It was clear in episode 10 of season 1 of House of the Dragon that the Dance of the Dragons broke out because Prince Aemond Targaryen spilled blood when Vhagar killed Prince Lucerys Velaryon and Arrax. However, what was also clear was that Aemond never intended to kill Lucerys, as Vhagar simply disobeyed the one-eyed prince and munched Luke and Arrax into pieces. So, why did Vhagar disobey Aemond and kill Arrax?
Vhagar killed Lucerys and Arrax because she was provoked into attacking the younger dragon when it attacked her. Dragons are not slaves, and that means that they are capable of independent thought. In that regard, Vhagar decided to take matters into her own jaws by killing Luke and Arrax.
Even though we know that the Targaryens are capable of riding dragons, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they fully control them. That is why dragons are not slaves, as Daenerys said back in Game of Thrones. Aemond learned that the hard way when he was the one responsible for starting a war between the Blacks and the Greens. That said, let’s look at why Vhagar killed Arrax.
Why Did Vhagar Kill Arrax?
The highlight moment of the season 1 finale of House of the Dragon was the inevitable outbreak of the war between the Blacks and the Greens due to the fact that Prince Aemond Targaryen and Vhagar killed Prince Lucerys Velaryon and Arrax. This happened during a diplomatic visit to Lord Borros Baratheon of Storm’s End by both Aemond and Lucerys for their respective sides.
What happened there was that Aemond demanded Luke to give an eye up as payment for the eye that he took from him six years ago. Lucerys, of course, wasn’t willing to give his eye up and wasn’t even going to fight Aemond because he wanted to honor his mother’s wishes of going to Storm’s End only as a messenger and not as a fighter. Luckily for Luke, he was able to leave Storm’s End with his eye because Lord Borros didn’t want blood to be shed in his hall.
However, Luke’s luck ran out quickly because he and Arrax were chased by Aemond and Vhagar when he left Storm’s End. Things didn’t end well for Luke and Arrax because the larger Vhagar was able to fly through the powerful storm better and was basically stalking the smaller dragon the entire time. It was when Arrax attacked Vhagar that allowed things to escalate out of proportion because Vhagar disobeyed Aemond and killed the smaller dragon. So, why did Vhagar kill Arrax?
As smart as dragons may be, they are still beasts that run on instinct. They have always been ferocious creatures that understand nature’s most fundamental law, which is to either run or retaliate when attacked or provoked. In this regard, when Arrax attacked Vhagar out of self-preservation, the larger dragon got so angry that she simply wanted to retaliate for what the smaller dragon did to her.
This was consistent with the very nature of what the dragons are, and that is the fact that they are still ferocious creatures that were always meant to kill. It didn’t matter what Aemond’s intentions were because the only thing that mattered to Vhagar was to retaliate when attacked or provoked. As such, the fact that Arrax disobeyed Lucerys by attacking Vhagar was what gave the huge dragon every reason in the world to attack and kill Arrax.
Why Didn’t Vhagar Listen To Aemond?
Of course, while Vhagar stayed true to her nature as a ferocious dragon, another highlight of that attack on Lucerys and Arrax was the fact that she disobeyed Aemond, who we know is her dragonrider. It was clear that Aemond didn’t want Vhagar to retaliate against Arrax, as he was constantly telling her to listen to him. And when Vhagar killed Luke and Arrax, Aemond had a clear look of disbelief on his face.
Aemond didn’t want to kill both Luke and Arrax because he knew what was going to happen if he were to kill them. He understood that killing them would start a war against the Blacks, and a war was something that Alicent and the Greens didn’t want to happen because this would mean tearing the entire realm apart. As such, the only thing that Aemond wanted was for Luke to give up his eye, and that was the reason why he was chasing and intimidating him.
Nevertheless, Vhagar still ended up disobeying Aemond by killing the younger prince and the smaller dragon despite the fact that her dragonrider didn’t want to kill his nephew. So, why did Vhagar disobey Aemond?
“The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion. They’re a power man should never have trifled with.” – King Viserys Targaryen
In a sense, Viserys was saying that dragons were too powerful for people to control and that not even the Targaryens had the power to control them. And that was true when both Vhagar and Arrax disobeyed their riders.
The dragons stayed true to their nature. Arrax felt the distress within Lucerys and was also distressed as well when it realized that Vhagar attacked a few times, although those were merely feints. Nevertheless, Arrax had to retaliate for the sake of self-preservation. On the other hand, Vhagar realized that she also needed to retaliate after getting attacked, as she stayed true to her very nature as a ferocious dragon that no one could completely control.
Back in Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen said that dragons are not slaves. They are intelligent creatures that CHOOSE to bond with their dragonriders instead of being forced to bond to do so. As such, they can also choose to disobey their riders whenever they find a reason to do so.
There is also the theory that dragons are capable of sensing the feelings of their riders. In Arrax’s case, it felt the distress within Luke, and that was the reason it attacked Vhagar. Meanwhile, in Vhagar’s case, she must’ve felt the bloodlust within Aemond, and that was the reason she killed Arrax.
In a sense, it was immaterial to Vhagar what Aemond’s intent was because the only thing she felt was his emotions. It was clear that Aemond was out for blood, even though all he wanted was a bloody eye. That was probably one of the reasons why Vhagar attacked and killed Lucerys and Arrax.
Regardless of what Vhagar’s reasons for disobeying Aemond were, the fact of the matter is that dragons are capable of deciding on their own, as intelligent as they are. That is why dragons are not slaves and why the idea that the Targaryens control them has always been an illusion.