Warning: Contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8, “The Lord of the Tides,” and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood.Aemond Targaryen’s dinner scene in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8, “The Lords of the Tides” sets up his two biggest and best moments in the show’s future. With Aegon having claimed Vhagar as his dragon in the previous episode, while also losing an eye in a fight with Lucerys Velaryon, episode 8’s time jump introduces an older version of the character. Aemond has grown into a fierce warrior who can not only best Ser Criston Cole, but be utterly terrifying with just the flick of an eyeball.
That builds towards one of Aemond’s best scenes so far as, during the dinner scene that King Viserys hoped would unite the family, he toasts to the three “Strong boys,” a reference to Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey being Rhaenyra and Harwin Strong’s bastards. The pointed comments towards Luke, and the ensuing fight that ends with him pointedly staring down with Daemon (being walking off) sets up two pivotal moments in the Dance of the Dragons: Aemond and Vhagar fighting Luke and his dragon, Arrax, at Storm’s End, and later Aemond and Vhagar fighting Daemon and Caraxes.
Aemond & Vhagar’s Fight With Lucerys & Arraxes Explained (& When Will It Happen?)
King Viserys’ death in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8 opens up a power vacuum that will properly lead to its civil war, and Aemond will play a key role in escalating things much further. After his brother, Aegon, is crowned King (likely to happen in season 1, episode 9), Aemond flies to Storm’s End to win the support of Lord Borros Baratheon… where he will be reunited with Lucerys, who is there to gain support for Rhaenyra’s claim. The old resentment bubbles up again, with Aemond once more attempting to provoke his nephew into fighting – now actually wanting “an eye for an eye” – though Luke refuses, and Lord Borros won’t allow a fight under his roof.
Outside of Storm’s End, though, is a different matter. After Luke gives leave on dragonback, an enraged Aemond gives chase with Vhagar amidst a great storm. With Vhagar around 170 years older than Arrax, and the most battle hardened and experienced dragon in House of the Dragon, it’s a total mismatch. The fiery fight isn’t said to last long but is supposed to be brutal, with Luke and Arrax both killed, and conflicting reports over whether the boy’s body was ever found. It’s a vicious, devastating attack on Aemond’s part, showing there are no lengths he won’t go to and pushing the realm much deeper into war. Based on the current timeline, this could occur in the season 1 finale, or if not then very early in season 2.
Aemond & Vhagar’s Fight With Daemon & Caraxes Explained (& When It Could Happen)
Aemond walks away from Daemon in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8, actually having the sense to realize a fight at that point is one he couldn’t win – but the two will eventually go head-to-head (or dragon-to-dragon). Around a year into the Dance of the Dragons, Daemon and Aemond will meet in what’s known as the Battle Above The God’s Eye, above the eponymous lake and its nearby castle, Harrenhal. Daemon will issue a challenge to Aemond to come and fight him, which he’ll eventually meet after two weeks, resulting in what’s regarded as one of the most epic and harrowing dragon fights ever seen. Vhagar and Caraxes, the two most powerful dragons, crash into, tear at, and breathe fire down upon one another.
It’s the kind of incredibly sequence that should properly utilize House of the Dragon‘s budget (over $100 million per season), and beat any dragon battles Game of Thrones ever did, such is the spectacle it ought to deliver. It reportedly ends with Daemon leaping from Caraxes onto Vhagar, driving his Valyrian steel sword, Dark Sister, into Aemond’s empty eye socket (which was still there when his corpse was found), while the two dragons fall into the lake, with no survivors among them. Daemon’s body was never found, and there were rumors he survived: it’s unlikely to be true from Fire & Blood, but given House of the Dragon‘s twist with Laenor Velaryon being alive, isn’t totally out of the question for the show to pull off.
It’s clear from House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8 that Aemond and Daemon are mirrors, and recognize it: second sons, brothers of Kings, great warriors with more than a little taste for chaos and violence. All of that will come to a head in brutal, balletic, burning brilliance later in House of the Dragon, an event perhaps saved for season 3’s ending, assuming the show runs for four seasons.
House of the Dragon releases new episodes Sundays at 9pm on HBO.
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