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Decoding Helaena’s “Beware the beast beneath the boards” prophecy from House of the Dragon Episode 8

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Helaena Targaryen is a sweet summer child, undoubtedly loved by all readers and fans. When Aemond gave his “strong boys” speech in House of the Dragon episode 8, Helaena genuinely clapped and smiled. She took “strong” in the most literal sense, and her smile dropped as Jace fumed. She is said to have her head in the clouds and is least interested in politics. But, the show added a layer of complexity to her by hinting that she might be a greenseer or a dragon dreamer. In episode 8, she mumbles, “Beware the beast beneath the boards.” If this is another foreshadowing, here’s what it might mean, spoilers for the book Fire & Blood ahead.

 
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SPOILER ALERT: This article has major spoilers from the books. Proceed at your own risk.

Read More: Helaena Targaryen might be a Dragon Dreamer in House of the Dragon, here’s why

The Murder Which Starts the War

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While Jacaerys delivers his toast to his uncles, Aegon and Aemond, Helaena delivers that line. She might be warning Jacaerys of what’s to come. Dragons have been referred to as beasts multiple times. The dragonpit is located under the castle. It could be that Helaena is warning Jacaerys (and the Blacks) of Vhagar and Sunfyre.

In the book, the war begins in earnest after Prince Aemond kills Prince Lucerys. From what we have seen in episode 8, Aemond is still seeking revenge for what Lucerys did. After Aegon II usurped the crown from Rhaenyra, the war was primarily about petitions and allegiances. The Blacks were calling old banners to remember their allegiance to the Princess. The Greens were recruiting allies. After delivering a message to Lord Borros Baratheon on dragon-back, Lucerys and his dragon Arrax were killed by Aemond on Vhagar. It was storming terribly at the seat of House Baratheon, Storm’s End. Had the weather been better, Arrax could have outflown Vhagar. But it was no match for the dragons after Vhagar caught up to the younger.

While the war was being played only politically til that point, everything turned upside down after Lucerys’ murder. The Blacks could not stand idly by as a prince of their household, and a child of 14 was killed. This is where the bloodshed begins in the worst civil war of Westerosi history. Nearing the war’s end, Aegon II orders Rhaenyra’s death by dragon. He employed Sunfyre to burn Rhaenyra to death, and then he ate her, as her son Aegon III was forced to watch. Helaena’s dialogue may be one of caution against the use of dragons in the war in general. While the dragons are powerful in winning wars, they doomed the House Targaryen as dragons fought dragons. The number of Targaryens and dragons alive declined steeply after the war.

Blood and Cheese

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Blood was a butcher, and Cheese was a ratcatcher. Their real names are unknown, but Mysaria hired them under Daemon’s commands. Their mission was to exact revenge for the death of Lucerys. After Aemond murders Lucerys, Prince Daemon promises Rhaenyra that Luke will be avenged, quoting Alicent after Aemond lost his eye, “an eye for an eye, a son for a son.”

Cheese had detailed knowledge of all the secret passageways and paths leading in and out of Westeros, including the Red Keep. He led the way to Queen Alicent’s room. Helaena would visit her mother with her children every night, and Blood and Cheese knew this. They bound and gagged Alicent and assassinated one of Helaena’s children in front of her. Helaena could have been hinting at this in episode 8 since they enter through one of the secret passages like we see in episode 4. The beast might refer to Blood and Cheese, and beneath the boards could be about all the hidden paths running under and through the Red Keep.

Read More: Who Are Blood And Cheese? House Of The Dragon Sets Up A New Storyline

The White Worm

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The White Worm is the moniker of Mysaria. We see her as Daemon’s lover, and then again in episode 8, solidifying her position as the Master of Whisperers. She has knowledge of everything that is going on, especially in royal households. We see one of Alicent’s maids also deliver information to her. While a worm isn’t exactly a beast, they do operate underground. Mysaria is also the one who arranges for Blood and Cheese to carry out Daemon’s plan. “Beware the beast beneath the boards” might be a warning that even the walls have ears lurking beneath the shadows.

Read More: 16 details you might have missed in House of The Dragon Episode 8

Beware the rats

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Rats have been popping up unceremoniously all over the Red Keep. We see them near Balerion’s altar, at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding, and once more in King Viserys’ bedroom. One theory suggests that Larys Strong might be a greenseer who has been skin-changing into rats to spy on people. Unlike Mysaria or Lord Varys from Game of Thrones, we have never seen  Larys interact with a network of informants yet. This then begs the question: how does he have so much insider information? We have been seeing the rats in the episodes too many times for them to be a coincidence.

If this theory is true, Helaena might be warning her family to beware of the beast, Larys. He might look unassuming, but so far, he has already orchestrated the assassination of his father and brother just to get ahead. Larys is the Little Finger of House of the Dragon; he will do whatever it takes to succeed. He was suspected to be playing both the greens and the blacks in the Dance of the Dragons. If he does change into rats or looks through their eyes, it could also justify the “beneath the boards” part.

What are your thoughts on House of the Dragon episode 8? Do you think Helaena might truly be a greenseer or dragon dreamer? Let us know by joining in on our discord discussions!

Read Next: Is Larys Strong a greenseer in House of the Dragon?

 

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