This contains potentially distressing discussions of murder, including violence against children.
WARNING! This post contains major SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5 AND George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood!The disturbing final shot of House of the Dragon episode 5 cleverly teases the show’s most devastating future scene. House of the Dragon episode 5 brings the many escalating conflicts of House Targaryen to a head, with chaos erupting during the celebration of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon’s wedding. The episode largely sets up the divisions of the realm ahead of the Dance of the Dragons, the motivations of the major characters moving forward, and the vile acts they’ll commit in the fight for the Iron Throne.
In House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5’s ending, the wedding celebration is cut short as Criston Cole beats Ser Joffrey Lonmouth to death on the dance floor, both of whom were the paramours of Rhaenyra and Laenor. Shortly before the disaster began, Daemon and Rhaenyra once again teased their romantic feelings for one another, Queen Alicent arrived in the green dress symbolizing the war call of the Hightowers, and Laena Velaryon set up her marriage with Daemon. Once the hall is cleared, Rhaenyra and Laenor are tearfully married in a small ceremony where blood still stains the ground and rats clean up the mess.
House of the Dragon episode 5’s final shot lingers on Joffrey Lonmouth’s pool of blood on the floor as a rat comes up to drink it, which symbolizes two characters involved in the Dance of the Dragons’ most heinous crime. The rat represents the ratcatcher Cheese while the blood symbolizes the butcher Blood, both of whom are hired as assassins by Daemon Targaryen and Mysaria. Shortly after the Dance of the Dragons officially begins, Blood and Cheese sneak through the Red Keep’s secret tunnels into the chambers of Queen Alicent. After tying her up, the assassins wait for King Aegon II Targaryen’s sister-wife Helaena and their three children, six-year-old twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera and two-year-old Maelor, to arrive. Blood and Cheese force Helaena to choose which of her sons will die, and after first offering up herself as the victim, she reluctantly chooses Maelor, who is too young to understand what’s happening. However, Blood beheads Prince Jaehaerys instead, after which the murderers try bringing the Targaryen heir’s head to Daemon.
Why Daemon Has Alicent’s Grandson Killed In The Dance Of The Dragons
The Blood and Cheese moment is undoubtedly Daemon Targaryen’s worst crime in House of the Dragon, but it won’t be the only atrocity he commits. George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book indicates that Daemon arranged the death of King Aegon’s son as revenge against the green party. When Rhaenyra’s black party and Alicent/Aegon’s green party were recruiting noble houses to their sides, Alicent’s second son Aemond confronted Rhaenyra’s second son Lucerys at Storm’s End. While Aemond continued taunting Lucerys to fight him, Lucerys refused as he was simply sent as an envoy, not a knight. Nonetheless, Aemond Targaryen went after Lucerys Velaryon while both were on dragonback, with Rhaenyra’s son and his dragon Arrax both dying in the conflict. In order to avenge the death of his stepson, Daemon Targaryen had Alicent’s eldest grandson killed in a vile manner.
Blood and Cheese harks back to some of the most unforgivable acts in Game of Thrones’ wars, including when Rickard Karstark killed the innocent Martyn and Willem Lannister as revenge for Jaime killing Torrhen Karstark. Violence against children was always the most agonizing and unwatchable part of Game of Thrones, which is part of why the shocking Red Wedding was even more unbearable in the series than in the books. Alongside the death of Shireen Baratheon, the moment in which Talisa Stark and her unborn child are murdered at the Red Wedding is considered one of Game of Thrones’ most harrowing scenes. If any moment in House of the Dragon is to rival the revolting nature of the Red Wedding’s war crimes, it’s Blood and Cheese.
New episodes of House of the Dragon release Sundays on HBO/HBO Max.