TV & Movies

HOTD Fans Are Reeling Over A Shocking Death In The Season 2 Premiere

“I am in complete shock.”

Emma D'Arcy in 'House of Dragon Season 2.
Theo Whitman/HBO

Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 2 ahead. After a nearly two-year hiatus, House of the Dragon returned on June 16 with a shocking character death.

Titled “A Son for a Son,” the Season 2 premiere picked up immediately after the events of the Season 1 finale, during which Rhaenyra Targaryen’s son, Lucerys, and his dragon, Arrax, were killed by Aemond Targaryen and his dragon, Vhagar.

Based on the infamous “Blood and Cheese” plot from George R. R. Martin’s 2018 novel, Fire & Blood, the premiere began with a grief-stricken Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) returning to her council at Dragonstone, where she ordered the vengeful murder of Aemond.

Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) then put a plan in place to kill Aemond, hiring two assassins — a City Watch nicknamed Blood and a castle rat-catcher known as Cheese.

However, things didn’t go according to plan. Instead of murdering Aemond at the request of Rhaenyra, they unintentionally killed the heir to Aegon II, 6-year-old Prince Jaehaerys.

While fans familiar with the source material had anticipated the brutal killing of Jaehaerys, many fans were taken aback by the Season 2 premiere.

The House of the Dragon Season 2 cast. Theo Whitman/HBO

Fans Are In “Complete Shock”

“That House of the Dragon premiere ending... and I thought the Game of Thrones shock factor couldn't be topped,” one fan wrote on X (formerly Twitter). Another added, “Oh they ain’t playing around on the first episode,” while one fan commented, “Just watched the first episode of House of the Dragon Season 2 — I’m in complete shock.”

Fans also credited D’Arcy’s portrayal of a grieving mother as a highlight of the episode. “Emma D'arcy, we are only one episode in, but I’m going to start hand-carving your Emmy award now. Barely any words were spoken, and yet they conveyed what grief feels like so perfectly,” another fan wrote.

The Murder Was Different In The Book

Prince Jaehaery’s murder is even more horrifying in the novel. Although similar to the TV adaptation, the assassins (Blood and Cheese) force Helaena Targaryen to choose which of her three children will be killed.

After offering her own life to no avail, she reluctantly chooses Prince Maelor. However, the assassins ignore her decision and kill Jaehaery instead.

While it’s not uncommon for House of the Dragon to deviate slightly from the source material, many fans were unhappy with the change.

“The reason Blood and Cheese was so horrifying in the books is that they made Helaena choose which one of her sons should die,” one fan wrote on X. “She chose the youngest thinking he wouldn’t remember, but they ended up killing the eldest. This was just not good.”