Welcome to House of the Dragon MVP, our series highlighting each episode’s Most Valuable Player in the game before the Game of Thrones.
In the very first episode of House of the Dragon, King Viserys made an observation that might as well have been a prophecy. “The idea that we control the dragons is an illusion,” he said, standing in the shadow of the black dragon Balerion’s skull. “They’re a power man should never have trifled with.” Even though Viserys’ track record with prophecies is essentially garbage, this one came true with the surprising House of the Dragon‘s Season 1 finale MVP.
This season’s Most Valuable Players have included a hauntingly tragic queen, the guy crazy enough to take on an entire army by himself, two different forms of Rhaenyra, an arsonist who likes feet, Viserys doing one (1) thing right, and a grandmother engineering a mass casualty event. None of the MVPs in the first season of House of the Dragon have been an actual dragon…until now.
Give it up for Vhagar, oldest and largest of the Targaryen dragons, queen of making things worse, and devourer of Rhaenyra’s sweet, strong son Prince Lucerys. It was she who turned what could have been a mildly traumatizing example of bullying into a civil war, kicking off an era-defining conflict that will kill thousands, and she did it with a smile.
Now, it’s true Vhagar had help. Aemond was right there riding on her back for most of the chase. It’s also true that when push came to shove, Vhagar ignored Aemond’s commands and ate a teenager out of the sky all by herself. Aemond, cool as he is, is not the moment here.
Vhagar gets way more MVP points than Aemond because Vhagar made Aemond. Do you think Aemond could pull off looking like Sephiroth‘s leathery godson if he couldn’t back his drip up with the biggest dragon in the world? No. Do you think the wimpy boy who got pranked with a bedazzled pig would have mastered the blade if he didn’t acquire some serious BDE (Big Dragon Energy)? Absolutely not. Aemond doesn’t ride Vhagar. Vhagar puts Aemond in her backpack. And then she does whatever the hell she wants. Which, historically speaking, is to perform atrocities. Lots and lots of atrocities.
Vhagar’s first rider was Queen Visenya, who kicked off Aegon’s conquest by setting fire to the first of the war’s many targets; eventually, burning entire towns and castles became her whole thing. Her second rider was Viserys and Daemon’s father Baelon, a warrior known for being so stupidly brave he punched Balerion the Black Dread in the face when he was a literal baby. After Baelon came Laena, claiming an older, semi-retired Vhagar who seemed happy to take a break from all the state terrorism and religious persecution until Laena died.
Then Aemond claimed her and several years later he rode Vhagar to Storm’s End, where the old she-dragon decided it was war crimes o’clock whether Aemond wanted it or not. “Serve!” cried Aemond in High Valyrian, heedless of the fact that she already was. “No!” he yelled as his majestic flying hell-lizard did what majestic flying hell-lizards do (eat children). He didn’t have a chance. Vhagar Vhagared and once again changed the fate of all seven kingdoms.
Everything else that happens in House of the Dragon‘s later seasons — every betrayal, every retaliation, every battle, every death — will stem from the moment Vhagar attacked Lucerys. She makes history as easily as she makes fire, and the wars to come will be yet another chapter in the legend of Vhagar the dragon.
House of the Dragon season 1 is streaming on HBO Max.