Helaena Targaryen, played by Phia Saban, in the first look at her during the first teaser for the second season of House of the Dragon.

I’m Still Thinking About This Haunting Shot in the ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Teaser

Help me say absolutely heartbreaking!

Considering that it’s been more than a week since it was released, it’s safe to assume we’re all very aware that the first teaser for the second season of House of the Dragon is now out there on the internet for us all to dissect and analyze—something that I’ve personally been doing pretty much nonstop.

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Among the many shots that promise a thrilling season filled with dragon battles and the entirety of Westeros plunged into war, there was one that has been haunting me ever since I first saw it. It’s one of the current Queen Consort of the Seven Kingdoms, Helaena Targaryen, her face covered in a black veil as she looks skyward with a heart-wrenching look in her eyes.

And to those who have read House of the Dragon’s source of material Fire & Blood, this shot actually means so much when it comes to Helaena, her story, and the abilities the show has implied she has. Now, the discussion that follows is going to get spoiler-y, so be warned in case you’d like to go into season two with as little information about the Dance of the Dragons as possible.

At the end of House of the Dragon’s first season, we left Helaena Targaryen, second-born of Alicent Hightower and King Viserys, at the coronation of her brother-husband Aegon, with whom she has two children—the twins Jaehaerys and Jaehaera Targaryen. They have a third child in the book, little Prince Maelor, even though it’s still unclear whether the show is going to include him and how.

As we all know, the Dance of the Dragons was truly set in motion during the season one finale by Prince Aemond, Aegon and Helaena’s younger brother, siccing his century-old reptile war machine of a dragon Vhagar on Rhaenyra Targaryen’s secondborn Lucerys Velaryon—something that ended up in Lucerys and his dragon Arrax being chomped out of the sky.

Aemond Targaryen, played by Ewan Mitchell, chases Lucerys Velaryon with his dragon Vhagar in the final episode of the first season of House of the Dragon
Playing tag with the largest weapon of mass destruction of the time might not have been that great of an idea. (HBO)

Lucerys’s is the first “true” death of the Dance and one that the Blacks supporting Rhaenyra immediately seek to get revenge for. The one who takes charge of it is Rhaenyra’s husband and uncle, Prince Daemon, who uses his contacts within King’s Landing, from his time in the Kingsguard, to find two assassins and have them sneak inside the Red Keep to avenge Lucerys to the tune of “a son for a son.”

What follows is one of the most brutal moments in the entire A Song of Ice and Fire saga and undoubtedly of House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones both—the Red Wedding was bad, sure, but Blood and Cheese are going to be on a whole new level. 

Helaena Targaryen played by Phia Saban, is held at knifepoint but what is likely to be either Blood or Cheese
This other shot featuring Helaena from the teaser feels very much like it was taken from the whole Blood and Cheese sequence. (HBO)

According to Fire & Blood, the two assassins end up holding Helaena and Alicent at knifepoint and asking the former to pick which one of her two sons they should kill. In the end, Helaena names her youngest, believing him to be too little to understand what would happen and maybe trying to safeguard Jaehaerys, who was his father’s heir. She tearfully gives Maelor’s name, only for Blood and Cheese to murder Jaehaerys and run off with the boy’s head, leaving behind the devastated Helaena and Alicent.

Now, it’s very likely that the shot in the trailer is taken from Jaehaerys’s funeral—Helaena is wearing black, something that she hasn’t done at all throughout the show’s first season, and that black veil covering her face is a very popular costuming shorthand that screams “mourning clothes.” Still, while the context in which this frame is set may already be heartbreaking, there’s another element that makes it absolutely devastating.

Throughout season one, it was heavily implied, although never confirmed, that Helaena is one of the very few “dreamers” within the Targaryen family—people who have the ability to force the future through prophetic dreams. Helaena spoke in riddles that were actually very accurate prophecies in pretty much every scene she was in, including the one in which she predicted her brother Aemond would get a dragon but would have to “close an eye.”

A picture of Helaena Targaryen in House of the Dragon, played by Phia Saban
No one has actually confirmed it outright, but it’s very clear that Helaena is a dreamer like the famous Daenys the Dreamer, who’s the reason Targaryens managed to survive the Doom of Valyria. (HBO)

In the shot from the trailer, Helaena is clearly on the ground looking up. And if one remembers the way her story ends—taking her own life by jumping off of her bedroom window in the Red Keep, torn apart by the loss of her child and the progressive death of her family—this shot establishes a wonderful, terrible inverted parallelism.

There’s just something about Helaena at Jaehaerys’s funeral looking up from the ground but already knowing that she’ll end up looking down at the ground from high above, because she’s a dreamer and she knows how her story ends before it actually ends. Something that is already making me scream cry shake—one can only imagine what the situation will be like once summer of 2024 finally arrives and we actually get our hands on this new season.

(featured image: HBO Max)

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Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.