House Dragon Jaehaerys death

Omg, it turns out Jaehaerys’ death was way more graphic in the House of the Dragon books

The showrunner thought what happened in the book was ‘too over the top’


House of the Dragon season two has just been released and we’ve already had to witness one horrifying death, that of Helaena’s son Jaehaerys. Unless you already read the book the death of Jaehaerys would have come as a complete shock, but what else would we expect from House of the Dragon?

But as traumatic as his death and the whole scene is in the show, it turns out the version of events that happen in the books are somehow even worse?! In fact, showrunner Ryan Condol explained they actually decided to dial down the violence from the written version, so it must have been really extreme.

Via HBO

Just to give you a little refresher on what happened in the show so we can compare it to the books, let’s go over what happened in episode one. During the first episode of season two, Rhaenyra informs the council that she wants Aemond, and whilst she doesn’t mean him dead, Daemon obviously interprets her this way. As such he finds two assassins called Blood and Cheese to kill Aemond. After the two break into the castle they can’t find the King anywhere so decide to kill and decapitate Ameond’s heir, Jaehaerys, instead.

In the show part of the reason why Jaehaerys is murdered is because Alicent is having an affair with the head of the Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole which is something not featured in the book. Olivia Cooke who plays Alicent told Variety: “It adds a level of shame and guilt that is different to anything that Alicent has ever experienced before, by being indisposed with the head of the Kingsguard who should have been on duty to make sure that the castle was on lock. That’s a theme that plays throughout the season: If they hadn’t embarked on this affair, would this have happened? They hold themselves accountable completely.”

Via HBO

However in the books, things play out quite differently, and far more violently. Instead of Jaehaerys being decapitated in Helaena’s room, he is instead killed in Alicent’s room. The two assassins burst in before tying up and gagging Alicent along with her maid. Halaena, who has no idea all this is happening then enters Alicent’s room to say goodnight with her two children, at which point Blood and Cheese force her to decide which child they should kill. Halaena points at her youngest child, Maelor, to be killed but the assassins kill Jaehaerys anyway. Seriously heartbreaking.

Whilst in the book the decapitation is described, in the show it is only visual. As for why they made this change, along with the other differences from the book, showrunner Ryan explained: “We knew it would be horrifying and brutal – we didn’t want it to be gratuitous or over the top. Yes, it’s a little child, and it’s awful. But because we don’t know Jaehaerys as a point-of-view character, it made more sense to experience that terrible event through Helaena’s eyes.

You instinctually know what’s happening off screen, but I think it’s the emotional grip of experiencing that through Helaena’s eyes that really gets me still, and I’ve seen it 100 times.”

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