House Of The Dragon Boss Explains Why Jaehaerys' Death Was Changed From The Book

18 June 2024, 09:08

House Of The Dragon: Why Season 2 Episode 1's Death Was Changed From The Book
House Of The Dragon: Why Season 2 Episode 1's Death Was Changed From The Book. Picture: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy Stock Photo, HBO
Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Blood and Cheese both appear in the House of the Dragon books but their storyline is a little different.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

House of the Dragon returned with a bang. Season 2, episode 1 has one of the most horrifying deaths in entire franchise yet and now the showrunner Ryan Condal has explained why they decided to make changes to the original death in the book.

A soon as the final episode of House of the Dragon season 1 aired in 2022, it was clear that season 2 would feature a lot of bloodshed. Not only does Aegon become king leading Rhaenyra to begin staking her claim to the throne but Alicent's son Aemond kills Rhaenyra's son Lucerys. How does Rhaenyra respond though and who will ultimately take the crown?

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 1 begins to answer those questions with a death that's very disturbing. Is it the same as what happens in the books though? Here's everything you need to know about the controversial scene.

WARNING: House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 1 Spoilers Below

House of the Dragon’s Fabien Frankel reacts to people hating Ser Criston

In House of the Dragon season 2, episode 1, Rhaenyra tells her council that she wants Aemond. Daemon interprets this as Rhaenyra wanting Aemond dead and he commissions two people, Blood and Cheese, to assassinate him. However, they can't find Aemond so they decide to decapitate Aegon and Helaena's son and heir to the throne Jaehaerys instead.

Some fans have praised the scene for how chilling it is. Reacting one fan wrote: "this scene literally brought me chills. the sound of them cutting jaehaerys’ head and helaena running away in a daze was just so eerie."

Another said: "I’d been dreading this scene for months and am relieved that it wasn’t as graphic and horrifying as it happened in the book. It still made me sick to my stomach from the sounds alone."

Others have argued that it doesn't live up to the book writing: "blood & cheese was so underwhelming."

What fans might not realise is that the scene is even more disturbing in the books. Instead of Jaehaerys being decapitated in Helaena's room, the death takes place in Alicent's room. Alicent is actually tied up and gagged by Blood and Cheese. When Helaena and the children come to say goodnight, Blood and Cheese make her decide which child gets killed.

Helaena asks them to kill her youngest son Maelor in the hopes that Jaehaerys will be spared but Blood and Cheese murder Jaehaerys regardless. Speaking to Variety, showrunner Ryan Condal explained that the scene was changed because the children are “younger in this part of the narrative than they were in the original book" and Maelor isn't born.

Describing the scene, Ryan added: "When he says to her, ‘You tell me the right one, or I’m gonna do terrible things to your children,’ she believes him. She’s like, I can’t mess this up, I need to be completely honest. And I think it’s actually more heartbreaking that she’s honest."

Jaehaerys dies in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1
Jaehaerys dies in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1. Picture: HBO

As for why they made the decapitation, audible instead of visual, Ryan said: "We knew it would be horrifying and brutal - we didn’t want it to be gratuitous or over the top. Yes, it’s a little child, and it’s awful. But because we don’t know Jaehaerys as a point-of-view character, it made more sense to experience that terrible event through Helaena’s eyes."

He ended by saying: "You instinctually know what’s happening off screen, but I think it’s the emotional grip of experiencing that through Helaena’s eyes that really gets me still, and I’ve seen it 100 times."

Read more House of the Dragon news here:

WATCH: House of the Dragon cast vs. 'The Most Impossible Game of Thrones Quiz'

House Of The Dragon Cast vs. 'The Most Impossible Game of Thrones Quiz'

Listen live to Capital, and catch up on any shows you missed, on Global Player.