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In Praise Of The Eye Patch Guy On ‘House Of The Dragon’

House of the Dragon has been doing this thing where it introduces child actors as the many kids in Targaryen/Hightower/Velaryon family and then suddenly, just when you finally processed who they are, they’re gone and replaced by a slightly older actor in the next episode. Aging up the actors helps move the show’s accelerated timeline forward, but it also doesn’t help anyone become attached to any of the kids. So when Prince Aemond lost his eye in the gruesome cousin-on-cousin combat in episode seven, no feelings were felt until the adults got involved.

But in episode eight, everything changed with literally one eye. Prince Aemond Targaryen (my spell check insists I change it to Almond Targaryen) is all grown up now, and he wears an eye patch. Over the time that passed between episodes, the character has been recast. Now, and (hopefully?) permanently, Prince Aemond is played by Ewan Mitchell, who is doing some of the greatest eye work any screen has ever seen. Steve Buscemi, you better watch out.

The episode teases Aemond’s big debut as a grown-up, a sign that everyone involved knows how iconic this guy’s eye is. It had to have its moment. Aemond is fighting Criston Cole, and we see nothing but the back of his long white-blonde hair (similar to Daemon Targaryen’s) and the black band of his eyepatch. Then we finally get to see the front of his face. Here it is in all its glory:

Aemond Targaryen HoTD

Mitchell understands exactly what House of the Dragon is: a high fantasy soap opera. With its royal intrigue, complex family dynamics, hint of camp, and slightly trashy melodrama, it’s like Succession meets the Real Housewives plus incest. Prince Aemond is obsessed with Daemon (aren’t we all thanks to the brilliant Matt Smith), and he communicates all of this with his body language and his eyeball. There is a glimmer in his eye when he is in the presence of his uncle/brother in law Even when he’s out of focus, his eye is working:

house of the dragon aegon and aemond

Once King Viserys is carried out of the strange family feast, Aemond immediately stirs the pot with his toast to his cousins which includes the intentionally insulting use of the word strong, because that’s the name of their real father. “Let us drain our cups to these three strong boys,” he says even after his mother Queen Alicent tells him to stop. He is a badass.


Aemond thinks he’s giving some dark, mysterious, sneaky Daemon energy here, but immediately silences his uncle/brother-in-law once he steps in. Daemon and Aemond have a little moment where they understand each other, and Daemon lets out a deep, heavy sigh, because he knows he’s accidentally created a problem. I hope we will be seeing more of this eyeball, perhaps even an episode from the perspective of it but maybe not until in season five, when they’re really trying to drag things out. If not, maybe there will be an Emmy category for best eye work by the time House of the Dragon ends its run.