite a stir among viewers.

A showrunner for the show addresses the 'bury your gays' trope

After the premiere of Episode 5 of "House of the Dragon," several news outlets took issue with the brutal death of Joffrey. He makes overtures to Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) that he knows of the secret relationship between him and young Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock). This upsets Criston, who later murders Joffrey before he unsuccessfully attempts to take his own life.

As noted by TV Tropes, this particular plot device is often called the "bury your gays" trope, which often considers LGBTQ lives more expandable than their heterosexual counterparts. Newsweek wasted no time in addressing this issue, as did publications like The Advocate, among many others.

In an interview with Variety, showrunner Ryan Condal took the controversy head-on. "I mean, people are going to react how they're going to react," he explained. "First of all, that was the story in the book. It was handled, again, slightly differently: Joffrey is murdered by Criston Cole out of a jealous, wounded rage at a tournament. We just had him do it out in the open, and watch Cole's frustration over the slight that he feels like he's been levied with."

He continued, "It's a brutal world. It's a violent world. Cole has exposed himself, I think, as a certain kind of character. It wasn't done without thought. I know people are going to react as they react, but, you know, that's the story we're telling." It seems then that Condal kind of expected there to be this kind of reaction to the previously mentioned scene, but noted that a similar event happened in the book and that they were just trying to remain true to the source material. Still, this moment raised quite a few eyebrows regardless of intent.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.