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HotD's Ewan Mitchell Says Aemond Shares A Sad Connection To The Dragon Vhagar

If you've watched the 10 episodes of Season 1 of HBO's "House of the Dragon" you surely know that one of the most exceptional character arcs is that of Aemond Targaryen, played in his younger years by Leo Ashton and, after the six-year time jump, by Ewan Mitchell. This arc that Alicent Hightower's third child undergoes can be said to have been kickstarted by one impetuous action on one dark night: When Aemond dared to take an extremely bold risk and try to claim Vhagar, who used to belong to Aegon the Conqueror's sister Visenya and who is currently the oldest, largest, and most battle-hardened dragon present in Season 1. 

Thus, insecure Aemond lost the one reason — as well as one eye — that made him most insecure in the first place: Growing up without a dragon, unlike his siblings and nephews. Holding Vhagar's reigns instilled in the boy a sense of superiority that had not been there before. While it awakened an arrogant facet of his character, it also served to motivate him to strive to reach his fullest potential as a possible heir to the throne. As he told Ser Criston Cole: "'Tis I the younger brother who studies history and philosophy. It is I who trains with the sword, who rides the largest dragon in the world. It is I who should be ..."

It is unquestionable that becoming Vhagar's rider contributed to this shift in character. But, according to Mitchell, the connection between the two runs deeper than that.

To be loners together

In an interview with The Face, Ewan Mitchell was asked about his favorite plot point. In his answer, the 26-year-old actor had to mention his character's bond with Vhagar, going into its deeper meaning: "It's tradition in Targaryen culture to place a dragon egg in the cradle of a newborn, which establishes a bond between the rider and the mount. There's this dynamic that as the person grows, so does the hatchling."

But as the season showcases, Aemond, like Daemon Targaryen's daughter Rhaena, was not lucky enough to have his egg hatch. Hence the surfacing of an inferiority complex in relation to his family members who got their dragons from birth. This loneliness associated with his position within the tumultuous family allowed him to bond with Vhagar in a way that others might not have. Mitchell continued on by saying "[Vhagar is] named after the old Valyrian God of War and she's a hardened survivor of over 100 battles. She's enormous but also the loneliest. She's so big she can't fit within the confines of any castle wall, like Aemond. He doesn't fit it anywhere, and so he identifies with her."

Mitchell finished his answer by explaining the importance of acquiring Vhagar to Aemond's character: "A character like Aemond never really felt that unconditional love from his family, but he's found it in this dragon. What does that do? It changes him."

Despite the fact that, ethically speaking, this change is not necessarily for the better – just ask Lucerys Velaryon – it certainly captivated fans, contributing to his indisputable popularity.