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Prince Aemond’s lethal fiasco explained


Prince Aemond royally screwed up in Sunday’s season finale of “House of the Dragon.” 

The eye patch-wearing prince (Ewan Mitchell) unleashed his long-simmering rage on Prince Lucerys “Luke” Velaryon (Elliot Grihault), years after young Luke took Aemond’s eye out during a childhood fight.

Aemond was apparently just trying to take Luke’s eye out in the true biblical sense in the scrap. But the Aemond-heavy fight moved onto dragons, with Aemond riding his beast Vhagar, five times the size of the fleeing, Luke-controlled dragon Arrax. 

And you know what they say about kids messing around on dragons – someone is going to lose an eye… or get killed, plunging the Seven Kingdoms into bloody war.

Sure enough, that death happened when Vhagar ignored Aemond’s frantic commands to stop and chomped up Arrax and Luke in mid-flight.  

“It’s huge,” finale director Greg Yaitanes tells USA TODAY. “These are two children essentially, who literally have nukes in their hands and don’t know how to use them. There was a lot there to unpack.”

Here are five things to know about Prince Aemond’s finale folly.

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Aemond, like, totally didn’t mean it

While George R.R. Martin’s book source material suggests Aemond intentionally killed Luke, the TV version makes it clear that Aemond didn’t mean for it to go that far. At all. Those close-up camera shots don’t lie.

“He didn’t set out to kill Luke, but he also was out there playing a very dangerous game,” says Yaitanes. “His last expression is just complete regret and shock. It’s almost incomprehensible for him to process.”

King Viserys was sure right about dragons

Say what you want about the late King Viserys’ leadership style. But you can’t fault his city model-making or his views on dragons. 

“The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion,” Viserys (Paddy Considine) tells his daughter Rhaenyra in the series premiere. “They’re a power man should never have trifled with.”

Sure enough, these two dragons took this spat to new levels, with each attacking against their riders’ orders. As Luke cried “Serve me,” Arrax threw flames at Vhagar first. Then Vhagar bucked Aemond’s commands to bite back in a big way.

“It’s all about the dragons,” says Yaitanes. “It was two kids in cars playing chicken, but this was on a much grander scale.”

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Aemond has big scars on the inside

The scar on his face and the lost eye is the physical manifestation of Aemond’s inner trauma after the childhood bullying he endured. Now he’s a bigger bully with revenge on his mind.

“That kind of trauma when you’re young stays with him as an adult,” says Yaitanes. “He has become strategic, sophisticated and good with the sword. But he still can’t get past the fact that he was bullied mercilessly and that he lost an eye.”

Aemond rules the internet memes

The offending prince was King of Twitter Sunday night after his big dragon blunder. Many memes imagined how Aemond is going to explain this situation to his mother Queen Alicent for starters. That’s the major Aemond question going into season 2. 

“Now what happens? I’m as curious as anyone how Aemond owns this and how this is going to affect him going forward,” says Yaitanes. 

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Queen Rhaenyra’s thunder look says it all when she hears the news

If there was any thought that Queen Rhaenyra might continue her quest for peace despite the tragedy involving her beloved son Luke, that was smashed with the last scene of the finale episode.

The diplomatic Rhaenyra’s face screams out for vengeance even if she says nothing. Look for the bloodgates opening in Season 2.

“She has war in her eyes,” says Yaitanes. “In fact that’s exactly what was in the script: ‘She looks up with war in her eyes.’ “

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