House of the Dragon viewers split over "watered down" book changes from season 2 premiere's bloodiest moment

House of the Dragon season 2
(Image credit: Sky/HBO)

Here it is, the moment we have all been waiting for. House of the Dragon season 2 has unveiled its most anticipated moments from the Fire & Blood book, but fans are divided over its on-screen depiction. 

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1.

House of the Dragon season 2 picks up not long after season 1 abruptly ends after Rhaenyra Targaryen’s second son Lucerys Velaryon is murdered by Aemond Targaryen and his dragon. But, as well as showing the characters both mourning and preparing for war, season 2 episode 1 also treats us, or rather subjects us, to one of the book’s most brutal and bloody moments brought to life. Blood and Cheese

To avenge Lucerys, Daemon Targaryen appoints two men, named Blood and Cheese, to murder Aemond, but they accidentally stumble upon his sister Queen Helaena and ask her which one is her son Jaehaerys; the pair then decapitate him off-screen, but we can still hear the squelching sounds from the murder. However, in George R.R.Martin’s Fire & Blood, Daemon purposefully sends Blood and Cheese to Helaena’s quarters, and after being asked to pick which child to kill, they threaten to assault her daughter. Whilst crying, she points to her youngest son Maelor, and Blood cuts his head off with one swing of a sword.

As shocking and upsetting as the scene was, it seems that viewers are a little underwhelmed by how the show has changed certain details from the book. "The way they played out the Blood & Cheese scene was tremendously disappointing and annoying," Tweeted one fan."They watered it down and I kind of hate that.” Another chimed in, "For such a gamechanger event, it was a little lame."

But is that really a bad thing? Does anyone really want to see a woman and child be threatened with assault, or to see an infant be murdered so viciously? Other viewers have kept an open mind and have welcomed the series’ different take. "Very different from the book but still brutal!" said one fan, whilst another realistically added, "There's no way they could've done that scene like in the book."

The episode ends with Queen Helaena running with her daughter to her mother Queen Alicent’s room, saying, "They killed the boy." What happens next? Well, for that one you’ll have to tune in next week to see the aftermath of the infamous Blood and Cheese moment, and if the show changes any more book details around one of Martin’s most brutal chapters ever.

House of the Dragon continues weekly on Sky and NOW in the UK and HBO in the US. For even more on the show, check out our pieces on: 

Editorial Associate, GamesRadar+

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for SFX and Total Film online. I have a Bachelors Degree in Media Production and Journalism and a Masters in Fashion Journalism from UAL. In the past I have written for local UK and US newspaper outlets such as the Portland Tribune and York Mix and worked in communications, before focusing on film and entertainment writing. I am a HUGE horror fan and in 2022 I created my very own single issue feminist horror magazine.