House of the Dragon: Why Aemond Couldn't Prevent the Finale's Most Tragic Death

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the House of the Dragon Season 1 finale... The first season of House of the Dragon ended in tragedy, as Aemond and his devastating dragon, Vhagar, killed Lucerys Targaryen in the skies above Storm's End. Aemond has long had a vendetta against Lucerys and chased him down on dragonback in an attempt to intimidate him. It would make sense for Aemond to kill Lucerys, given his history to that point, but the show made it clear that Aemond didn't intend to kill his nephew. In fact, he tried to make Vhagar stop their pursuit, but the dragon acted on its own.

Aemond had been able to control Vhagar's behavior to that point, so why did the dragon act out during the battle? The simple answer is that, like the Targaryens that boast the dragon name, dragons cannot be completely tamed. No dragon can be fully controlled, especially when a largely inexperienced rider is dealing with such an old and powerful dragon.

Vhagar had no problem obeying the commands of her previous rider, Laena, when she gave the order to end her life. Vhagar was even reluctant to do so, not wanting to hurt her partner, but ultimately obeyed. Vhagar and Laena built a real connection over a number of years, and Laena knew how to handle the beast. Aemond simply sees Vhagar as a weapon to be wielded.

It's also worth noting that Vhagar is the biggest and oldest dragon in Westeros at the time of the series. Vhagar was one of the three dragons that helped Aegon the Conqueror take Westeros in the first place. She has had multiple riders over a number of years, and Aemond is the least experienced of them all.

Aemond Isn't a Psychopath (Yet)

The scene says a lot about Vhagar, but it is also very revealing in regards to Aemond. According to showrunner Ryan Condal, Aemond shows in that moment that he doesn't want to kill Lucerys.

"Aemond is definitely not blameless in what happened to Luke. But Aemond was also a kid who was bullied and was made a mockery for part of his life for not having a dragon," Condal told The Hollywood Reporter. "Now he does, and he rides the biggest dragon in the world. I think he was showing his rival that he will not be intimidated and trifled with is probably more in play there than trying to become a kinslayer – that would be very un-calculated and stupid of Aemond to do at the outset when the pieces are moving about the board and loyalties are being set and figuring out who is going to make marriage pact to guarantee whose army ... for Aemond to launch nukes right out of the gate and go for an all-out dragon war would be very foolish, but that's exactly what he ends up doing because things get out of hand and out of control. It's a complex scene. Aemond is not blameless, but he's also not a psychopath without a logical line of thinking."

What did you think of the House of the Dragon Season 1 finale? Let us know in the comments!