Throwing a wedding in Westeros is a little like watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie made later than 2002: it’s probably not going to end well. This week’s episode of House of the Dragon memorably featured a tense pre-wedding reception for Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor Velaryon, which was full of anxiety and unpleasantness before ultimately ending in violence when Ser Criston randomly punched Ser Laenor’s boyfriend to death.

This is pretty much par for the marital course in the Game of Thrones universe; of course there was the infamous “Red Wedding” in which the Stark family was massacred, and the “Purple Wedding,” which sounds like the name of a Prince song, but was actually the celebration of King Joffrey’s marriage to Margaery Tyrell, which lasted only until the little creep was fatally poisoned.

In retrospect, all of these disastrous weddings might be … the most relatable part of the entire franchise? Like, none of us can claim to have had experience riding a dragon or navigating the bloody politics of royal succession, but a lot of us have been to uncomfortable weddings where something goes horribly wrong.

These stories are arguably just wildly exaggerated versions of moments that we’ve all experienced, which could be why they so clearly resonate with audiences. In House of the Dragon, Criston’s murderous behavior was, when you boil it down, just the bride’s douchey ex acting like a total baby and making a big scene – only here he beats someone to a bloody pulp instead of, say, loudly recounting past sexual exploits while drunkenly dancing to “Macarena.”

Even the Red Wedding, when it comes down to it, is just the story of two families who don’t get along, and can’t suppress their animosity for just one damn dinner. Who can’t relate to that? Really, it’s not that Westerosi weddings suck, it’s that weddings themselves often suck, and predictably deteriorate into madness/awkwardness in one form or another. 

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Thumbnail: HBO 

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