Alicent and Helaena Targaryen dressed in black for mourning in House of the Dragon season 2

One Targaryen’s Tragic Story Stands Out From the Rest in ‘House of the Dragon’

Possibly one of the more fascinating yet tragic characters in the Dance of the Dragons, the defining war of the Targaryen dynasty, Helaena Targaryen just had the worst thing happen to her in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 1.

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But why is Helaena Targaryen so important to the war between the Greens and the Blacks? Well, not only is she the Queen consort of the reigning King Aegon II Targaryen, she also says the most interesting things, which could indicate she has that Targaryen foresight about what’s to come.

Now that we’re embarking upon HOTD season 2, and the Dance of the Dragons is well and truly underway, here’s everything you need to know about Helaena Targaryen.

Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon!

Who is Helaena Targaryen?

The Greens: Aegon, Aemond, Helaena, Alicent and Otto in House of the Dragon

Helaena is the second child of King Viserys I Targaryen by his second wife, Alicent Hightower. She’s also his second daughter overall, after Rhaenyra. As per Targaryen custom, Helaena was married to her elder brother, Aegon II, and had two children with him (in books, there were three): Prince Jaehaerys and Princess Jaehaera, twins. She has claimed the dragon Dreamfyre (figures!) but we never see her ride the dragon.

In the show, Helaena is portrayed as slightly odder than the others. In one of the scenes from her younger years, we can see that she likes bugs and collects all kinds of them. Her older brother (and future husband) Aegon isn’t particularly nice to her, and thinks of her as weird. Even when married, he mostly keeps away from her.

However, her younger brother, Aemond, is shown to be sweet to her. He even tells their brother Aegon that he should be nicer to Helaena and get to know her since she would be his wife. If he could, Aemond would’ve married Helaena.

Does Helaena have the power of prophecy?

Phia Saban as Helaena Targaryen in House of The Dragon

In Targaryen lore, it is known that their dreams often have deeper meanings and could even predict the future. It was Daenys the Dreamer who had visions of Valyria being destroyed by fire, which came to be known as the Doom of Valyria. Her dreams were what led the Targaryens and Velaryons to flee Old Valyria and come to Westeros.

Another one of Helaena’s ancestors, Aegon The Conqueror, also had a dream, known as Aegon’s Dream, of the end of the world of man by a dark cold night-like power that rose from the North. But as we know from the interpretations of these dreams, it is understood that the dreamers don’t always know what exactly it is that they are having visions of. 

In House of the Dragon, Helaena, too, seems to possess this gift of foresight, but she often seems to mumble in riddles that nobody understands or pays heed to. So far in the show, Helaena has made a couple of predictions, such as the prediction that Aemond will have to close an eye, Ser Otto’s elaborate scheme to replace Rhaenyra with Aegon on the Iron Throne, and the Greens and Blacks fighting a war with colored banners for each side.

In one important scene, she even tells her mother that they need to be wary of the “beast beneath the boards.” We later find out she means rats that bring rat catchers into the Red Keep, and make it possible for Blood and Cheese to enter the Keep undetected and kill her son Jaehaerys.

Queen Helaena and her Sophie’s Choice moment

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

In season 2 episode of House of the Dragon, Daemon sets out to seek revenge for Prince Aemond killing Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys, by employing a rat catcher and a city watch guard to kill one of the Greens’ kids. Blood and Cheese, as the two are remembered in lore, sneak into the Red Keep and kill King Aegon’s son and heir Prince Jaehaerys, while he sleeps in his bed.

But before they do that, Helaena is in the room, and they make her tell them which one of the sleeping twins is the son. She’s unable to save her son, and as they behead him, a terrified Helaena takes her daughter and runs out of the room, straight to her mother.

Book spoilers ahead!

In the books, however, Helaena has three children, not two: the twins and a younger son, Maelor. So, Blood and Cheese make her choose which son she is willing to sacrifice. Helaena tries to pick Maelor because Jaehaerys is the king’s heir, but Cheese kills Jaehaerys anyway.

Helaena’s story ends on a very tragic note. The death of her son drives her into depression, and she eventually dies by suicide.

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.