With one blood act, Aemond “One-eye” Targaryen has just made sure that everyone in “House of the Dragon” is now hurtling towards death.
Spoilers ahead for Season 1 episode 10 of “House of the Dragon.”
In the Season 1 finale of the “Game of Thrones” prequel show, Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) fulfilled the promise of the villain energy he’s been giving off. He killed Rhaenyra’s son, Luke (Elliot Grihault), which is a game changer. Basically, a lot of death and destruction will now happen, all thanks to Aemond.
Aemond killed Rhaenyra’s son after a dragon chase through the rain, before which Aemond laughed and tried to cut out Luke’s eye. The pursuit culminated in Aemond losing control of his dragon, which brutally chomped Luke and his dragon. So, Aemond didn’t mean to make the situation fatal, but it’s still entirely his fault.
Before that happened, there was already a huge conflict between Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) camp and her former friend-turned-stepmom Alicent Hightower’s (Olivia Cooke) camp. It’s not a sustainable situation for both Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon (Tom Glynn Carney) to claim that each of them is the true monarch. Plus, Rhaenyra is her father’s rightful heir and Alicent’s side stole Rhaenyra’s throne when they installed Aegon as King.
So, war between the two factions of this messy family was inevitable.
But, there was always a chance the two sides could have reached some kind of peace agreement. After all, Rhaenyra was trying to reach a non-bloody accord in this episode even while Daemon was out for blood and rile up for war. Alicent also was trying to de-escalate last episode, even while her family rushed headlong into a coup.
It’s too bad she didn’t pass on that attitude to her second son. Aemond holds a nasty grudge, and he’s never gotten over Rhaenray’s son Luke cutting out his eye when they were younger (even though Aemond provoked Luke during that scuffle).
Aemond and Luke ran into each other this episode at Storm’s End (the seat of House Baratheon) while each of them tried to woo Lord Borros Baratheons as allies to their side. There, Aemond revealed the sinister-looking blue gemstone he wears in his empty eye socket. He then entreated Luke to cut out his own eye. When Luke refused to engage in this conflict and ran away, Aemond pursued Luke via dragon in the rain. Aemond’s last-minute attempts to wrangle his dragon (and his expression after Luke’s death) showed that it was an accident. But Aemond wasn’t exactly innocent, in pursuing the boy on a much larger dragon while holding a knife and cackling like a psycho. And whether or not he admits that it was unintentional, nobody on Rhaenyra’s side will likely believe that.
By taking out a member of his own family (since Luke is his nephew), this establishes that Aemond is a “kinslayer.” Remember how Jaime Lannister was saddled by the label of being a “kingslayer” on “Game of Thrones,” which weighed heavily on him? Killing your family is similarly dishonorable. Aemond is now forever known as a “kinslayer,” a highly taboo label in Westeros that nobody wants to have.
Rhaenyra has Daemon as her personal attack dog, and Alicent’s side of the war has Aemond. He might be younger and less battle-tested than Daemon, but he’s just proven that he’s not to be underestimated.
In killing Luke, Aemond has made it so that this is officially a fight to the death between both sides. There’s no possible accord that they can come to, and Rhaenyra’s face at the end showed that she’s no longer trying to aim for peace. So Luke’s end, while sad, is not just a character death. It’s got wide-spanning political ramifications.
There’s a reason why, 200 years in the future, Daenerys’ 3 dragons seem like a miracle, and Daenerys and Jon Snow are the last Targaryens. It’s largely these characters’ faults, in “House of the Dragon.” This conflict is going to spiral out of control so hard that the Targaryen family (and dragons themselves) will be nearly extinct a few generations later.
So, thanks a lot, Aemond.
As a vague spoiler from George R. R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” in the short term, Daemon will seek revenge for what Aemond did. And this act of retribution is so disturbing that Season 2 will likely kick off with an event that’s as harrowing to watch as the infamous Red Wedding on “GoT.”
As another vague spoiler, there will be fewer time jumps in Season 2, since this civil war lasts only 2-3 years (and it’s now the show’s focus). By the time it’s over, many of these characters will be dead. So, the clock is ticking down on all of their lives, and it’s largely Aemond’s fault for taking this fight too far.
Season 2 of “House of the Dragon” will premiere at an unannounced date in 2024.