That "House Of The Dragon" Scene From Last Night Was Even More Disturbing In The Books

Caution: Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon Season 2, Episode 1!

Rhaenyra from House of the Dragon wearing a crown and medieval attire, with text overlay: "it's hotd sunday?"

Also, there's gonna be some discussion of a VERY dark and disturbing scene, which includes sexual assault, so consider this a content warning.


The Season 2 premiere of House of the Dragon was last night, and fans are very divided on how a particular scene played out.

Yes, it was the "Blood and Cheese" scene, referencing the two mercenaries that Daemon hired to sneak into the castle and (attempt to) assassinate Aemond. See, as disturbing as the scene was in the show, it was even MORE disturbing in the books, and many fans think the book version was better.

  Ollie Upton/HBO
Ollie Upton/HBO

Here's how it played out in the show: Blood and Cheese snuck into the Red Keep, but were unable to find Aemond. Instead, they found themselves in the nursery where Helaena was watching over her and King Aegon's children. They were told to kill "a son," but they were unable to tell which one of the kids was the boy, so they made Helaena point him out to them. She hesitated at first, but then pointed at Jaehaerys, and Cheese determined that she was telling the truth by looking at her face. So Blood killed and decapitated Jaehaerys while Helaena grabbed his sister, Jaehaera, and ran.


Now, strap yourself in, because here's how it goes in the books: Blood and Cheese break into the nursery, kill Helaena's guard, and grab Jaehaerys and his younger brother, Maelor (Maelor was not present in the show). They then told Helaena that they had to kill a "son for a son," and she had to choose which son she wanted them to kill. Helaena refused at first and told them to kill her instead, but they insisted that it has to be a son.


Helaena continues to resist, so then Cheese warns that he's going to rape her daughter, Jaehaera (who, as a reminder, is somewhere around 6–10 years old) if she doesn't choose soon. So Helaena points at Maelor, the younger son. It's said that nobody knows why she chose Maelor — perhaps to protect Jaehaerys since he was the heir to the throne, or perhaps because he was younger and wouldn't understand what was happening. But Cheese, instead of killing Maelor, leaned in and whispered to the boy, "You hear that, little boy? Your momma wants you dead." Then, Blood kills Jaehaerys instead, leaving Helaena tortured. Not only did she have to watch her eldest son be decapitated in front of her, but she also has to live with knowing that her youngest son watched her choose him to die.

Lots of fans are considering the way the scene was adapted for TV to be inferior to the books:

Twitter: @visenyasdaughtr / Universal

Twitter: @DragonflyJonez / TNT

Twitter: @supermanslut / Zeus Network

But many agreed that Phia Saban was terrific, no matter how the scene was written:

Twitter: @propheticbug / HBO

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Ryan Condal explained that the main change — the absence of Maelor — is due to the compressed timeline of the show versus the books. "The book covered 30-plus years, and we crunched it down to 20," Condal said. "One of the side effects is you have: Rhaenyra and Daemon’s children are much younger than they were in the book, as are Helaena and Aegon’s children. They haven’t been together long enough to have two generations of kids. So Maelor does not yet exist, and we only have the twins."

Screenshot from "House of the Dragon"
Ollie Upton/HBO

So in essence, since Maelor wasn't in the equation, the writers put Helaena in the similar position of choosing between the twins. Personally, I didn't mind this adaptation, even though it's objectively wayyyyy less disturbing. But Game of Thrones has a history of using rape and violence against women as a plot I'm just saying, maybe it's good that we didn't have to see Cheese threaten to rape a 6-year-old girl, eh? However, having Helaena point at Jaehaera might have been more interesting in the long run since she would have to live with that every time she looked at her daughter.

What do you think? Did this scene play out okay in the show, or do you think the book version is better? Let us know in the comments!

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.