Absolutely Losing It Over How They Depicted Aemond Targaryen’s Sapphire Eye on ‘House of the Dragon’
Have you considered I love him?
*** Spoilers ahead for the House of the Dragon final episode. Be warned. ***
The season finale of the first season of House of the Dragon, “The Black Queen,” definitely ended things with a bang—clearing any doubts some characters and viewers might have still had about whether or not the whole succession issue could be solved with diplomacy rather than with open war. The dragons are really dancing now.
The episode’s ending sequence starts with newly-crowned Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen dispatching her sons as envoys to gather allies throughout the Realm. Her eldest, Prince Jacaerys, is meant to fly on his dragon Vermax first to the Eyrie of the Arryns—who, it should be noted, share blood with the Queen through her mother Aemma—and then to everyone’s beloved Starks of Winterfell.
The younger of the two boys, poor Prince Lucerys, goes instead to Storm’s End with his dragon Arrax to see if Lord Borros Baratheon will declare for Rhaenyra—and there he runs into his uncle and his massive dragon Vhagar.
What follows is probably one of the most brutal scenes we’ve ever had to witness not just on House of the Dragon—where we’ve seen plenty of gory sequences play out—but I would say on the entire run of Game of Thrones.
The encounter between Aemond and Lucerys in the skies above Storm’s End plays out like the best of Greek tragedies. The fact that they both lose control of their dragons, in a mix of them feeling their riders’ emotions and them being powerful and largely still-mysterious magical creatures, is honestly storytelling gold. Absolutely terrible, but brilliant from a narrative point of view.
The dialogue that happened between uncle and nephew in the Round Hall of Lord Borros Baratheon before their dragons took the situation into their own hands—or wings—also led to the reveal of Aemond Targaryen’s famous sapphire eye, one of his most defining traits and one of the many things that contribute to making him a striking figure, feared throughout Westeros and absolutely adored on social media.
So what exactly is the story behind the prince’s eye? Well, you might guess where it all starts—the fight that Aemond has a child with Jacaerys, Lucerys, Baela and Rhaena on Driftmark, the one that played out in Episode 7 of House of the Dragon.
The night after Laena Velaryon’s burial at sea, the still dragon-less Prince Aemond sneaks out to try his hand at claiming Vhagar—Laena’s mount and the oldest and largest dragon alive in the world, ridden by Queen Visenya Targaryen during the Conquest. Aemond’s recklessness pays off, with Vhagar accepting him as her new rider.
The other children, however, are not about to let this slide. Rhaena, herself still dragon-less, is expected to claim her mother’s dragon for herself and accuses Aemond of having stolen Vhagar. Jacaerys and Lucerys also intervene to side with their cousins against their uncle, and that’s when Aemond throws out the good old “Strong boys” insult—questioning their birth and insinuating once more that they’re bastards born from Princess Rhaenyra’s affair with Ser Harwin Strong.
The fight escalates until Aemond is choking Jacaerys right in front of everyone else—so Lucerys picks up his brother’s knife and slashes Aemond right in the face, causing him to lose his left eye. He also incidentally fulfills Helaena Targaryen’s prophecy, confirming that she’s one of the very rare “dreamers” to grace the Targaryen line.
We all know how that scene continued—if the tensions between the parents are reflected upon their children, then the children’s actions are continued by their parents, with Alicent demanding Lucerys’s eye as payment for Aemond’s and eventually attacking Rhaenyra with a knife herself.
There was another time skip between Episode 7 and Episode 8, in which we saw a grown-up Aemond wearing an eye patch over his missing eye—something that is reported in Fire & Blood as well, the book on which House of the Dragon is based on.
And under that eye patch, there was always that sapphire stone that we saw in Episode 10, which Aemond reveals when he asks Lucerys to take out his own eye and settle the debt from when they were children—since he plans to take Luke’s eye back to King’s Landing as a gift to the Dowager Queen Alicent. Lucerys understandably refuses, and that’s when Lord Borros commands that the two don’t fight under his roof—so of course, they take it outside, way above the Baratheon roof.
I couldn’t help but notice that it looks remarkably like the impossible blue irises of the White Walkers that we got very familiar with in Game of Thrones, but I don’t think there are any connections to be drawn there, not even when considering how House of the Dragon added the whole plot line of Aegon the Conqueror dreaming of the Long Night. It’s still interesting to note in what other instances George R.R. Martin mentioned eyes like sapphire.
It might be that Aemond got the idea to use a sapphire stone for an eye from the legendary figure of Symeon Star-Eyes, a blind warrior who lived during the mythical Age of Heroes—way before the arrival of the Andals to Westeros. According to singers, he placed two sapphires in his empty eye sockets—which is pretty much what Aemond did.
It’s also interesting to notice that Aemond’s sapphire eye is what identifies him in the various sigils that appear in the opening credits for House of the Dragon. We know by now that they all represent different members of House Targaryen, growing as the cast of characters expands.
In the credits for Episode 10, three different sigils appear on screen at the same time, around the 1:15 mark—one with a spider, another with a naked woman and another yet with a shining blue sapphire. They’re meant to represent the three children Viserys had by Alicent, with the spider and the naked woman standing in for Helaena and Aegon respectively and the sapphire—of course—for Aemond.
(source: AWOIAF; featured image: HBO)
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