One of the biggest issues in the events of episode 7 of House of the Dragon was Aemond Targaryen losing an eye due to a fight he had with the “Strong” boys, Baela, and Rhaena. The fight stemmed from the fact that he “stole” Vhagar from the Velaryons, as this altercation led to him losing an eye at the hands of Lucerys Velaryon. Bigger issues between Rhaenyra and Alicent opened up after that. So, why did Aemond “steal” Vhagar?
Aemond did not steal Vhagar but actually claimed the dragon for himself instead. Dragons cannot be “stolen” because they don’t belong to anyone, except for the fact that they recognize only one single rider at a time. And the fact that Vhagar didn’t have a rider after Laena’s death allowed Aemond to claim her.
The fact that Aemond was able to claim Vhagar was one of the pivotal moments of episode 7 of House of the Dragon because this only strengthened the Greens in what is obviously going to be an all-out war between them and Rhaenyra’s Blacks. As such, it is now clear that most of the major players of the Dance of the Dragons are lined up, as we are now heading towards the war.
How Did Aemond Claim Vhagar?
After episode 6 of House of the Dragon allowed us to see Laena committing suicide by ordering Vhagar to burn her alive, we saw at the start of episode 7 that a funeral was held in her memory, as House Targaryen and House Velaryon were united in this mournful occasion on Driftmark. Of course, while the main theme of that occasion focused on Laena’s passing, one of the things that we noticed was the fact that Aemond was actually keeping his eyes and ears out for any dragon that was there on Driftmark. He was quite aware of the fact that Vhagar, who was once Laena’s dragon mount, no longer had a rider.
A lot of things happened in that episode, but we know for a fact that Aemond snuck out at night so that he could go searching for Vhagar, who was asleep by the shore of Driftmark. And his ultimate goal was to claim Vhagar as his own dragon. But how did Aemond even claim Vhagar?
Any dragon without a recognized rider can be claimed by anyone who has Targaryen blood in them, and that was something that Aemond knew from the start. And the fact that he was one of the few Targaryens on that island meant that he was one of the few people that could actually claim the dragon as his own, considering that Vhagar no longer had a rider.
But the trick here was that, while Vhagar didn’t have a rider, she wouldn’t just allow any Targaryen to ride her. In fact, not all dragons are more than willing to allow dragonriders to ride them just because they have no riders. If that were the case, then many people would have tried to claim Balerion the Black Dread after Aegon the Conqueror died.
This means that, even though Vhagar had no rider, Aemond needed to prove himself worthy of her first before claiming her as his own dragon. Aemond, at first, tried to take advantage of a sleeping Vhagar by climbing up on her saddle. However, Vhagar was quick to realize that someone was mounting her.
As such, Vhagar was about to burn Aemond with the same flames that she used on Laena. However, Aemond knew how to speak High Valyrian and give out commands to dragons because he was there during the times when his brothers and nephews were training with their dragons in the dragonpit. As such, Aemond told Vhagar to stand down, as the dragon was more than willing to cooperate.
This allowed Aemond to claim Vhagar by successfully climbing up to her huge saddle as the gigantic dragon rose up from the beach and flew into the sky with its massive body. And when Vhagar flew, the sound of her wings flapping woke Baela and Rhaena, who were quick to realize that someone had “stolen” Vhagar.
Why Did Aemond Claim Vhagar?
After going on a joyride around Driftmark on Vhagar’s saddle, Aemond successfully returned to the castle, where he was confronted by Baela and Rhaena, all while Jacaerys and Lucerys were backing them up. The sisters were furious at him for “stealing” Vhagar because she was supposed to be claimed by Rhaena. However, Aemond quickly dismissed her by telling her that she should have claimed Vhagar when she had a chance.
Essentially, Aemond claimed Vhagar because he could do so. We learned in episode 6 that he was the only one out of the four boys in the dragonpit that didn’t have his own dragon. In fact, his brother and his nephews even played a prank on him by bringing a pig out as his “dragon,” as they were mocking him for not having his own mount. This led him to enter the dragonpit in search of a dragon, only to find himself almost getting burned alive by one of the dragons there.
As such, Aemond was determined to have his own dragon, especially because he didn’t have his own, while his brother, sister, and nephews all had mounts that they could ride into battle. That was the reason why he kept his awareness up the entire time during the funeral so that he would know where Vhagar was going to sleep during the night.
Of course, it is worth mentioning that Aemond didn’t steal Vhagar because dragons don’t belong to anyone. Vhagar might have bonded with Laena during her lifetime, but that bond ended the moment she died. As such, Vhagar was now free to bond with a new rider, considering that the Velaryons had no right over her. This is what Viserys said when he told Rhaenyra that the idea that they control dragons is an illusion because the Targaryens have no control over the dragons.
In that regard, despite what Baela and Rhaena think, Vhagar didn’t belong to them or their family, as she was merely lending her strength to Laena when they bonded. Upon Laena’s death, all bonds between them were severed, and that meant that Aemond was now free to claim her as his own dragon mount.