Spoiler alert: This article contains minor spoilers for HBO's House of the Dragon Episode 7.
At the end of House of the Dragon Episode 6, we’re thrown for a loop when Laena Velaryon takes her own life during childbirth. Although we meet Laena when she’s younger, when we finally get to meet this grown-up version of Laena, she becomes our new favorite character. She and Daemon Targaryen learn to love each other, or so it seems, and she raises her children with wisdom and integrity.
Despite all this, Episode 7 begins with Laena’s funeral. Her children and parents are clearly in mourning, and although Daemon is wearing all black, his mood is indiscernible. In fact, at one point during the funeral, Daemon even laughs, and everyone notices. So why does Daemon laugh at Laena’s funeral?
Laena’s funeral is tragic for the family, but Daemon laughs at one point.
As we now know in the world of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, pregnancy can be a death sentence. When Laena gives birth to her third child, the baby won’t come out, which is reminiscent of the first birth we see in Episode 1. However, unlike King Viserys, Daemon won’t tell the maesters what to do with Laena. He refuses to sacrifice her life for the baby’s, so Laena chooses to die a dragonrider’s death, and orders her dragon, Vhagar, to burn her alive.
Episode 7 opens with Laena’s funeral on Driftmark, in which everyone we’ve met so far is in attendance. This gives us a hint that something major will happen — between Viserys and Alicent’s children, Rhaenyra’s children, Laenor and his lover, and even Otto Hightower, we could tell that chaos would ensue.
But before the chaos, during the service, as a priest is delivering words about Laena in High Valyrian, Daemon lets out a chuckle and everyone stares at him. Why is he laughing at a funeral? There could be several reasons.
First, a more general reason: Psychologically, it’s common for people to laugh in sad or uncomfortable situations. Clinical psychologist Dr. Abigael San explained in a 2021 Express article about why people laugh at funerals: “A funeral is a situation that many people find very difficult emotionally with everything that it represents. An expression of laughter can be what we call a manic defense, almost like a coping strategy but in a defensive way. Anything to divert the reality of what is happening and the reality of loss and human vulnerability and the end of life.”
However, when it actually comes to Daemon and his motives, it’s likely that something sinister is afoot. He laughs when the priest discusses the ties between families, but Daemon of course knows that there’s bad blood between the families, so he could be laughing at the lack of truth. Or, he might be realizing that he can now finally be with Rhaenyra.
In essence, any medley of emotions could lead to a random outburst of laughter from Daemon, even at his wife’s funeral.
Tune into new episodes of House of the Dragon every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.