Those who are familiar with the source material for HBO’s House of the Dragon knew that the beginning of Season 2 would include a crucial event from George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood. The moment has been described as one of the most horrific and devastating moments of any event in Game of Thrones lore, and as expected, that brutal moment took place at the end of the first episode of Season 2 and saw another Targaryen, a child, killed in one of the earliest catalysts in the Targaryen Civil War, also known as The Dance of the Dragons.

Rhaenyra is out for blood

Near the top of the first episode, Rhaenyra tells her council, “I want Aemond Targaryen,” blaming her half-brother for the death of her son, Lucerys Velaryon, at the end of Season 1.

While Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is grieving, Daemon (Matt Smith) takes this quite literally sends to hired to henchman to kill Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), and though he don’t hear him tell them this verbatim, it is highly insinuated (though left up to interpretation) that if Aemond is not killed, then kill another “son.”

‘Blood’ and ‘Cheese’ in ‘House of the Dragon’

The two men that he enlists to kill them are only to be known as “Blood” and “Cheese.” When they cannot kill Aemond, the two somehow get into the room with Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney)’s sister-wife Helaena (Phia Saban) and her twins, Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, kiling the former. This happens a little bit differently in the book, as Maelor Targaryen, the youngest of Aegon and Helaena’s children, is alive, but the timeline is slightly altered in this series, so he is not born yet. In that version, Helaena must choose between which of her sons to be killed. It is also much more gruesome in the book.

Tension between Rhaenyra and Daemon is to come

Smith teased how this will deepen an already existing fracture and distrust between Daemon and Rhaenyra and have major ramifications.

“I think it has a huge impact on the dynamic,” he said. “I think it fractures the relationship..almost irreparably. And the ripple effects after it, for the whole of Westeros, are pretty seismic…like a big earthquake, because it’s such a big mistake…if you want to call it that. Such a big hand to play. And I think he’s thinking that he’s doing it with true intentions, ultimately.”

How will Aegon react to his son’s death?

Tom Glynn-Carney also teased Aegon’s reaction to the death of one of his children, noting that this is a big moment in forming who Aegon is during The Dance of the Dragons.

“I think this is something that Aegon and anyone else who would experience anything as atrocious as this would never fully recover from, ever,” he said. “I am lucky enough to have never known any one, or experienced it myself, to lose a child in this way, or any way. But it something that sticks to you and it becomes a part of you, I think. It fuels his decisions and it fuels his rage and hatred for Rhaenyra, and Damon and everyone on that side. And he’ll stop at nothing to exact revenge.”

How the death will impact Helaena?

Of Helaena’s perspective, Saban explained, “I think it’s sort of a moment for Heleanea where she’s like ‘I want to make things easy for the people I love…but is the cost too much? I think the cost is too much this season. And it’s about that internal battle of ‘What’s my place in this family if I don’t accept the cost anymore?'”

Was this always the vision to adapt the storyline this way?

“It certainly evolves in the storytelling and writing,” said showrunner Ryan Condal, “But the idea was to make this an experience that lands particularly on Helaena. And Alicent (Olivia Cooke) is surely is involved in it, as she is in the book, but it happens in a slightly different way. We know a little bit about Helaena from Season 1, and we know that she’s the most innocent…probably, person on that side of the quotation and the least involved in the ‘Game of Thrones,’ so to speak. So to have this horrible counterpunch from Luke’s murder land particularly Helaena felt like a very interesting place in the story and to see how tat rippled and then led to the Greens counterpunch against that. Thats how these entrenched conflicts go. Aemond loses and eye and then murders Luke over Dragonstone. Then a baby is killed. The sides hate each other so much, you start to wonder where did it all begin and is there any backing away from the abyss.”

Watch our full House of the Dragon cast interviews above. The series airs every Sunday on HBO.