House of the Dragon season 2 makes some key changes to Blood and Cheese – here are all the differences

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

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

Well, it’s happened. The horrific Blood and Cheese storyline brings the opening episode of House of the Dragon season 2 to a horrifying close. After Rhaenyra tells Daemon that she wants Aemond killed for what he did to her son, the Rogue Prince takes matters into his own hands.

After learning the identity of two men with access to the Red Keep from the White Worm, he recruits them both for revenge. Blood, a palace guard, and Cheese, a rat catcher, are tasked with sneaking into the royal quarters of the palace to find and kill Aemond. However, after creeping through the corridors, they can’t find the one-eyed prince and instead stumble upon Queen Helaena and two of her children.

With a knife to her neck, they demand which of them is the boy, threatening to kill all three of them if she doesn’t say. She points at her son Jaehaerys, and Blood and Cheese decapitate him as Heleana runs through the palace with her daughter to Alicent’s rooms. "They killed the boy," she tells the Queen Dowager and Criston Cole before the screen cuts to black. Yikes.

It’s a horrible ending to a bloody first episode of the Game of Thrones prequel, and one that fans of George R. R. Martin’s books have been anticipating for some time. However, you might be wondering if it plays out exactly the same as it does in the source material. Well, below we’ve broken down the key changes between the two, but be warned, the subject matter is pretty gruesome so proceed with caution.

How is Blood and Cheese different from the book?

House of the Dragon season 2

(Image credit: HBO/Sky)

The Blood and Cheese storyline is one of the most disturbing moments in Martin’s Fire & Blood. It begins in the same way with Daemon seeking revenge for Aemond’s role in Lucerys’ death as he hires two men, Blood and Cheese, to help him on his mission.

However, unlike in the show, the plan all along is for them to murder one of Aegon and Helaena's sons. In episode 1, ‘A Son for a Son’, the screen cuts away after Daemon is asked by the hitmen what to do if they can’t find Aemond, making it unclear if he issues the order to murder the infant. In Martin’s book, he makes it clear.

As a result, Blood and Cheese use their knowledge that Helaena often brings her children to Alicent each night before bed to their advantage. They tie the Queen Dowager up and hide in her bedroom, waiting for the Queen and her children. When she arrives, they kill her guardsmen and barricade the door, before forcing Helaena to decide which of her sons will be killed – it’s worth noting that in the book she has all three children with her, Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor.

Helaena first offers herself, but they threaten rape and vow to kill all three children if she doesn’t decide. She chooses Maelor after deciding they’re probably too young to know what’s happening, but Blood and Cheese behead Jaehaerys instead.

House of the Dragon season 2 is airing weekly on HBO and Sky. Check out our House of the Dragon season 2 release schedule for all you need to know on that and why not read our House of the Dragon season 2 review while you're at it. For more, here are our guides:

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.