House Of The Dragon's Season 2 Premiere Death Made My Stomach Turn, But Viewers Seem Way More Upset About Another Dark Moment

 The assassin moves to kill in House of the Dragon.
Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the House of the Dragon Season 2 premiere, "A Son For A Son." Watch with a Max subscription, or read at your own risk!

We're on the other side of the House of the Dragon Season 2 premiere, and there's already been some stomach-turning violence that I had trouble dealing with. I took to the Internet, waiting to see the jaw-dropping reactions other fans had to the traumatizing death of Prince Maelor. Ryan Condal, the series' showrunner, acknowledged possible backlash while speaking with CinemaBlend, saying that he was ready for it. Despite that, I'm not sure he would've foreseen people being more up in arms about another upsetting scene that happened earlier in the episode.

The infamous "Blood and Cheese" scene has been something that book readers have been dreading for a while, so their stomachs might've been better fortified than mine. I figured I'd make my way to X and see tons of reactions to Blood and Cheese's murder and sound-effect-filled beheading of Prince Jaehaerys, which I've learned was actually less violent than the book's account of the event. While there are reactions to that scene, there are a good deal more viral posts that feature reactions to the dog being kicked as Blood and Cheese made their way to the bedroom:

I'm genuinely floored by this reaction, to the point that I'm still having trouble understanding it. A mother was forced to choose which child would die, and said child's last thoughts were that his mom picked him to lose his life -- and we're talking about a dog getting kicked? It's wild for me to think that's the main takeaway from this episode, but just looking at the top memes following the episode, I'm in the minority on this one:

It's even more baffling to me because that kick, while unnecessary and cruel, likely left the fictional dog no worse for wear afterward. For obvious reasons, the ending focused more on the big changes from the book rather than the state of the dog. But my headcanon tells me it was absolutely fine and probably aimlessly roamed the castle until someone found it.  That doesn't seem to matter to viewers, though, who are furious about House of the Dragon's kicking scene:

That said, I can recognize that part of the meme is to illustrate the ironic effect of caring more about a dog-kicking scene over child murder. Additionally, we know that this is a fictional series, and the child playing Prince Jaehaerys was not actually murdered. People also really love dogs, as CinemaBlend's social media team would display with its own meme:

I could also buy the idea that there might've been some people concerned that an actual dog was kicked for the House of the Dragon episode in order to really sell the moment. For those concerned though, there are animal cruelty laws in place and guidelines for proper treatment of animals on sets that would likely prevent that from actually happening. All this to say that the dog was likely as unharmed as the child during filming, so people can stop calling John Wick:

I now understand why the House of the Dragon cast needs to find ways to lighten up things between filming dark scenes. And, based on what critics said about Season 2, it seems like the violence is just getting started. As long as no more children are beheaded, I should have the stomach for what's to come but, if that's the jumping off point for the season, I can only imagine just how much more gruesome this season will be.

House of the Dragon Season 2 airs on HBO and Max on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET as part of the 2024 TV schedule. At this point, I'm both eagerly anticipating upcoming episodes while also slightly dreading what horrific acts myself and fellow viewers might witness next.