Davos Blackwood (Kieran Burton) in 'House of the Dragon' 2.03

Why Are People So Mad About This New ‘House of the Dragon’ Character?

Ser Davos Blackwood (Kieran Burton) just made his debut in season 2 of HBO’s House of the Dragon, and it was pretty short-lived, to say the least. So, who is this character, and why are people so up in arms about his appearance in the show?

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HBO’s hit Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon is many things, but a beat-by-beat adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire & Blood, it is not. Although the series uses similar characters and plot points, many things differ between the pages of the book and what we actually see play out onscreen. So even though the build-up to the Dance of the Dragons plays out much the same, the TV show just changed how the first blood spilled in the latest episode, appropriately titled “The Burning Mill.”

Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon season 2!

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 4 kicked off with a bang, detailing the first (and rather gruesome) official battle of the Targaryen Civil War—well, kind of. Here, the petty, centuries-long squabble between House Bracken and House Blackwood acts as a cautionary tale of sorts, mirroring the feud between the Greens and the Blacks. Rhaenys’ (Eve Best) warning of “soon they will not remember what it was that began the war in the first place” seems to ring true, proving once again that I would follow this woman into the fiery pits of hell, if need be.

So, how did we get to this point? Well, Ser Davos Blackwood declares for Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), while his nemesis, Ser Aeron Bracken (Ryan Kopel), sides with the “usurper,” King Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney). This leads to the Battle of the Burning Mill, a.k.a. the first commonfolk blood spilled in the Dance of the Dragons, and results in heavy casualties for both sides—as well as the death of Davos. Ah, just boys being boys. But interestingly enough, this isn’t necessarily how things play out in Fire & Blood.

Ser Davos Blackwood is an original character in House of the Dragon

Initially, fans thought a different member of the Blackwood family, Benjicot, would play a role in House of the Dragon season 2. In Fire & Blood, an 11-year-old Benjicot goes on to become lord of his house after his father, Lord Samwell Blackwood, is killed during the Battle of the Burning Mill. Benjicot is invaluable asset to the Blacks during the war, winning campaign after campaign in the Riverlands, including the Battle by the Lakeshore. He’s always loyal to Rhaenyra, and is a true ride or die for Team Black … making it somewhat of a head-scratcher that he isn’t actually in House of the Dragon.

Actor Kieran Burton has a striking resemblance to Benjicot’s illustrated portrayal in The Rise of the Dragons companion book, which depicts him as a roguish, battle-hungry young man. This led many to think that “Ben the Bloody” was, in fact, the man we saw in promos for episode 4. But in the subtitles, he’s listed as someone else entirely: Davos Blackwood. And readers don’t seem too happy about the whole thing.

If Davos is supposed to be a stand-in for Benjicot, this raises many questions about what exactly House of the Dragon is hoping to achieve by skipping over this crucial plot point in the Targaryen Civil War. By erasing one of Rhaenyra’s fiercest allies, things are looking a whole lot more bleak for Team Black. Still, there’s always the off-chance that Benjicot could be introduced in season 3, maybe with a similar character arc to Bella Ramsey’s Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones.

For now, the odds seem pretty slim that Benjicot Blackwood will pop up sometime in House of the Dragon, but never say never, right? Either way, we’ve still got a long way to go before the season finale airs next month, and there’s bound to be plenty more dragons, betrayals, and bloodshed along the way.

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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.