How House Of The Dragon Stars Really Felt About Aemond Losing An Eye

How House Of The Dragon Stars Really Felt About Aemond Losing An Eye
Image credit: HBO

There is no doubt that House of the Dragon presents Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, whose older incarnations are played by Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively, as its main characters, and their increasingly hostile relationship as the core of the unfolding conflict.

It is arguable how well that works, as in its attempts to portray them as victims of the circumstances the show also takes away much of their agency, but the idea is clear.

In any case, whether the Princess and the Queen actually drive the conflict between their parties, or are dragged along by unfolding events, one of the key points in development of that conflict is Rhaenyra's son Lucerys slashing Alicent's son Aemond across the face during a fight, resulting in Aemond losing his left eye.

And notably, both of the actresses feel that Alicent's anger in the scene which unfolds right afterwards was justified. They talked about in an interview with Vulture, discussing development of their characters.

"My sympathy is fully with Alicent," D'Arcy said in that interview. "On the page I was like, Well, she's f***ing right. Someone's lost an eye! I'm so amazed every time Paddy basically tells you to let it go. Simultaneously, Rhaenyra is playing quite a basic game: Lie hard, do not back down, and weaponize this word 'treason.'"

Cooke agreed with this, and added the following about her character's viewpoint:

"Alicent's being gaslit massively and she f***ing explodes. In friendships or relationships, when it gets to the point where you feel you're going mad, there's no route out other than complete volcanic annihilation."

Indeed, one could not expect a character to react calmly and rationally when not only her son just got maimed, but she also realizes that her husband is concerned about that fact infinitely less than about protecting his child from a previous marriage and his grandchildren by her from slander (slander which also happens to be blatantly true).

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Her demand for removal of Lucerys' own eye could have been unreasonable, but it was understandable. But – and here we return to the theme of having an active versus a reactive role in events – it should be remembered, that the character who kept his head cool enough to defuse the conflict for that moment, even if he never forgot his grudge, was Aemond himself, despite being a kid who just got maimed for life.