A Music of Ice and Hearth has under no circumstances lacked for persuasive villains. While the most memorable are likely to be the cruel and unrepentant monsters like Joffrey Baratheon or Ramsay Bolton, the kinds that make the sequence distinctive are its formidable and sophisticated schemers — a broad variety that will make up all people from Littlefinger and Cersei, to Tywin Lannister.
House of the Dragon adds good people to the series’ legacy on each fronts. But its most interesting addition is Aemond Targaryen, whose blend of cleverness, impulsiveness, and a sapphire eye tends to make the show’s edition of him a single of A Tune of Ice and Fire’s very best and most tragic people.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 10.]
A Song of Ice and Fire is a collection that seldom trades in pure villainy, at minimum amid its most outstanding solid. Instead, it offers us self-intrigued figures who are villainous only insofar as their ambitions towards electricity outweigh their morality, and when those people ambitions frequently conflict with the story’s primary figures. But they’re often effectively-reasoned and understandable, and outright violence is not often their prefered system.
The tales of the series’ finest schemers, like Littlefinger or Varys, are nearly revenge tales, as they grasp for electric power that they, in their minds, have earned, but from which they’ve been unjustly deprived by the world. Even when, in the case of Tywin and Cersei, they are the most effective men and women in Westeros, they crave the recognition and title that their power, intelligence, and affect need to occur with, but hardly ever does.
When the series does decide on to make a principal character genuinely terrible, on the other hand, it tends to do so by highlighting their violence. These monstrous figures are the opposite of the schemers in that they have electrical power and they understand it, but they have no ambitions over and above cruelty. Figures like Joffrey and Ramsay understand the power they have only as the capability to wield violence versus individuals weaker than on their own. These brutality is rarely at any time retaliatory or even determined past sadistic want and a needy expression of superiority. The sport of thrones is much less intriguing to them than the activity of sadism.
Dwelling of the Dragon’s Aemond Targaryen comes in someplace in amongst these two extremes. He is deeply ambitious, extremely motivated, smart, and skilled, but also pushed by a perception of revenge that (specifically in episode 10) is fundamentally violent. A lot like House of the Dragon’s other malcontent next-son, Daemon Targaryen, Aemond feels that he is deeply deserving of more than his careless and weak brother — notably after a childhood that we have viewed was entire of bullying from that identical brother and his (possibly) bastard cousins. Daemon found that electricity in his penchant for violence and the energy of his dragon, and mainly because Aemond appears to be to have modeled his life just after his uncle, that is exactly where tries to locate it too. But like most intergenerational interactions in A Music of Ice and Fire, Aemond’s youthful perspective of his uncle’s heroics led to an amplified model of Daemon that exists only in Aemond’s intellect, and only tells 50 percent of Daemon’s tale.
Aemond pulled Daemon’s princely bluster, cleverness, and haughty pride, but he ended up with the also-ran inferiority that drives Daemon’s a lot more destructive impulses. The end result is a teenager who’s intelligent sufficient to win in excess of a household to his mother’s cause, sensible ample to analyze a lot more than his brother and practice harder than him, but also a person that’s impulsive more than enough to seize a rock in a fist fight towards his little cousins and threaten to eliminate them.
But the tragedy of Aemond’s put in the center of the series’ villains indicates that, like the schemers, he is not able to totally realize the electrical power he basically wields, but like the monsters, that electricity is limited to violence. By the time Luke arrives at Storm’s Conclusion, Aemond has presently gained the prize. The Baratheons will assist Aegon as the king, in its place of Rhaenyra. But for Aemond, this is also a probability for revenge — an eye for an eye. It may be violent, but in a strictly biblical feeling, it is also good.
When Luke rejects his offer to settle the rating, Aemond decides that some rate must be paid, even if he does not intend for that cost to be loss of life. When Aemond loses management of Vhagar through their mid-air duel with Luke and Arrax, and the dragon eats them equally, Aemond becomes a person of the handful of characters in A Track of Ice and Hearth to significantly undervalue his personal potential for enacting damage, and the consequences his impulses might involve.
“The Black Queen” is pretty intentional about its portrayal of Luke’s death: Both equally boys struggle to get their dragons below manage, and regrettably neither understands what it implies to provide these kinds of a beast to a war. In the moment, Aemond’s neat solve provides way to determined cries to get the most important and oldest dragon to pay attention to him. Lucerys’ death is not a case of spoiled princely sadism like Joffrey, or a coldly calculated shift up power’s invisible rungs. It is a tragic accident at the hands of a teenager who, just after a life time of staying bullied, didn’t fully grasp how the stakes had changed. Just after a life span of sensation inferior — together with throughout the crowning of his possess unworthy brother as king — Aemond now wields the electrical power to conclusion lives and commence wars. He is an anime villain, if an anime villain was the a single responsible for inciting Globe War I. And sad to say, with all of Westeros headed towards war, doubling down on his worst instincts may perhaps be the only way for him to prosper.