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'House of the Dragon' Is Latest Example of Bury Your Gays Trope

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Editor's note: The following contains spoilers about the fifth episode of House of the Dragon, which premiered Sept. 18.(CNN) -- "House of the Dragon's" fifth episode is actually significant for logistical reasons, essentially marking the end of the chapter before the show time jumps ahead, featuring older versions of some characters and somewhat shuffling the deck.Yet the hour could generate as much buzz for a brutal death that occurred, inviting discussion of old concerns and wounds about the way that LGBTQ characters are treated -- and more to the point, killed off -- in TV dramas.The strides made in terms of greater inclusion have coincided with debate about how those characters are portrayed and the fates that they meet, giving rise to a much-discussed trope known as "Bury Your Gays." The phrase refers to a history in which gay characters have disproportionately died as a plot device, creating the impression they are more expendable in the eyes of storytellers.Given that, the "Game of Thrones" prequel potentially waded into controversy with its most recent episode, subtitled "We Light the Way," which again demonstrated, among other things, that in Westeros not much good ever happens at weddings. (The series plays on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros.

Discovery.)As part of the plot, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) agreed to a marriage of convenience to Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) -- a royal merger designed to fortify their respective lines' hold on power, where they can indulge their "appetites" elsewhere.Knowing that Laenor is gay, Rhaenyra -- having been reminded by her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) that marriage is merely a political arrangement -- reassured him that they would essentially live separate.

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