House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3 features a major cameo

House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3 features a major cameo – and it might have you wondering just what is going on. 

Below, we've dived deep into what the cameo means. Naturally, that means there are major spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3. Turn back now if you're not up to date! 

If you're still reading, then you're ready to explore the meaning of Daemon Targaryen's strange visions in Harrenhal castle, and the familiar face he meets there…

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 3 Young Rhaenyra cameo explained 

House of the Dragon

(Image credit: Sky/HBO)

In the third episode of the season, Milly Alcock returns as Young Rhaenyra Targaryen. Last time we saw her was House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5, which chronicled her catastrophic wedding to Laenor Velaryon

She appears again courtesy of Daemon's odd visions in Harrenhal, and we see her carrying out the particularly macabre activity of stitching young Jaehaerys Targaryen's head back onto his body. This is a reference to the brutal Blood and Cheese, which was carried out on Daemon's command – though it's ambiguous if he actually intended for Jaehaerys to be murdered – as well as the child's funeral in House of the Dragon season 2, episode 2, when Alicent and Helaena, with Jaehaerys' body, were paraded publicly through King's Landing. 

As for why Daemon is seeing Rhaenyra as her younger self, this might be because that's when their bond as we know it was truly formed in House of the Dragon season 1

"Instead of warfare or dragons or images of horror, it was really more of him being haunted by these people who he had done wrong by in his past, particularly young Rhaenyra," showrunner Ryan Condal told Entertainment Weekly of the choice. "That's the girl who took his claim, not elder Rhaenyra, played by Emma D'Arcy. It's that version of Rhaenyra that removed him as the heir to the throne, and then was named heir and took his claim. As you'll see his story at Harrenhal unfold, there is an element of Daemon having to reckon with his past and choices that he's made and things that he's done."

Daemon is visibly affected by Rhaenyra's judgmental words, too, when she declares he is "always coming and going" and she has to "clean up afterwards" – another reference to Blood and Cheese, specifically the damage it has done to Rhaenrya's reputation and Daemon leaving for Harrenhal in the aftermath. 

So, Young Rhaenyra isn't truly back: she's a manifestation of Daemon's own guilt and regrets, brought to life by his mysterious visions. 

House of the Dragon season 2 continues weekly on Sky and NOW in the UK and HBO in the US. For even more on the show, check out our pieces on:

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.