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How was Blood and Cheese in House of the Dragon different from the books?

Was it even worse in the books?

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The season premiere of House of the Dragon finally brought us the highly anticipated and dreaded Blood and Cheese arc from George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Blood. Fans have had mixed reactions to it.

This incident is described in detail in the book and happens very differently. Readers eagerly awaited this moment, some even comparing it to the Red Wedding. However, now that it has aired, many are surprised at how much the scene has been toned down. Let’s explore the differences between the show’s and original book versions.

Read More: Who are Blood and Cheese? House of the Dragon sets up a disturbing storyline

How were Blood and Cheese hired?

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In Fire and Blood, after the death of Prince Lucerys Velaryon, Prince Daemon Targaryen declared vengeance, writing that there would be “An eye for an eye, a son for a son”. Blood and Cheese are sent into the Red Keep by Mysaria and Daemon. It’s unclear whether Mysaria was a willing participant or forced into it. There is also a suspicion that the real target was Aegon II.

In the show, Daemon only acted after Rhaenyra called for Aemond Targaryen’s head. Mysaria only assisted him because she was held prisoner by Daemon and had no other choice. Their target was Aemond Targaryen, whom Daemon also wanted dead because he could not face Vhagar alone.

In the book Blood is a butcher who was once a serjeant in the City Watch and lost his gold cloak for beating a whore to death. Blood is still part of the City Watch in the show but harbours a deep hatred for the Hightowers. Cheese’s background as a ratcatcher is consistent in both versions, but in the show, he is depicted as being deeply in debt due to his gambling addiction.

The TV series introduces Cheese early, showing him passing by Alicent and Cole outside the small council chambers without being noticed. This emphasizes how invisible the smallfolk, like ratcatchers, can be, even when right under the noses of the powerful.

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Read More: Biggest moments from House of The Dragon Season 2 Premiere

How did Blood and Cheese enter the Red Keep?

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The show includes a dog in the scene, which is not in the book. This minor detail adds a practical element to the story. The dog likely helped navigate the labyrinthine tunnels of Maegor’s Holdfast and sniff out rats, aiding Cheese in his rat-catching duties.

Blood had to kill the guards protecting Helaena, Alicent, and the children in the book. In the show, they pass through the castle almost completely undetected. They pass before a guard and even King Aegon, drinking and chatting on the Iron Throne. Later, they are detected by one of Queen Alicent’s attendants, appointed by Larys Strong.

When Blood is spotted, he claims to be setting rat traps, but he evidently doesn’t know how. The attendant’s failure to alert the guards raises suspicions that Larys Strong, a known double agent in the books, might also be involved in the assassination in the show.

In Fire and Blood, Blood and Cheese snuck into the chambers of Queen Alicent Hightower in the Tower of the Hand. As usual, Queen Helaena Targaryen brought her three children to visit their grandmother at dusk before bed. When Helaena entered with Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor, Blood barred the door and killed Helaena’s guardsman while Cheese grabbed Maelor.

Read More: New cast for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms announced

How did Blood and Cheese assassinate Jaehaerys?

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In the book, the two assassins tied up Alicent and gagged her so that she could not scream or call for help. House of the Dragon changed this to show Alicent in bed with Ser Criston Cole while the murder happened.

Cheese told Helaena they were “debt collectors” and demanded she choose which son would die. Helaena offered herself, but they insisted it had to be one of her sons. As Helaena agonized over the decision, Cheese threatened that Blood might harm Jaehaera if she didn’t decide quickly.

Weeping, Helaena eventually named her youngest, Maelor. Cheese told Maelor his mother wanted him dead, then grinned at Blood, who beheaded Prince Jaehaerys instead with a single blow. The two men fled with Jaehaerys’s head, leaving Helaena, Jaehaera, and Maelor unharmed but traumatized.

In House of the Dragon, Maelor is absent because he has yet to be born. In the show, the scene unfolds differently. Since Maelor hasn’t been born, only the twins Jaehaera and Jaehaerys are present. Blood and Cheese ask the queen to identify which child is the boy. When she points to Jaehaerys, Blood thinks she’s lying, but Cheese, being a gambler, recognizes she’s telling the truth.

Some fans feel the show toned down the scene’s brutality compared to the book. The book’s version of the event is brutal, perhaps too much for a TV adaptation. The show presents a less graphic but still intense version of the incident.

Read More: Phia Saban and Olivia Cooke talk about Blood and Cheese in new episode of the Game of Thrones podcast

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Ved Prabhudesai is an avid enthusiast of all things pop culture. He has a special interest in the field of animation and art, with a background in Fine Arts and Digital Media Arts. He has begun his first into the field of Entertainment Journalism with Wiki of Thrones, and has been writing for them since 2023. He also has experience working as a screenplay writer, animator and comic book artist. His hobbies include holding discussions and organising events focused around pop culture, dissecting the importance of media in today's world. He began reading A Song Of Ice And Fire shortly before Game of Thrones debuted on HBO. He has followed the series religiously and has spent hours reading Wikis learning about Targaryen history and possible plot points we will see in the Winds of Winter.

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