House of the Dragon season 2 premiere: Helaena star on key death

House of the Dragon season 2 Alicent
Photo: HBO

The House of the Dragon season 2 premiere delivered the long-awaited moment with Blood and Cheese; however, was it what many expected?

Over the course of the past 24 hours, the reaction to the shocking sequence online has been mixed, in part due to the radical change from the George R.R. Martin source material. After all, in the book you see King Aegon’s wife Helaena forced to choose someone to die between her sons Jaehaerys and Maelor. On the show, however, Maelor does not exist (at least at present). She instead has to point out which of her two children (Jaehaerys and Jaehaera) is the male heir. Once she does, the assassins kill the boy. It is traumatic, but not in the same way as the Queen telling Blood and Cheese to kill Maelor, only for them to kill Jaehaerys instead.

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So why make the changes? We’ve already heard somewhat from the producers about some practical elements of it, as well as changing how Daemon is perceived on the show. In an interview with TV Insider, the actress behind Helaena in Phia Saban had the following to say:

“It’s an interesting moment. In Fire & Blood, there’s this extra layer, which is that she doesn’t tell the truth, and then they kill the other one anyway, which is awful … But I almost think that the way we’ve done it, the simplicity that she just sees the moment for what it is, that it’s life or death, that it’s the highest stakes it could ever be — and when he says, ‘which one is it?,’ and she believes how dangerous they are, she’s just like, it’s that one. It’s that important that there isn’t an option of messing around with it. It’s the most important decision.”

Even with the book and the show offering up two different takes on the events, we may still be working our way towards the same ending; where we go along the way is just a little bit different.

Related Learn more entering the next House of the Dragon episode now

Are you shocked at all by what you saw in the House of the Dragon season 2 premiere?

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This article was written by Jessica BunBun.

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