Shocking rumor suggests House of the Dragon is replacing beloved character

There's stretching the source material to adapt it for TV, and then there's bending it so far it breaks. The show could prove me wrong, but I think this breaks it.
House of the Dragon season 2
House of the Dragon season 2 /

The second season of House of the Dragon is right around the corner, and people are getting excited. The first season of the show was a fun adaptation of George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood and a worthy successor to Game of Thrones. The second season is looking good so far, but some rumors are making ripples. Read no further if you want to avoid SPOILERS.

First, some background: this season on House of the Dragon, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen will find herself with more dragons than she has people to ride them. Hoping to get any advantage she can over her younger half-brother Aegon, with whom she's fighting for the Iron Throne, she puts out a call: anyone who can ride and tame the several riderless dragons on Dragonstones (and use them to fight Rhaenyra's enemies) will be rewarded with lands and titles. Many answer the call. Most fail, but a few manage to tame dragons and become part of Rhaenyra's new air force. These are the dragonseeds.

In Fire & Blood, the dragonseeds include Hugh Hammer, Ulf White and Addam of Hull, who will be played in season 2 by Kieran Bew, Tom Bennett and Clinton Liberty. In the book, there's also a dragonseed named Nettles, a peasant girl who claims her dragon Sheepstealer simply by feeding it every day until it trusts her.

Nettles is my favorite of the dragonseeds in the book. In a world full of highborn dragonriders, she's an underdog who uses her wits to get a seat at the table with Targaryen queens and princes. And unlike a couple of the other dragonseeds, she doesn't have a heel turn later on. I was really looking forward to seeing her onscreen, which is why I was so disappointed to see that it looks like the show has cut her.

That's not guaranteed, but the evidence is piling up. We haven't learned of any actor playing Nettles, and it looks like Daemon Targaryen's daughter Baela (Bethany Antonia) will take on some of her role. That's Baela sitting with Rhaenyra and the other dragonseeds in the image below, not Nettles:

House of the Dragon season 2 Dragonseeds Rhaenyra Baela Hugh Hammer Ulf White Addam of Hull Jace Jacaerys Velaryon
House of the Dragon season 2 /

But I was still holding out hope that Nettles could appear in a future season. This new rumor sheds doubt on that:

Rhaena Targaryen may replace Nettles in House of the Dragon

Rhaena Targaryen, played by Phoebe Campbell, is Daemon Targaryen's other daughter. Unlike her sister Baela, who rides the dragon Moondancer, Rhaena does not have a dragon of her own.

As in Fire & Blood, Rhaena will eventually travel to the Vale in House of the Dragon season 2; the idea is that she'll stay there in relative safety while the war rages elsewhere. And that's where the rumor comes in. According to the X account Wake the Dragon, Rhaena "will claim a sheep-eating wild dragon during her stay in the Vale after tracking it for some time."

This sounds like Rhaena will be claiming Sheepstealer, who is Nettles' dragon in Fire & Blood. If that's true, there's no need to Nettles to be in the show, which I think would be a big loss. They would lose the element of class mobility she brings to the show, and get rid of one of the more exciting stories from the book.

This also means they would likely lose Rhaena's story. In Fire & Blood, Rhaena does eventually get a dragon: the hatchling Morning, who is born in the Vale. Morning is symbolically important, since she represents the dawning of a new chapter in Westerosi history, one that looks beyond the brutality of the Dance of the Dragons war. If Rhaena already has a dragon, Morning's birth becomes far less meaningful, assuming they keep it at all.

We don't know if this rumor is true or not, and we won't for sure until House of the Dragon starts airing new episodes on Sunday, June 16.

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