Episode 10 of House of the Dragon allowed us to see how the Dance of the Dragons broke out as Aemond Targaryen drew first blood by killing Lucerys Velaryon. However, what we also know is that Vhagar attacked and killed Arrax because the smaller dragon actually attacked Vhagar first, even though Lucerys never intended for his dragon to attack. So, why did Arrax attack Vhagar?
Arrax attacked Vhagar because it felt the same kind of distress that Lucerys was feeling at that moment. It was a natural reaction for it to try to defend itself, even though it was clear that it had no way of winning against the larger dragon. Arrax was in a fight-or-flight situation and chose to fight.
In a way, Arrax reacted in a way that was natural for any creature that has the ability to fight in a situation that forces it to fight. That is why Arrax was adamant enough to try to fight back when it was pressed into a corner by Aemond and Vhagar. Unfortunately for it, Arrax bit off more than it could chew when it attacked the biggest and strongest dragon in the world.
Why Did Arrax Attack Vhagar?
In the season 1 finale of House of the Dragon, we saw how cautious Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen’s approach was in making sure that war didn’t break out between the Blacks and the Greens. Instead, she wanted to make sure that she had allies on her side, as she sent her sons to treat with the different lords of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms. She sent Prince Jacaerys to the Eyrie and Westeros. Meanwhile, Prince Lucerys was sent to Storm’s End to treat with Lord Borros Baratheon.
While he was in Storm’s End, Luke realized that Prince Aemond and Vhagar had beaten them there. The one-eyed prince was already inside the throne room of Storm’s End when Luke gave Lord Borros his mother’s message. However, Borros refused to side with Rhaenyra because the Greens offered him a marriage pact. As such, the young prince had to leave Storm’s End with empty hands.
But as Luke was about to leave, Aemond wanted his nephew to give him his eye as payment for the one that he took six years ago. Luke was obedient enough to his mother by saying that he wasn’t there to fight but was merely in Storm’s End as a messenger, even as Aemond was about to goad him into a fight. The good thing, however, was that Lord Borros was not about to allow blood to be shed in his hall, as he allowed Luke to leave.
Lucerys knew that Aemond was going to go after him once he left with Arrax, as that was the reason why he and his dragon hurriedly fled from Storm’s End. But the problem was that the smaller dragon was not meant to fly well in a powerful storm that Vhagar had no problems flying through. Aemond and Vhagar stalked the smaller prince and the smaller dragon, as the one-eyed prince still wanted his nephew to give up his eye.
The good thing was that Luke was able to find a ravine he and Arrax flew through, as this was too tight for Vhagar to enter. Aemond thought that he had lost his nephew, but Arrax came flying from the side to breathe fire on Vhagar’s face. It was clear that Lucerys didn’t want this to happen as he told his dragon to serve him and said, “No, Arrax.” So, why is it that Arrax attacked Vhagar?
Of course, we all know that dragons are creatures that are ferocious and were born with the ability to fight and defend themselves. In that regard, it was perfectly natural for a dragon to fight back when it was in the middle of a stressful situation that forced its back against the corner. Arrax was in a fight or flight situation, and he chose to fight Vhagar when it was being threatened by the larger dragon, who actually feinted a few bites on several occasions instead of merely just chasing the smaller dragon.
As smart as dragons are, they are not always aware of whether or not their riders simply want to fake an attack. In that regard, when Arrax felt that its life was legitimately in danger, it had no choice but to attack the larger dragon for the sake of self-preservation. The problem was that it angered the wrong dragon.
Why Did Both Dragons Disobey?
Of course, when Arrax attacked Vhagar, we knew that it disobeyed Lucerys because the young prince wasn’t there to fight. Instead, he simply wanted to run away, as he understood that he didn’t have a chance to win against Aemond and that he was sent to Storm’s End not as a fighter but as a messenger. He didn’t want the blood to be spilled because that would mean starting a war against the Greens.
Meanwhile, after Arrax breathed fire on Vhagar’s face, the old dragon got enraged that it also disobeyed Aemond. Despite Aemond not wanting to kill Lucerys, Vhagar attacked and killed the prince and Arrax. So, why was it that both dragons disobeyed their riders?
Back in the earlier portion of House of the Dragon, King Viserys Targaryen once said: “The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion. They’re a power man should never have trifled with.” And the wise king was actually correct.
The Targaryens are never in complete control over their dragons, as we actually saw that in Game of Thrones when Drogon disobeyed Daenerys in several situations. Dragons are intelligent creatures that understand that their bond with their riders is a partnership. However, they also understand as much that they are not slaves to their dragonrider, as they can also act on their own when there is a need to.
On top of that, there is also a theory that states that dragons and their riders are connected emotionally upon bonding with one another. This was seen during the time when Rhaenyra was suffering when she was forced into labor earlier than expected. While Rhaenyra was screaming in pain, we also saw Syrax screaming as well. This was probably the dragon’s reaction to what her dragonrider was feeling.
Meanwhile, in the case of Arrax and Vhagar, they probably felt what their riders were feeling but misinterpreted it. Arrax felt the distress in Lucerys but misunderstood it to mean a signal for it to fight back against the much larger dragon. On the other hand, Vhagar probably felt the bloodlust in Aemond but misinterpreted it to mean that the one-eyed prince wanted to kill the younger prince.
This is where it becomes clear that the Targaryens are not in complete control over their dragons, as this idea is truly an illusion. As powerful as the Targaryens are, the dragons are more powerful. And that was probably the reason why Viserys said that this power is something that men should’ve never meddled with.