House of the Dragon introduces us to members of House Targaryen and the many characters involved in the Dance of the Dragons. An important figure among these is Helaena, a princess of the royal family. This article covers everything we know about Princess Helaena Targaryen.
SPOILER ALERT: The article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon. Consider yourself warned.
Helaena Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Helaena Targaryen is the second child of King Viserys I and Queen Alicent Hightower. Evie Allen plays her as a child and Phia Saban plays her as an adult. As a child, she has a love of collecting insects, arachnids and other critters. The rest of her family doesn’t seem to understand her or relate to her. She is betrothed to her elder brother Aegon in the tradition of the Targaryens.
In Episode 6, Prince Aegon says to his brother Aemond that he regrets that he has to marry her. He says that he has nothing in common with her and assumes that she is an idiot. Aemond says that he would marry her out of duty and obligation to their House.
As a child, Helaena often makes cryptic statements. Though these statements typically seem like nonsense, it is quite likely that they are prophecies. Evidence of this exists in Episode 6 when Alicent and Helaena are sitting together. As Alicent is trying hard to listen to Helaena talk about the millipede she is holding, Aemond comes in singed from his visit to the Dragonpit.
Helaena seems to know immediately what has happened. When Alicent assures Aemond that he would eventually ride a dragon, Helaena says, “He will have to close an eye.” Though this appears at the time to be an off-hand remark about the millipede in her hands, it foreshadows what is to come in the next episode. After Aemond claims the dragon Vhagar, his nephew Lucerys slashes his eye in a fight.
Aemond later claims that it is a fair exchange to lose an eye but gain a dragon. It appears that Helaena’s earlier statement is a prophecy of this moment. Earlier on, she also says of her millipede that it does not have eyes, but can still see, even if they do not understand it. This could be a reference to how she herself can see into the future, though her family does not understand her cryptic statements.
In Episode 7, Helaena made another cryptic statement at Driftmark that may be a prophecy of the future. While playing with a seashell and a spider, she says, “Spool of green, spool of black, dragons of flesh weaving dragons of thread.”
The first part likely refers to the factions of the greens and blacks that will form based on the dresses worn by Rhaenyra and Alicent. The second part is yet unclear, possibly referring to the dragon sigils on the war banners of the two factions as ‘dragons of thread.’
It is quite likely that Helaena possesses this ability as one of the fabled dragon dreamers of House Targaryen. Before her, multiple Targaryens had the ability to predict the future through visions in their dreams. The first of these was Daenys the Dreamer, who predicted the Doom of Valyria from which the Targaryens fled.
Later down the line, Aegon the Conqueror dreamt of the White Walkers and the Night King, in his dream that he called A Song of Ice and Fire. More recently, Helaena’s father King Viserys I dreamt that his son would sit the Iron Throne wearing the crown of Aegon the Conqueror. This prophecy too will likely come true. It appears that Helaena has inherited this ability.
The dragon prophecies do not predict the future directly, instead, they appear in the form of cryptic riddles. It is often difficult to decipher them and predict exactly how things will play out. Many dragon dreamers consider their fortune-telling abilities a curse. Helaena’s obsession with insects may be because of her dreams.
Another Targaryen with this gift, Daeron the Drunkard, took to drinking heavily, plagued by the visions he had in his dreams. It may be that Helaena obsesses over insects in an attempt to escape the visions that she has in her dreams as well. Perhaps she already knows how she will meet her end.
Helaena Targaryen in Fire and Blood
In George R.R. Martin’s book Fire and blood, there is no mention of Helaena being a dragon dreamer. She is, however, a dragon rider, claiming the blue and silver she-dragon Dreamfyre at a young age. Dreamfyre was previously ridden by her ancestor Rhaena Targaryen, who was also considered a bit of an oddity and a dreamer.
Helaena married her brother Aegon II, who rode the dragon Sunfyre the Golden. Sunfyre’s golden scales contrasted with Dreamfyre’s silver colouring. They had three children together—The twins Jahaera and Jahaerys, and a younger son named Maelor. Unfortunately, none of the children lived till adulthood.
Helaena was an unwilling participant in an unfortunate incident that launched The Dance of the Dragons. While on a diplomatic mission, Helaena’s brother Aemond murdered Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys. In retaliation, Prince Daemon hired two assassins named Blood and Cheese with the help of his former consort Mysaria.
Blood was a former sergeant of the City Watch, and Cheese once worked as a rat-catcher in the Red Keep. The two assassins entered the Red Keep undetected and ambushed Helaena and her three children. They told her that they were debt collectors and uttered the words, ‘an eye for an eye, a son for a son,’ echoing Prince Daemon’s oath of revenge.
They told her that they would kill one of her sons, and to choose one of them. Though Helaena pleaded with them to kill her instead, they said that a wife was not a son. Weeping, Helaena selected her younger son Maelor, perhaps because he was only 2 years old and had not lived enough. The two assassins then told Maelor that his mother wanted him dead and killed his older brother Jahaerys instead. They then fled with the prince’s head.
Blood was eventually captured and tortured to death, but Cheese was never found. In his fury, king Aegon ordered the execution of every rat-catcher in King’s Landing. After this incident, Helaena could no longer look at her son after condemning him to die. King Aegon had no choice but to give Maelor over to Queen Alicent to raise.
Aegon and Helaena slept separately after this. She became slowly more depressed and locked herself away, refusing to eat, bathe or meet anyone. She was no longer able to ride her Dreamfyre, who remained confined in the Dragonpit thereafter. Eventually, she descended deeper into madness.
Many years after the Dance of the Dragons had commenced, Helaena’s son Maelor died a tragic death. Though the exact nature of Maelor’s death was unknown, rumours say that Mysaria the White Worm told Helaena about her son dying gruesomely. There is no confirmation of whether this actually occurred.
However, it was apparent that Helaena could no longer bear the tragedies that befell the House. She threw herself from a window in Maegor’s Holdfast, impaling herself on the iron spikes in the dry moat below. The news of her death started a riot in King’s Landing, as the people of the city loved Queen Helaena. By this time, the people hated Rhaenyra and believed that her agents had murdered Helaena.
They had also not forgotten the brutal murder of the prince by Blood and Cheese. Not even the Gold Cloaks were able to control the angry mobs. As Helaena died, accounts tell of her dragon Dreamfyre rising with a roar in the Dragonpit, snapping two of the chains that bound her.