Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Things Only Hardcore House Of The Dragon Fans Know About Aemond Targaryen

Even in an ensemble cast of silver-haired dragonriders, Aemond Targaryen stands out as one of the most exciting characters on "House of the Dragon." The one-eyed prince debuted during Season 1 of the "Game of Thrones" prequel series, set nearly 200 years before the main HBO show. Throughout Season 1, Aemond's family was shown to implode, a succession crisis threatening the stability of House Targaryen's rule.

When King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) breaks Westeros tradition by naming his eldest daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock/Emma D'Arcy) heir to the Iron Throne, it doesn't sit well with Viserys' wife Alicent (Emily Carey/Olivia Cooke) and her father — the Hand of the King — Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans); instead, a conspiracy is launched to crown Alicent's son, Aegon.

The younger brother of Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney), Aemond is drawn into the budding clash, eventually becoming one of the most prolific figures in the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons. Aemond is a fearsome presence for Aegon's faction, and establishes a dark reputation for himself in the annals of Westerosi history. Below, a breakdown of Aemond the Kinslayer. 

He was born in 110 AC

The second son of King Viserys I Targaryen and his second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, Aemond was born in 110 AC to a family on the brink of war. The house of the dragon will divide into two factions over the ensuing years: the Blacks (led by Viserys' eldest daughter and named heir, Princess Rhaenyra) and the Greens (spearheaded by the queen, who wishes to place Aegon II, Viserys' eldest son, on the Iron Throne).

Aemond is Alicent and Viserys' third child, following Aegon II and Helaena (Phia Saban), Aegon's sister-wife. (Daeron Targaryen, the youngest of Viserys and Alicent's brood, spends the duration of Season 1 off-screen in Oldtown with his dragon, Tessarion.) According to George R.R. Martin's 2018 novel "Fire & Blood," baby Aemond was half the size of his older brother but twice as fierce, a sentiment that encapsulates the one-eyed prince's persona. Unlike Aegon, the firstborn son, Aemond has to carve a legacy for himself instead of one being handed to him.

Of the four Targaryen-Hightower siblings, Aemond is the last to become a dragonrider. Aegon bonds with his dragon Sunfyre at birth; Daeron has Tessarion, while Helaena bonds with the adult dragon Dreamfyre, who Aemond unsuccessfully tries to claim in Episode 6, "The Princess And The Queen." Things turn around for Aemond, however, when he eventually claims the biggest, baddest dragon since Balerion the Black Dread — Vhagar — in Episode 7, "Driftmark."

His eye aims to avoid frightening the ladies

Gaining Vhagar comes at a cost. Aemond loses an eye during an altercation with Rhaenyra's sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, and Daemon's daughters, Baela and Rhaena, in Episode 7. Enraged by Aemond claiming her late mother's dragon, Rhaena attacks Aemond. The fight quickly gets out of hand when Aemond retaliates and gains the upper hand over Jacaerys. Lucerys, fearing for his brother, slashes Aemond's face with a knife, slicing the prince's eye.

Aemond's maiming occurs similarly in the books. The ten-year-old prince accompanies his family to Driftmark for Laena Velaryon's funeral, after Viserys promises that they will later visit Dragonstone so Aemond can claim a dragon — providing he is "bold enough." Aemond takes his father's words to heart, setting out at night to secretly claim Vhagar. Instead of Rhaena, Joffrey Velaryon — Rhaenyra's third son, whose birth viewers witness in Episode 6 — confronts the prince. Aemond shoves his nephew into a pile of dragon dung, leading to a fight with the other Velaryon boys. Lucerys still takes Aemond's eye in defense of Jacaerys, causing a lifelong rivalry between the princes.

After losing his eye, Aemond begins wearing a sapphire in its place. For the most part, however, he keeps it hidden beneath an eyepatch so as not to frighten the ladies at court. The loss of his eye fulfills Helaena's prophetic warning from Episode 6: to gain a dragon, Aemond had to "close an eye."

He is Vhagar's fourth rider

Aemond Targaryen is the fourth and final rider of Vhagar, the last surviving dragon from Aegon the Conqueror's original trio. Queen Visenya rode Vhagar during the conquest of Westeros. The she-dragon was smaller than Balerion the Black Dread (whose shadow engulfed entire villages), as well as Queen Rhaenys' mount Meraxes (who perished in Dorne along with her rider when a scorpion bolt pierced the dragon's eye).

Vhagar was still a force to be reckoned with, however; the colossal dragon could swallow horses whole, and continued to grow until it died in 130 AC, over a century after Aegon conquered Westeros. Following Visenya's death in 44 AC, Vhagar remained riderless until 73 AC, when the dragon was claimed by Prince Baelon the Brave, son of King Jaehaerys (King Viserys' predecessor, featured briefly at the Great Council in Episode 1) and Queen Alysanne. Baelon died of a "burst belly" in 101 AC, leaving Vhagar riderless once more.

Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) bonded with Vhagar next, becoming the third Valyrian rider to do so. Daughter of Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussant) and Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), Laena flies Vhagar in Episode 6 alongside her husband Daemon Targaryen and his dragon, Caraxes. Laena's tale ends in tragedy when she chooses a fiery death at Vhagar's jaws over dying in childbirth, the grisly fate that kills Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) in Episode 1, "The Heirs Of The Dragon." By the time Aemond claims Vhagar after Laena's funeral, the she-dragon is a behemoth war veteran, one that turns the tides for the Greens throughout the war.

His favorite person is his sister Helaena

Incest is no taboo for the Targaryens. The house of the dragon, like their Valyrian ancestors, married within the family to keep the blood of the dragon "pure" and maintain control of their fiery mounts. In "House Of The Dragon," Rhaenyra marries her uncle Daemon, while siblings Aegon II and Helaena are also married. Aegon and Helaena's marriage is an unhappy affair: Episode 7 sees young Aegon voice his disdain of Helaena to Aemond, who opposes Aegon's view of their sister.

Aemond remarks that he would happily perform his duties if he were betrothed to Helaena instead of Aegon. Aemond and Helaena share a few subtle, tender moments in the following episodes, hinting at potential romantic feelings between the two. Aemond never marries in "Fire And Blood," despite being betrothed to one of Lord Borros Baratheon's daughters while securing Storm's End's allegiance.

The one-eyed prince does, however, share a passionate relationship with Alys Rivers, a bastard servant of House Strong (and the alleged baseborn aunt of Aemond's nephews: Jacaerys, Lucerys and Joffrey). Like Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) from "Game of Thrones," Alys sees visions in fire, with many claiming her to be both a seer and a sorceress.

He's one of Westeros' most prolific fighters

By the time he approaches adulthood, Aemond's reputation as one of Westeros' most skilled swordsmen precedes him — thanks to the tutelage of Ser Criston Cole (Fabian Frankel). Aemond is forced to work at his craft twice as hard as his kingly brother. While Aegon rules from the Iron Throne, Aemond is often sent to battle atop Vhagar, the Greens' most devastating weapon. Losing an eye only fuels Aemond's determination, as well as a desire for revenge against Lucerys Velaryon and the rest of Rhaenyra's faction.

Episode 8, "The Lord of the Tides," introduces audiences to adult Aemond, played by "The Last Kingdom" actor Ewan Mitchell. Mitchell establishes Aemond as a fearsome fighter in his first scene, where he bests Ser Criston in swordplay before challenging spectating nephews, Jacaerys (Harry Collett) and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault).

Despite his prowess with a sword, Aemond doesn't do much fighting on the ground during the Dance of Dragons. Most of the time, the prince sticks to the skies; he assists Aegon and Sunfyre's defeat of Rhaenys and Meleys at Rook's Rest, and wreaks carnage against Rhaenyra's supporters in the riverlands before meeting Daemon and Caraxes in the sky for a final, fateful battle.

Killing Lucerys brands Aemond a kinslayer

Rickard Karstark warned viewers during Season 3 of "Game Of Thrones" that "no man is so accursed as the kinslayer." Rickard directed these scathing final words at Robb Stark (Richard Madden), when the King in the North executed his bannerman for the murder of captive Lannister children. Who knew, at the time, that some foreshadowing was taking place.

House Karstark shares a history with House Stark as distant relatives, the Karstarks being a cadet branch of their northern overlords. Killing Rickard branded Robb a kinslayer, a terrible taboo in the eyes of the Westerosi people.

Years later, Robb's death at the Red Wedding remains one of "Thrones'" most shocking and iconic moments: Walder Frey (David Bradley) turns on the Starks and slaughters the King in the North at Edwin Tully (Tobias Menzies) and Roslin Frey's (Alexandra Dowling) wedding, along with Robb's pregnant wife Talisa (Oona Chaplin), his mother Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and the remains of the northern army. It could be theorized that the curse of the kinslayer contributed to Robb's demise — something with which Aemond Targaryen might agree.

Although "Fire & Blood" suggests Aemond acted intentionally, Episode 10 of "House of the Dragon," "The Black Queen," reveals the one-eyed prince lost control of Vhagar during his pursuit of Lucerys. Lucerys' dragon Arrax blasts Vhagar with fire, ignoring Lucerys' commands and reacting out of fright. Vhagar takes it personally, hunting Arrax through the clouds and killing the dragon and its rider with ease. Accident or not, this haunts Aemond for the rest of his life — he becomes a kinslayer, and there are barbaric repercussions for the death of Lucerys.

Aemond is responsible for the murder of Aegon and Helaena's son

Killing Lucerys has terrible consequences for the Greens. Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) sends two assassins to murder one of Aegon and Helaena's sons to avenge Rhaenyra's loss. The assassins — Blood and Cheese — infiltrate the Red Keep, where they ambush Alicent and Helaena, along with Helaena's young children: the twins Jaeharys and Jaehaera, and Maelor. In a move perhaps more sickening than the Red Wedding, Blood and Cheese demand Helaena choose one of her sons to die. Helaena selects her youngest son, Maelor. Blood and Cheese kill Jaehaerys instead.

The brutal blow claims the life of Aegon's six-year-old heir and eliminates Helaena as a dragonrider for the rest of the war. The queen is too distraught to fly on Dreamfyre again, and her mental health declines until, sadly, Helaena commits suicide by jumping from the Red Keep after hearing that her son Maelor had been killed at Bitterbridge.

Aemond's actions come with a cost that innocent members of his family are forced to pay. The death of his sister propels the prince further down a dark path — one that culminates with a final, fiery clash above the God's Eye.

He sits on the Iron Throne for a year

In "The Green Council" (Season 1, Episode 9)  Aemond makes it clear to Criston Cole during their search for Aegon that he is a far superior candidate for kingship than his older brother — and if the opportunity to sit on the thrones rises, he won't hesitate to seize it. Aemond puts his royal aspirations aside to crown Aegon in the Dragonpit, fulfilling his duty to the Greens. But Aemond does eventually get to sit on the Iron Throne — for a while, at least.

Aegon and Sunfyre are injured during the battle at Rook's Rest against Rhaenys and Meleys; Aemond and Vhagar help defeat Rhaenys and her dragon, but not before Meleys badly wounds Aegon and Sunfyre. Aegon's ribs and hip are broken and half his body is burned, while Sunfyre's wing is half-torn from its body. Aegon and Sunfyre are forced to sit out the war while they heal. Aegon becomes dependent on milk of the poppy and dreamwine to ease his suffering, and Sunfyre remains at Rook's Rest, temporarily out of commission.

Aemond sits on the Iron Throne during this time as Prince Regent and Protector of the Realm. Wearing his brother's crown of iron and ruby — Aegon the Conqueror's crown, bequeathed through generations of Targaryen monarchs — Aemond is said to look more comfortable as king than Aegon, with many in King's Landing believing him to be a better fit for the role.

Aemond massacres Harwin Strong's family

Even after his death above Shipbreaker Bay, Lucerys Velaryon continues to haunt Aemond. It is understandable, for the most part. Although young Aemond (Leo Ashton) declares the loss a worthy trade for Vhagar in Episode 7, the emotional wounds never truly heal, resulting in a life-long resentment of the Strong boys and their family.

Aemond leaves King's Landing after a year to confront Daemon Targaryen at Harrenhal, seat of House Strong — only for Daemon and Rhaenyra to take King's Landing in the prince regent's absence. To say Aemond is enraged is an understatement. The one-eyed prince slaughters the entirety of House Strong, starting with Ser Symon Strong, an old man who, Aemond decrees, surrendered Harrenhal to Daemon too easily. Aemond challenges the elderly lord to a duel, easily defeats him and feeds his remains to Vhagar.

The carnage doesn't end there. Aemond orders the deaths of Symon's family, extinguishing all of the Strongs save for Lyonel Strong's bastard daughter, Alys Rivers. House Strong's downfall begins with Lucerys taking Aemond's eye at Driftmark. As the biological progenitors of Rhaenyra's bastard children with Harwin Strong, masquerading as Laenor Velaryon's (John MacMillian) sons, Aemond develops a vendetta against the Strongs that festers over time.

He has a bastard son with Alys Rivers

Considering his disparagement of Rhaenyra's sons, Aemond is, all things considered, a hypocrite. The one-eyed prince fathers a bastard son of his own with Alys Rivers, a bastard of House Strong herself. After learning that King's Landing has fallen to Rhaenyra, Aemond kills all of the Strongs at Harrenhal except for Alys, who is rumored to be a sorceress with similar powers to the Red Priests of R'hllor.

Alys subsequently becomes Aemond's paramour for the rest of the war. She is briefly captured by enemy forces when Lady Sabitha Frey, sworn to Rhaenyra, seizes Harrenhal. The pregnant sorceress escapes when Aemond returns, however, and remains by the prince's side until his dramatic duel with Daemon above the God's Eye.

Alys accompanies Aemond to Harrenhal for a final time on dragonback, with Aemond claiming she used her ability to see visions in the flames to locate Daemon. After Aemond's death, Alys rules her family's former seat as the Witch Queen of Harrenhal. Numerous outlaws pledge themselves to the cause of Alys, especially when she gives birth to Aemond's son and declares him the true heir to the Iron Throne.

He becomes a tyrant

Aemond brings Fire & Blood to the riverlands during the latter half of the Dance of Dragons. Armed with Vhagar, the largest dragon left to the Targaryens, the prince proves to be an unstoppable force that brings carnage and chaos to Rhaenyra's supporters in the riverlands. Like Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) in "Game of Thrones," Aemond doesn't care about the innocent lives lost — by the time he is grown, Aemond's reputation cements him as one of the most brutal figures in House Targaryen's history — which is really saying something.

That's all according to "Fire & Blood," at least. "House of the Dragon" proves throughout Season 1 that it isn't afraid to explore the source material from new perspectives, challenging the accounts documented in the Targaryen history book by fictional author Archmaester Gyldayn. Episode 10 reveals the truth about Lucerys' death, suggesting that book fans can expect more divergences from "Fire & Blood" in the future.

Daemon stabs him through the eye with Dark Sister

Aemond's reign of terror culminates above the God's Eye, where he confronts Daemon Targaryen on dragonback. Daemon scours the riverlands atop Caraxes along with the dragonseed Nettles and her dragon Sheepstealer, both of them searching for Aemond and Vhagar. Eventually, Nettles leaves Daemon, who heads to Harrenhal and waits 13 days for Aemond to confront him.

And confront him Aemond does. On the "twenty-second day of the fifth moon of 130 AC," Aemond arrives on Vhagar, along with the pregnant Alys Rivers. The ensuing fight is one of the most legendary battles in the "Game of Thrones" universe: Vhagar and Caraxes clash, and Caraxes somehow manages to gain the upper hand (or jaw) over the larger dragon, locking its teeth round Vhagar's neck. As Vhagar and Caraxes plummet to the ground, Daemon leaps from his saddle to stab Aemond through his remaining eye with the Valyrian steel sword called Dark Sister. Both princes, and their dragons, lay dead.

Aemond's body is discovered years later, with Dark Sister still embedded in his eye socket. The prince leaves behind a bastard child, as well as a dark legacy that will continue to haunt House Targaryen years after the Dance of Dragons.