House of the Dragon finale changes Aemond Targaryen in the best way

Prince Aemond Targaryen Ewan Mitchell f48aac9

“Maybe I can fix him?” Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 10

Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 10

Well, the moment has finally arrived in House of the Dragon that fans of the book Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin will have been well aware was on its way.

Prince Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault) is dead. The second son of Queen Rhaenyra I Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is brutally dispatched along with his dragon Arrax by the titanic beast that is Vhagar in the season 1 finale’s ending.

In both the book and the show, it is Prince Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) who gives chase to Lucerys from Storm’s End, shouting that he will claim an eye from his nephew after the seventh episode saw a younger Lucerys (Harvey Sadler) cut an eye from a younger Aemond (Leo Ashton) after he claimed Vhagar and fought with Rhaenyra’s sons and the daughters of Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).

In the source material, it is clear that Aemond sets out to kill his nephew in sadistic revenge, providing the first major casualty in the Dance of the Dragons.

However, in the show, it becomes clear that Aemond did not intend to kill Lucerys as he screams at Vhagar to not respond to Arrax’s blast of fire with violence.

Once Lucerys is dead, actor Ewan Mitchell portrays a look of horror and realisation on his face as Aemond knows the gravity of what has just occurred.

In fact, this one adaptational change entirely rings true.

Aemond has been portrayed thus far as a cold, calculating and ruthless individual, showing a distinct desire for power and sadism when it suits him.

Yet, it would be in conflict with his intelligence – remember he has studied histories, lore and warfare well – if he let his passion for revenge rule him and strike the first blow in a civil war.

In the book, upon Aemond’s return to King’s Landing, news of his actions horrifies his mother Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower and his grandfather Ser Otto Hightower – they are aware that now their side has delivered the first violence and Rhaenyra will want to answer it.

Aemond’s only defender is his brother King Aegon II Targaryen – but this hot-headed and greedy individual does not make the best advice-giver.

So, the show has not only made Aemond more consistent with how we know him to be, but it has also made him more textured too.

It could be argued that the show has made many characters too slow to act out in a nasty and vindictive manner – Rhaenyra and Alicent especially are acting in a very measured fashion compared to their book counterparts.

Aemond has shown his nasty and ambitious streak, but here we see that while he does have hatred for Rhaenyra’s sons, he does not hate them enough to actually wish death upon them.

The series would do well to remember that Alicent and Rhaenyra’s sons were raised in close proximity and so are still family and share many memories – even if they have been sullied.

Now that Aemond has struck out, it shall be interesting to see how the series portrays his reactions going forward – and if anyone believes that he really did not set out to bring death to his nephew.

Somehow we doubt it will make much difference to Rhaenyra either way, but we’re sure Aemond’s fans will be claiming “I can fix him”.