Who Is The Merling King Mentioned In House Of The Dragon Episode 7?

Since Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke have taken over the roles of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, respectively, "House of the Dragon" has not slowed down. After a significant time jump, the two former friends find themselves at odds with each other because of their differing opinions about the line of succession for the Iron Throne. Now well into adulthood, the HBO series has become more mature and ultimately devastating. Rhaenyra (D'Arcy) mourns the loss of her lover Ser Harwin (Ryan Corr), while Daemon (Matt Smith) must contend with the fracturing of his family.

"House of the Dragon" Episode 7 picks up relatively close to where the previous episode left off. After Laena's (Nanna Blondell) decision to die by dragonfire, all the royals band together at Driftmark to mourn her tragic death. This is the first time audiences have seen Velaryon funeral customs that include entombing the body in a casket and letting it fall into the sea. Also new to audiences may be the eulogy spoken by Laena's uncle Vaemond (Wil Johnson). In it, he acknowledges the Merling King, a figure who may only be familiar to those who cross the Narrow Sea.

The Velaryons attribute their success to the sea god

While the Targaryens get their power from fire and the dragons they ride, the Velaryons are the opposite. As legend has it, when the Velaryons were escaping the Doom of Old Valyria, they made a pact with the Merling King of Essos to obtain the Driftwood Throne. As many may be able to intuit, this figure is not a literal king. He is a deity of the sea that takes the shape of a merman. In his capacity as the Lord of the Tides, Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) has fashioned his legacy in honor of the sea. His castle Driftmark hovers above the ocean, and he does indeed sit upon the Driftwood Throne. And when Velaryons are laid to rest, their caskets are pushed into the sea where their power lies.

The Merling King appears in the Velaryons worship of the god as well as personified in King's Landing, too. After the battle of Blackwater Bay, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) finds himself stranded on the Spears of Merling. The dangerous rock formation is named for the sharp points that threaten to rip apart any ship that comes within distance. Though many in Westerosi culture worship the Gods of the Seven, the Merling King is part of the Velaryon way of life and an apt way to say goodbye to loved ones such as Laena.