Blood and Cheese holding torches in the castle in House of the Dragon | Agents of Fandom

‘House of The Dragon’ Season 2 Makes Huge Changes to Blood and Cheese

The Max series tones down the bloody event from the book.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 “A Son for a Son.”

House of the Dragon returns with a devastating first episode, kicking off the true war of Fire & Blood. The shocking death of Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) at the hands of Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) sets the stage for a revenge plot by the Black Council, culminating in one of the most brutal and shocking scenes in the series and perhaps all of Game of Thrones.

While this scene is hard to watch, the events of the book are even more brutal. The changes or, rather, revelations of this event could lead to some interesting twists to come later in this season, keeping both book readers and fans of the show on the edge of their seats.

Blood & Cheese Are Way More Brutal in the ‘Fire & Blood’ Book

Blood holding Helaena Targaryen with a knife to the throat in House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1 | Agents of Fandom
Blood & Cheese are two people you do not want to meet in the Red Keep. Image Credit: HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

Blood (Sam C. Wilson) & Cheese (Mark Stobbart) is one of the most memorable and shocking events in the book Fire & Blood and one that really begins the war in earnest. In Fire & Blood, Archmaester Gyldane recounts that Daemon (Matt Smith) still had friends in Kings Landing, followers amongst the Gold Cloaks, and even the Green Council itself.

Using these connections and the White Worm (Sonoya Mizuno), Daemon hires Blood & Cheese to infiltrate the Red Keep to carry out this revenge plot, but it is unknown who their actual target was that night. Blood & Cheese make their way to the Tower of the Hand, take Alicent (Olivia Cooke) hostage, and wait until Helaena (Phia Saban) arrives.

In the book, Helaena has three children with King Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) twins Jaehaerys and Jaehera and their youngest, Maelor. It is said that Cheese grabbed hold of young Maelor and gave Helaena a choice between her two sons. After much crying and pleading, Helaena ultimately chooses the youngest Maelor.

Some think it was because he would be too young to understand what was happening, and Jaehaerys was King Aegon’s firstborn son and heir. No matter the reasoning behind the decision, Cheese and Blood instead kill Jaehaerys while Alicent, Helaena, and his siblings watch, adding to the savage nature of the attack and leaving Maelor with the knowledge that his mother chose him to die.

‘House of the Dragon’ Makes Helaena a Dreamer

Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen looking up at Aegon II and looking concerned in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom
Helaena can see what others overlook. Image Credit: HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

In the show, Blood and Cheese happen upon Helaena and the kids by accident. The show also excludes the youngest son, Maelor. Still, we see that between the two twins, Helaena does choose her son Jaehaerys to be killed by the assassins, and the other child never sees the carnage as she grabs her and runs to safety.

Something that is not discussed in the book is the idea of Helaena being a Dreamer, as we see in the show. In Season 1, we saw her make some weird predictions that many wrote off but later came to be true. In this episode, we get another clue to this when she tells King Aegon that she doesn’t fear the dragons but the rats — foreshadowing her son’s fate at the hands of the rat-catcher.

This concept of Targaryens being able to see the future or have visions is not new. Many Targaryens have shown such abilities, with the most famous being Daenys The Dreamer, who saw the Doom of Valyria 12 years before it took place. This vision was the reason Aenar Targaryen took his family and fled Valyria to Dragon Stone, making them the sole dragon riders to survive the doom.

The show seems very interested in this piece of Targaryen history and the concept of Dreamers. In Season 1, it is revealed that Aegon the Conqueror himself was a dreamer who foresaw the death of man at the hands of a dark winter that would consume the realm. Having Helaena also be a Dreamer could have something to do with her decisions in this episode and her later descent into “madness,” as the book describes.

‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Raises the Stakes From Season 1

Left to right: Harry Collet as Jacaerys Velaryon, Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Oscar Eskinazi as Joffrey Velaryon standing in front of an ocean backdrop in House of the Dragon Season 2 | Agents of Fandom
Many will fall in the battle for the realm. Image Credit: HBO/Warner Bros. Discovery.

House of the Dragon and the Game of Thrones franchise have never been known to pull their punches. Opening this season to such an emotional gut punch was a great way to set the tone for this period of the war and what is to come during these eight episodes.

While different from the book, it’s important to remember that the show shows us how these events actually took place rather than how history remembers them. The addition of Helaena being a Dreamer and seeing how that could of played a role in this tragic event makes it very interesting to see where they could take this concept later in the season and what other secret role Helaena could be playing in this war that is not known to the history books.

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