‘House of the Dragon’: Inside Queen Helaena’s heartbreaking decision

The heir to the throne is dead. In the first episode of season two of Dragon House, by HBO Game of Thrones prequel series based on George R.R. Martinbook of Fire and Blood, Conflict between family and friends who became rivals with Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Queen Mother Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) takes a brutal turn when Alicent’s nephew is murdered by an assassin in the dead of night.

Into a brand new season of Still watching, host Hillary Busis, Richard Lawson, And Chris Murphy dive headfirst into HBO Game of Thrones prequel series, as they discuss and debate who should—and more importantly, who deserves—to sit on the Iron Throne.

Even though it’s been almost two years HotDThe first season finale, season two premiere “A Son for a Son” takes place shortly after the death of Rhaenyra’s son, Lucerys, at the hands of Alicent’s one-eyed middle child, Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell). Instead of swift revenge, Rhaenyra took her time to grieve the loss of her son at Dragonstone. But her uncle’s husband, Daemon Targaryen (Carpenter), goes rogue, hiring an assassin named Blood and a ratcatcher named Cheese to infiltrate King’s Landing.

Daemon hired Blood and Cheese to kill Aemond. But after getting beyond the palace walls, they came across Queen Helaena (Phia Saban) and her children: Princess Jaehaera and Prince Jaehaerys, male heir of King Aegon’s father (Tom Glynn-Carney) throne. In a devastating moment, Queen Helaena must choose which of her children to sacrifice to Blood and Cheese. She pointed to her toddler son, who met a terrible and untimely end as she escaped with Jaehaerya in her arms. The episode ends with Helaena breaking into Alicent’s bedchamber while her mother is having sex with the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). When she got there, she uttered a cold sentence: “They killed the boy.”

IN Fire and Blood, Busis notes on the podcast, somehow, Prince Jaehaerys’s ending was even worse than in Dragon’s House. “In the book version, Helaena has three children – an older son, a younger son and a daughter,” Busis said. “They forced her to choose which boy they would kill. She pointed to the younger one, and then they said to the younger one, ‘Oh, your mother wants you dead.’ Then they still killed the older one.”

Saban also stopped by Still watching to discuss the dramatic season premiere. “I haven’t read it yet Fire & Blood,” she admitted. “Do you know what? I bought it and I didn’t read it. I took it on vacation and then I exposed it to the sun and all the pages fell out of it.” Still, Saban knew about the impossible decision Helaena was about to make. “It’s funny, when you tell people you play Helaena, they just want to tell you, ‘Oh, you know, Et cetera,‘” she said. “So I’ve heard it so many times.”

“I wonder what’s more heartbreaking,” Saban continued. “That betrayal happens, or that she tells the truth and then, at her word, they do it. I guess it depends.”

You can imagine that this would be a difficult scene for an actor. Luckily, Saban says the actors playing Blood and Cheese are “so adorable,” which made the process a little easier: “I really tried not to think too much, like, okay Okay, how would I build this? How big is this going to be?” Saban would read poems before filming to help her get in the right head space. “I will stay in a zone to feel excited, but then also not isolate myself because that can be very heavy and stressful.”

“It’s a balancing act,” Saban added. “It was probably the most pressure I’ve ever put on myself.”

Who will be the next victim of this senseless bloodshed? Who will be responsible for the death of Prince Jaehaerys? And who will end the season on the Iron Throne? Send email to Still watching In [email protected] with all your thoughts and theories, and stay tuned Dragon’s House season two takes off.

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