The Disturbing Symbolism Behind Aemond’s Sapphire Eye on “HOTD”

The Disturbing Symbolism Behind Aemond’s Sapphire Eye on “HOTD”


Among all the major plot points in the “House of the Dragonseason one finale was a surprising reveal from Aemond Targaryen: his new artificial sapphire eye. At first glance, his new eye seems to evoke some of the most famous and terrifying “Game of Thrones” baddies — but is that intentional, or just pure coincidence?

What Happened to Aemond’s Eye?

A quick refresher is in order about why Aemond has an artificial eye in the first place. The dragon Vhagar was once the dragon of Laena Velaryon, the second wife of Prince Daemon Targaryen. After Laena’s death, young Aemond decides to claim Vhagar to prove himself. Although it’s dangerous, he does successfully bond with and ride Vhagar.

When he returns, however, he’s confronted by Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon (Laena’s nephews) and Laena’s daughters, Rhaena and Baela. Rhaena is furious, telling Aemond she should have been the rightful rider of Vhagar, since she was her mother’s dragon, but Aemond tells her she’d be better suited to claim a pig, then threatens to kill Baela when they fight him. Jace and Luke get involved, and this time, Aemond threatens to kill Luke and taunts him about being the illegitimate son of Harwin Strong (not a legitimate son of Laenor Velaryon). In the ensuing scuffle, Aemond hits Jace on the head with a rock, and Luke grabs Jace’s dropped knife to protect him, slashing at Aemond and cutting him across his face and eye.

After the dust settles, Aemond tells his mother, Alicent, not to worry about him: he’s lost an eye but gained a dragon, and he sees that as a trade-off he can live with.

Is Aemond a White Walker?

As Aemond grows into an adult, he wears an eyepatch over his missing eye. When he confronts Luke at the castle of Borros Baratheon, however, he pulls off the eyepatch to reveal that he now wears a sapphire as an artificial eye. The uncanny, unnatural blue eye bears more than a little resemblance to the iconic eyes of the Night King and the White Walkers, but of course, Aemond is not a White Walker — just a guy with a gemstone for a false eye.

The symbolism here is what really matters. The first time we see Aemond’s blue eye, it’s almost immediately followed by a scene where he vengefully chases after Luke (trying to make “an eye for an eye” literal) and winds up losing control of his dragon and killing Luke during the pursuit. The choice has to be intentional, connecting Aemond’s tipping point from standard-issue sneering bully to kinslayer with the first appearance of the icy blue eye that evokes Westeros’s most chilling (literally), irredeemable, and murderous villains. Rather than being some secret signal that Aemond is a White Walker or on his way to becoming one, it seems more like a sign of his increasing corruption and the dark path he’s on.

Image Source: HBO