Editor’s Note: The following article contains major spoilers for the Fire & Blood book.
The first season of House of the Dragon has met huge success and Season 2 is already underway. With a 2024 release date, there is still a long time before we see more episodes, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t thinking about it. As the prequel to Game of Thrones, expectations are high, and with a legacy of sudden and bloody plot twists, House of the Dragon has a lot to live up to. But can House of the Dragon have its own Red Wedding moment? Luckily, the show is based on Fire & Blood, George RR Martin‘s in-universe historical record, so the fans know there will be plenty of blood in the upcoming episodes. Still, with contractions written into the novel by unreliable narrators, the creators must decide what direction to take the plot, and of course, as an adaption, things are bound to change. Though they played with the characters’ ages and changed a few things, the first season mostly stayed true to the book (or as close as they could with different versions of the story in the same book). But will it change going into Season 2? Fans are already looking forward to certain plot points that they worry will be edited or forgotten for the show. One, in particular, is referred to as Blood and Cheese.
Poised to take place early in season 2, the mysteriously-named event is ominous to new fans who find themselves out of the loop. The infamy of Blood and Cheese is well deserved. As one of The Dance of the Dragon’s most tragic events, it has quickly become one of the most anticipated as well. But there is always the fear that it will disappoint. In a recent interview, House of the Dragon writer Sara Hess gave an update on where they are in the writing process, saying the final episode is in the works. She also assured fans that they would see the gruesome events of Blood and Cheese in the second season. Hess went on to say that the brutal plotline will not disappoint, a statement that is as worrying as it is exciting. But her promise raises one major question: what should fans expect? For those who haven’t read the book and don’t want to be blindsided or have forgotten the details, it’s time to research Blood and Cheese before the unexpected tragedy can strike.
What Causes Blood and Cheese?
Blood and Cheese is a reaction to the Season 1 finale. When Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) second son, Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), kills Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) son, Lucerys (Elliot Grihault), war breaks out. In a slight departure from Fire & Blood, the show made this an accident, blaming the dragon, Vhagar, more so than Aemond himself. But even accidents have consequences. In Fire & Blood, Luke’s death brings about Blood and Cheese, as with the Dance of the Dragons. When Daemon (played by Matt Smith in the show) learns of Luke’s death, he plots revenge, “a son for a son.” Rather than focusing on Aemond, he seems to blame Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) as the Green’s king. Unable to get an army to the castle, Daemon chooses a more subtle method. Through his spymaster, Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), he employs two lowborn assassins, their names have been lost to time, but they are referred to as Blood and Cheese. Blood is a butcher and disgraced former sergeant of the City Watch. And he is known to be capable of great violence. And Cheese is a rat-catcher in King’s Landing. The two are given a nefarious task.
What Do Blood and Cheese Do?
Cheese’s knowledge of the castle.s tunnels allows them to get in undetected. Every evening, Helaena (Phia Saban) takes her three children, Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor, to visit their grandmother Alicent. Aware of this, Blood and Cheese hid in Alicent’s room, killing the maid and imprisoning the dowager queen until Helaena and her children arrived. They slew Helaena’s guard and blocked the exit before telling Helaena to choose which of her sons they should kill as retribution for Luke’s death. Helaena offered her own life, but they refused, insisting it must be a son and threatening that if she refused to choose, they would rape her daughter and then kill all three. With no other option, Helaena is forced to make a choice. She named her youngest son, Maelor, who, at two years old, didn’t fully understand what was happening. After telling Maelor that his mother chose him to die, Blood and Cheese killed Jaehaerys. Without causing further harm to the royal family, they left, taking Jaehaerys’ head along as proof.
What Repercussions Do Their Actions Have?
Maelor becomes heir to the throne, but he is forced to live with the knowledge that his mother chose him to die. And Jaehaera is traumatized after watching her twin brother’s murder. Helaena can’t bear to look at Maelor because of what she said and falls into a deep depression. After many more losses, Helaena commits suicide. Rumors spread that she was murdered, leading the smallfolk to riot against Rhaenyra, calling for justice for Helaena and her sons. This makes Blood and Cheese the first event for which the smallfolk want justice. But the more immediate result is to make the Greens more bitter towards the Blacks. The war became personal for Rhaenyra with Luke’s death, and the same goes for Aegon and his family after Jaehaerys’ murder.
The tragedy takes a toll on the family. While the franchise is no stranger to violent deaths, the murder of a child and the torture Blood and Cheese put Helaena through reaches a new level. House of the Dragon may decide to make a few small changes to the Blood and Cheese plot, especially considering the Jaehaerys and Jaehaera in the show are much younger than six, as they are in the books. Maelor himself has yet to appear, but there are three descendants of Aegon and Helaena in the opening sequence (not to mention they have a whole other sibling who hasn’t even been introduced yet). But even with a handful of tweaks, Blood and Cheese will be a horrifying and heartbreaking moment, as it should be. And with Hess’ assurance that it will not disappoint, it is certain to be the tragedy that people expect. It’s just one of many shocks fans have to look forward to in Season 2.