Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targrayen riding Vhagar the dragon in House of the Dragon season 2

Aemond Targaryen Could Write the Book on How To Get Away With Murder

After House of The Dragon season 2 episode 4, everyone’s screaming for Aemond Targaryen and his dragon Vhagar’s head. Patience, he’ll get his comeuppance soon for what he did to Princess Rhaenys and her dragon Meleys. But, umm, can we talk about that OTHER thing he did to his own brother?

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Spoilers ahead for HOTD season 2 episode 4!

Let me refresh your memory of what happened in “The Red Dragon and The Gold.” Ser Criston Cole’s trap for the Blacks was going on perfectly. They’d attacked Rook’s Rest, the seat of House Staunton, while Lord Staunton was at Rhaenyra’s council table. The Blacks retaliated the only way Targaryens know how, by sending a dragon. Meanwhile, Cole had Prince Aemond and his dragon Vhagar, the biggest and baddest femme fatale in Westeros, hiding in the forest, laying in wait to unexpectedly attack.

Princess Rhaenys and her dragon, the Red Queen Meleys, would’ve still won this round against Vhagar, had it not been for King Aegon II flying into the battle, unannounced, just so he could gets some validation after his mommy told him he’s just an ornamental king, not a real one. 

Of course, sweet summer child Aegon and his pretty boy dragon didn’t stand a chance against the badass Meleys and a veteran like Rhaenys. But when it started to look like Meleys was going to have Sunfyre for dinner, Aemond had Vhagar light the fire and cook them both. The most terrifying “Dracarys” you would’ve heard, followed by a scared Aegon’s “Noooooooooo!” when only seconds ago, he was all, “Thank the Gods, baby bro’s here to get auntie off my case!”

You know the rest, it’s too heartbreaking to talk about my girls, Rhaenys and Meleys. As for Aegon and Sunfyre, there’s a cliffhanger. Ser Criston (surprisingly not turned into ‘Ser Crispen’ by all that dragonfyre just yet) and Aemond find him fallen in the forest, badly burnt, next to an equally battered Sunfyre. God (and book readers) knows what’s going to happen to them!

Now the question everyone’s asking is, did Aemond intentionally flambée his brother and king? 

Did Aemond mean to kill Aegon?

Left: Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon sits at the had of his Small Council. Right: Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen slightly smirks as he sits the small council in House of The Dragon

In George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood, which serves as a maester’s treatise of multiple people’s versions of what happened during the Dance of the Dragons, it is nowhere indicated that Aemond had any intentions to kill his brother for the throne. But would he do anything to win, no matter the cost or collateral? Oh yes, that can clearly be deduced.

We know that Aemond is not the biggest fan of Aegon. Even as kids, Aegon often joined Jace and Luke in poking fun at Aemond for not having a dragon, and was part of the piggy prank that they played on him in season 1. Aemond also disliked how Aegon treated Helaena. More recently, in season 2, when Aegon and his entourage stumble upon Aemond at the brothel, he mocks him once again, and you can see that in his head, Aemond might just want to commit fratricide someday.

Personal vendetta aside, from the season 1 finale, we know that Aemond believes he deserves the throne more than his brother, who never wanted it in the first place until he realized being a king was a boost to his ego. And Aemond isn’t wrong either. He’s clearly well-read, the best swordsman trained under Ser Criston, owns the biggest dragon, speaks perfect High Valyrian, and is better at war strategy. This episode tells us that he and Ser Criston Cole planned this ambush at Rook’s Rest together. Most importantly, Aemond knows what others on the council and his own mother think of Aegon too.

But does that mean Aemond would actually go ahead and kill Aegon to get him out of the way? The answer is a complex one.

Aemond is ruthless and somewhat remorseless, as a result of years of childhood trauma from being bullied, mocked, and belittled by his own father. He wears his IDGAF attitude as armor. When he lost his eye claiming Vhagar, he believed it was a fair price to pay for claiming the biggest, fiercest dragon. Even when Vhagar got out of control and killed Lucerys and Arrax, and people thought it was Aemond’s decision, he was willing to take the blame for it because it made him appear formidable. He is willing to pay the price for a win, for greatness and glory.

And so, it isn’t a stretch to assume that Aemond simply saw Meleys occupied by Sunfyre, and decided that it was a good chance to do some damage that he might not get again against a strong team like Rhaenys and Meleys. He wasn’t going to let his stupid brother ruin his well-laid plan.

So he let loose the dragonfyre. If it took down Meleys, their opponent was weakened by one dragon. If it took down his own brother too, well, he could always write it off as collateral in war. His mother and others would give him an earful, but then Aemond knows the council would secretly be happy that they didn’t have to deal with an idiot king. He could finally show the Greens what a better king looks like. And he was probably thinking Ser Criston Cole would back him up too.

Furthermore, in the scene where Criston Cole is looking for Aegon and finds Aemond with a sword in his hand, he calls him out, thinking that Aemond is about finish off his injured brother to make it look like an accident. And if viewers think so too, it’s because that’s how it appears on first glance. But if you see it again properly, Aemond has actually sheathing his sword when Cole calls him from behind. There again is no intention to kill his brother. Maim, maybe? But not kill.

Aemond killed Luke and got away with it. He could probably do it again. Who would touch him with Vhagar around? He was invincible. Aemond could surely write the book on how to get away with murder in Westeros!

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Jinal Bhatt
Jinal Bhatt (She/Her) is a staff writer for The Mary Sue. An editor, writer, film and culture critic with 7+ years of experience, she writes primarily about entertainment, pop culture trends, and women in film, but she’s got range. Jinal is the former Associate Editor for Hauterrfly, and Senior Features Writer for Mashable India. When not working, she’s fangirling over her favourite films and shows, gushing over fictional men, cruising through her neverending watchlist, trying to finish that book on her bedside, and fighting relentless urges to rewatch Supernatural.