House of the Dragon episode 8 teases one of the most epic battles in Westeros' history

Aemond in House of the Dragon episode 8
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon might only be in its first season, but it's keeping an eye on what's to come – episode 8 is already laying the groundwork for a truly epic confrontation in the future, as told in George R.R. Martin's Fire and Blood. 

Now, before we go any further, you should be warned that there are major show and book spoilers ahead. Don't read the below if you want to avoid knowing key plot details that might play out in later seasons! 

House of the Dragon episode 8

(Image credit: HBO)

Still here? Then you're ready to dig into spoilers. In episode 8, Daemon and his nephew Aemond size each other up more than once – though Daemon is firmly on team black, and Aemond is on team green, the Targaryen duo don't come to blows… yet. 

Much later in the Dance of the Dragons, AKA the Targaryen civil war, Daemon and Aemond are going to clash in a legendary showdown, called the Battle Above the Gods Eye. The fight is a culmination of a long running rivalry between the two. 

In the battle, Aemond will ride Vhagar, the oldest and largest of the Targaryen dragons, while Daemon will be on his trusty Caraxes, that long, red, and distinctly noodle-shaped creature. 

And make no mistake, even though there's only two fighters involved, this is one epic clash. "Their roars echoed across the Gods Eye as the two grappled and tore at one another, dark against a blood-red sky," writes Martin of the dragons. "So bright did their flames burn that fisherfolk below feared the clouds themselves had caught fire."

Of course, it's not just the dragons unleashing hell upon each other. Aemond makes the mistake of chaining himself into his saddle, while Daemon does not – which means Daemon can leap from Caraxes' back and dive straight for his nephew, Valyrian steel sword drawn. Aemond, trapped in his saddle, can do nothing but watch: in fact, he "looked up in terror, fumbling with the chains that bound him to his saddle." 

It's all to no avail, though. Daemon tears off Aemond's helmet and plunges his sword all the way through his nephew's blinded eye, "so hard the point came out the back of the young prince's throat." A moment later, the seriously injured dragons hit the water below them. 

Tragically, both dragons perish in the battle from the horrific wounds they inflict on each other; Vhagar's blood is so hot it boils the water of the lake. When Vhagar's corpse is discovered, Aemond's skeleton is still bound to the saddle – and Daemon's sword is still in his eye socket, all the way up to the hilt. Ouch. 

Daemon's body, meanwhile, is never found. It's said that singers believe he survived, escaping to be with his lover, who has not yet been introduced in the show. But Fire and Blood is presented as a collection of accounts from unreliable narrators, and they actually agree that the Rogue Prince could not have walked away from the battle – despite what the stories spread by the singers might say. Who the show sides with is a mystery for now, so Daemon might get a Laenor-style happy ending yet. 

Keep up to date with the Game of Thrones prequel with our House of the Dragon release schedule – and fill out your watchlist with our roundup of the best Netflix shows streaming now. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.