Why Aemond Now Has A Blue Eye (No, He’s Not Becoming A White Walker!)

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 10, « The Black Queen, » and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood.Aemond Targaryen has a blue eye in House of the Dragon’s season 1 finale, but that does not mean he’s turning into a White Walker. Though most of the greens are missing, Aemond has a major role in the season 1 finale. In a deadly, chaotic battle outside of Storm’s End, Aemond and Vhagar kill Lucerys Velaryon and his dragon, Arrax, fully setting in motion the Dance of the Dragons. Even before that, though, Aemond was catching attention thanks to the reveal of a blue « eye » underneath his eye patch. Indeed, Aemond’s blue eye has led to some confusion, and questions over whether it means he’s becoming a White Walker.

While Aemond may share their piercing icy blue stare, it’s a far more deliberate choice on his part and there’s no indication him becoming a White Walker is actually possible: they won’t be making their move until over 150 years later, and at most Aemond could become a wight if he were killed, but again, that doesn’t fit with House of the Dragon’s story. Instead, Aemond’s blue eye is a sapphire that he has used to replace his lost eyeball (it’s also his personal sigil in the opening credits). This is very much what happens in Fire & Blood as well, though neither book nor show offer a real explanation for why Aemond uses a sapphire specifically (beyond it adding to his villain aesthetic and being a valuable gemstone)

Aemond typically wears an eye patch in Fire & Blood and House of the Dragon, and the first mention of the sapphire in the book only appears when he’s headed to Storm’s End, connecting it more deeply to his desire for revenge (whether that was consciously his choice or not, since he was going there without guarantees he would meet Luke). This is certainly taken further when they do actually meet, since in both book and in House of the Dragon season 1’s ending, Aemond only removes his eye patch at Storm’s End when confronting him and demanding revenge. It’s clearly intended to shock Luke and provide a harrowing reminder of what he took from Aemond, and of the debt that needs to be paid: he may have a sapphire, but he still requires an eye for an eye.

Aemond has trained to become a great swordsman, and the inspiration behind his blue sapphire eye may lie deep in Westeros history, with the legendary Ser Symeon Star-Eyes. Little is truly known about Symeon, but he’s a figure from the Age of Heroes who, according to songs, lost both of his eyes in battle and so replaced them with sapphires. Whether this is true or not is impossible to say, but he’s a fabled knight who would’ve been one of the best swordsmen in Westeros, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Aemond was aware and wanted to emulate him.

Though Aemond is not becoming a White Walker, the blue sapphire does provide a link to them. It is fair to say that it looks like a White Walker or wight eye, and that’s perhaps a more deliberate decision on behalf of George R.R. Martin and now House of the Dragon’s showrunners. One of the first characters to become a wight in the book is a Night’s Watch brother called Othor, whose eyes are noted to be « blue as sapphires. » Similarly, with Symeon hailing from the Age of Heroes, then there’s another suggestion of linking sapphires back to the White Walkers, since The Long Night ended that Age.

House of the Dragon has introduced another wrinkle with Aegon’s A Song of Ice and Fire, of which only Rhaenyra (and now Daemon) are aware. This presents her fighting a battle on two fronts: the fight against the greens that is happening now, and the fight against the threat from the far North that is to come. By giving Aemond a blue eye that looks like a White Walker, it symbolically connects Rhaenyra’s two opponents – real and prophesied – while also adding a twist to Aemond’s character at the same time.

House of the Dragon will return for season 2 on HBO (release date TBC). All 10 episodes of season 1 are streaming on HBO Max.