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One House Of The Dragon Star Refuses To Watch Game Of Thrones

Actors who appear in spin-offs or reboots of any kind sometimes elect not to watch the original version, which makes sense; it could serve as too much of an influence on their performance in the end. Steve Carell, who played the lead role of Michael Scott on the American version of "The Office," quite famously didn't watch the original British version starring Ricky Gervais because he was nervous that he would adopt too many of Gervais' mannerisms and not make the role his own. With that in mind, it's pretty easy to understand why Ewan Mitchell, who plays Prince Aemond Targaryen on the "Game of Thrones" spin-off and prequel "House of the Dragon," hasn't seen the show that was once the most popular series on television.

"I haven't seen the original 'Game of Thrones,'" Mitchell told ComicBook.com ahead of the acclaimed show's Season 2 premiere.  "I have a confession to make. I've never seen it and I didn't want to watch it going into this role. I didn't want it to inform my decisions in any way, shape, or form, you know, whether it be consciously or subconsciously. I wanted to bring something fresh. Aemond is one of a kind, you know."

This may well be a wise decision on Mitchell's choice — but let's back up for a moment. Who exactly is Aemond, and why is he, as Mitchell put it, "one of a kind?"

Who does Ewan Mitchell play in House of the Dragon — and why is Aemond Targaryen so important?

Aemond doesn't enter into the fray on "House of the Dragon" until halfway through Season 1 — and besides Ewan Mitchell, he's played by one other actor — but he still proves incredibly vital to the series across a handful of episodes. The sixth episode of the season, titled "The Princess and the Queen," features a huge time jump, leaping ahead ten years from the ending of the previous episode "We Light the Way," meaning that a handful of parts are recast and several younger characters are introduced. Aemond, the second-eldest son of Queen Alicent Hightower (played after the time jump by Olivia Cooke), is initially played as a young boy by Leo Ashton in that episode ... and in the following installment, "Driftmark," he quarrels with his nephew Lucerys Velaryon (then played by Harvey Sadler), resulting in Aemond losing an eye at Lucerys' hand.

By Episode 8, "The Lord of the Tides," another six years has passed, which is when Mitchell finally takes over the role. Donning an eyepatch and dismayed by his older brother Aegon's (Tom Glynn-Carney) depravities, Aemond is still deeply resentful of Lucerys, now played by Elliott Grihault. Despite the fact that he's not the eldest son of Alicent and King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) — and therefore not first in line for the throne — Aemond is a vital part of "House of the Dragon," and his importance only grows at the end of Season 1.

Where did we leave Aemond Targaryen in Season 1 of House of the Dragon?

At the end of Season 1 in the episode titled "The Black Queen," Aemond Targaryen is a major factor in the one event that truly kicks off the civil war between Targaryens known as the "Dance of the Dragons" (and the civil war that serves as the main plot in "The House of the Dragon" in the first place). As Alicent and Lucerys' mother Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) — who insists that Viserys meant for her and not Aegon to take the Iron Throne after his death — ready their Green and Black factions to wage war, both mothers are hesitant about attacking each other (particularly because Alicent and Rhaenyra were dear childhood friends). When both Aemond and Lucerys are sent to ask for aid from House Baratheon, the uncle and nephew meet ... and it turns out to be a fateful encounter.

After they leave Storm's End separately on dragonback — Lucerys on his dragon Arrax and Aemond atop the legendarily large beast named Vhagar — the two begin to fight in a thunderstorm, and it seems as if Lucerys and Arrax are at a disadvantage until Arrax unexpectedly burns Vhagar. The larger dragon is infuriated, and despite Aemond's orders, Vhagar attacks back, killing Arrax and Lucerys immediately. When Rhaenyra receives news of her son's death in the final moments of "The Black Queen," it's clear that she's out for blood ... and that Alicent and her family could well be the next to suffer a great loss. Mitchell's performance in this scene is absolutely heartbreaking, and there's no question that he'll bring the same intensity to Season 2 ... despite never having watched the original show.

Season 2 of "House of the Dragon" premieres tonight on HBO at 9 P.M. EST.