'House of the Dragon' Finale's Unspoken Mystery, Explained

The House of the Dragon season finale featured an unexplained cameo that will have dire implications for the war to come. Fans may have been perplexed by the scene where Daemon (Matt Smith) stalked slowly into a cave to approach a large dragon we haven't seen before. Every clue we have indicates that it was Vermithor, one of the largest and most fearsome dragons left on Westeros at this time.

House of the Dragon has been criticized for failing to highlight and characterize its dragons up until this point, but that's about to change. So far, fans are familiar with Daemon's dragon Caraxes "The Bloodwyrm," Rhaenyra's dragon Syrax, Rhaenys' dragon Meleys "The Red Queen," Aemond's dragon Vhagar and a handful of others. However, in the season finale Daemon reminded Rhaenyra – and the audience – that there are several more dragons on the volcanic island of Dragonstone that could be mobilized if only they were paired with riders.

After that came the curious scene where Daemon went into Vermithor's lair alone with a torch, singing a mysterious song in High Valyrian. The dragon wasn't named in the show, and on first viewing, it could have been any of the dragons left riderless so far. However, House of the Dragon's official Twitter account later confirmed that it was Vermithor, to fans' delight.

According to George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, Vermithor hatched in the traditional way that all members of House Targaryen strive for – his egg was placed in the cradle alongside Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen after he was born in in the year 34 AC (after the conquest). That makes Vermithor one of the oldest and largest dragons left in the Seven Kingdoms at the time of House of the Dragon, and in fact, the book notes that Vermithor grew quickly, with only the older dragons Balerion and Vhagar being larger.

We can expect Vermithor to share some of the traits of his first rider, King Jaenaerys I, "the conciliator," who ruled Westeros for for 55 years and was succeeded by Viserys I (Paddy Considine). That means Vermithor had an especially long time to bond with his rider, so it's no wonder that he did not take another rider after Jaenerys died in 103 AC.

Sadly, Vermithor will have a violent part to play in the civil war to come, but there's no need to spoil that here. What's more notable is what this scene implies about Targaryen dragon handling and Daemon in particular. The show has made a point of showing Daemon working with the dragonkeepers, managing dragon eggs and taking a particular interest in the dragon lore of the Targaryens' ancestors from Old Valyria. The fact that he can approach a dragon like Vermithor and manage some form of communication with him while maintaining his personal bond to Caraxes is interesting.

There's no telling where Daemon's dragon-riding ambitions will lead. House of the Dragon Season 2 is not expected to air until sometime in 2024. The first season is streaming now on HBO Max, while its source material Fire & Blood is available in print, digital and audiobook formats.