House of the Dragon Episode 5 Ended With a Terrible Omen For the Greens

Beware of spoilers. 

House of the Dragon Episode 5 proved that weddings never end well in Westeros. What began as a festive and grand celebration for Rhaenyra Targaryen (Millie Alcock) and Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) ended with the death of Laenor's lover, whose blood paints the floor of King’s Landing as Rhaenyra weds a grief-stricken Laenor. 

The episode ends with a closeup of the pool of blood as a rat crawls into the shot to sip on the blood. It’s a grotesque scene on its own, but the greater meaning will not be lost on the fans who have read George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood. The significance of the scene is only amplified--and made ten times worse. 

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Don’t scroll past this point if you don’t want spoilers. We’re talking about really heavy spoilers here. 

Photo by HBO.

Episode 5 was laden with symbolism, but it was the last shot that took the cake. The imagery of the rat feeding on the pool of blood conjured up two words (or names): Blood and Cheese. In Fire & Blood, GRRM recounts a horrific episode during the Dance of Dragons that puts all other traumatic GOT scenes to shame. Worse than the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, Sansa’s wedding to Ramsay, and even Ramsay’s torture of Reek. 

During the Targaryen Civil War, after Alicent’s son Aegon II took the crown from Rhaenyra, Alicent’s other son Aemond Targaryen kills Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys Velaryon in a dragon ambush. The Blacks and Greens were already at war, but Lucerys’ death triggered the worst side of the war: when even children and women were no longer protected. In retaliation, Rhaenyra’s new husband Daemon Targaryen (yes, they are endgame) proved just how red his red flags are. “An eye for an eye, a son for a son,” he said in the book. 

Although it’s never explicitly stated, it’s implied Daemon directed the butcher Blood and the ratcatcher Cheese to carry out his revenge. Blood and Cheese snuck into King’s Landing, hid in Queen Helaena Targaryen’s chambers, and held Helaena and her and Aegon’s three children hostage. Claiming they were “debt collectors,” Blood and Cheese asked Aegon’s wife which child she was willing to lose. She asked to sacrifice herself, but when Blood and Cheese wouldn’t budge, she named her youngest child, two-year-old Maelor. 

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But it doesn’t end there.

Blood and Cheese instead chose to behead the six-year-old Jaeherys, Aegon’s heir. They escaped the capital with Jaeherys’ head, leaving behind a weeping Helaena, Jaeherys’ twin Jaehera, and Maelor.

Talk about trauma. It’s possibly the worst and goriest scene in GRRM’s lore… and we can’t wait for it to play out on screen. This won’t be the first time a child dies in the GOT world. Let’s not forget when Shireen Baratheon was burned at the stake or when Lyanna Stark was crushed in the hands of a giant. The tale of Blood and Cheese happens in the first quarter of the Dance of Dragons, so it’s likely we’ll get to see this awful (and possibly amazing) episode on season two of House of the Dragon. 

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Anri Ichimura
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