Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen in House of the dragon season 2 episode 1
(HBO)

‘House of the Dragon’s Red Wedding’ Is Still No Match for the Real Thing

Game of Thrones set the stage for some horrific moments. The Red Wedding and the Purple Wedding instantly come to mind. So, we expected the same for House of the Dragon as we explored the history of the Targaryen family, but its “Red Wedding” doesn’t hold a candle to the original.

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The Red Wedding, which hurt my very soul, differed from the book and featured the brutal death of Robb Stark’s (Richard Madden) unborn child as House Frey stabs Robb’s wife, Talisa Stark (Oona Chaplin), in the stomach. It is brutal, hard to watch, and the last moments I got to spend with my favorite character in all of Game of Thrones.

Now, we have “Blood and Cheese.” Kicking off season 2 of House of the Dragon, the event is a mess. Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) takes Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) desire to get revenge on her brother Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), who she blames for the death of her son at the end of season 1, and … carries out the wrong deed. Daemon goes to Blood and Cheese to hire them to kill a “son for a son.” It goes sideways because a) that is not what Rhaenyra wanted, and b) the two choose to murder Helaena (Phia Saban) and Aegon’s (Tom Glynn-Carney) son instead, a literal child.

It is disturbing, and you are watching as Helaena not only has to tell them which of her children to kill but also has to stand there and watch it happen. But in comparison to the Red Wedding, when you are seeing a pregnant woman slain in front of her husband before he is killed? It just isn’t as shocking.

The sound of Blood and Cheese committing the murder is absolutely horrific, and that sound alone makes Blood and Cheese one of the worst moments on the show, but comparing it to the Red Wedding?

They’re all hard to watch, but … come on

Each death in Westeros is rough. Even watching the Purple Wedding and finally watching Joffrey meet his end wasn’t exactly easy to take in. Blood and Cheese was equally as upsetting, but I also found it more a reflection of the men who were in Rhaenyra’s corner.

She made it clear that she wanted Aemond, and instead, we got this death. The Red Wedding is brutal to watch, but the history behind it makes it even worse. Robb Stark and Talisa were killed because they were in love with each other. Instead of one of Lord Frey’s daughters, he chose to find love, and it resulted in his bloody demise.

Blood and Cheese is not something I am itching to rewatch, but the Red Wedding still hurts me. When you think about it, it is wild how many horrifying bloody events have happened in the Game of Thrones world.

All this to say that Blood and Cheese is rough to watch but it is not the worst thing to happen in all of Westeros. Well, maybe technically it is since it is the first of these bloody moments chronologically, but comparatively, I think the Red Wedding still remains the hardest thing to watch.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.