Blood and Cheese wasn't as traumatic as the books in House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon Season 2's premiere brought us one moment from the books that we were anticipating. It wasn't as traumatic as Fire & Blood's version of the events, though.
Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO
Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO /

One of the big moments from Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin that we were preparing for was the Blood and Cheese scene. Well, it’s happened in the House of the Dragon Season 2 premiere, and it wasn’t as traumatic as the way the book put it.

Caution: We’re jumping into major spoilers for the end of House of the Dragon Season 2’s premiere.

In Fire & Blood, we learn that two men called Blood and Cheese snuck into the Red Keep. They go after Jaehaerys and Maelor, making it clear that Helaena has to choose one of them. “A son for a son,” one of them says, making it clear that this is retaliation for Lucerys’s death at the hands of Aemond.

That takes place in House of the Dragon Season 2. We learn that it’s definitely Daemon who sends the two in to do this, but it’s not actually to go after Jaehaerys. It’s actually to go after Aemond. When they can’t find him, they decide to go after the heir to the throne instead.

House of the Dragon was tame compared to Fire & Blood

In Fire & Blood, Helaena has two sons by this point. She has six-year-old Jaehaerys and two-year-old Maelor. Blood and Cheese force her to choose between her sons, killing the one that she doesn’t choose. It’s heartbreaking for Helaena to have to go through this, and it leads to her own madness and eventual suicide.

House of the Dragon is extremely tame when it comes to the torture toward the queen. There are only two children in the room: the twins. Maelor isn’t part of the story just yet in the TV series, so it’s understandable why the series had to change this part.

Blood and Cheese note that the twins look a lot a like. They need Helaena to tell them which one the boy is. This leads to the death of one of the twins, which all happens off screen. In a way, I’m glad. The idea of a child dying is bad enough. I wouldn’t need to see that happen on the screen. The problem is so much more is taken from the moment. While I can certainly see Helaena retreating into herself a little after this, I can't see it having the same impact as it does in the books. As a mother, the loss of a child is heartbreaking but this really seemed tame compared to the book storyline (and some of the things that have come before in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon!)

Helaena gets away with Jaehaeyra, her daughter. She rushes straight to Alicent’s room to share what’s happened. It really is the start of the Dance of the Dragons now.

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House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and streams on Max.