Daemon could play at being a rogue when the stakes seemed so much smaller for Westeros, but now in the hour of the wolf, a joker in the deck could bring this whole house of cards down. Even with a loss of an eye, Old King Viserys can see it and attempts to unite his family, at long last, which is what makes the echoes of Daemon in the next generation so dangerous.
Yes, Daemon is still here, and still able to play the rogue when it suits him. It was one of the character’s best moments in the entire series when he goaded Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson) to say “bastard” and then immediately took his head. House of the Dragon uses the moment, too, to call to attention the parallels between Daemon and Aemond. Whereas the rest of Aemond’s Green family looks on, horrified or infuriated by Daemon’s brazen arrogance to behead their man on Driftmark before the whole court, Aemond looks on in admiration… and envy.
Age brings wisdom, supposedly, but for many it brings comfortability. Daemon has what he’s seemed to always want. Rhaenyra is his wife, the Iron Throne will soon be his (kind of) by proxy as a Consort to the Queen, and he’s apparently gotten over his issue with impotence given that he’s now father of four healthy children.
Aemond, on the other hand, has none of his brother’s security of placement, power, or marriage (Aemond was disturbingly jealous in the last episode that Aegon would be the one who’d get to marry their sister). From Aemond’s narrow perspective, Daemon’s had his turn. Now it’s Aemond’s time.
And we see what that can mean during the episode’s climactic dinner sequence. Aemond’s mother attempts a tentative peace with her greatest enemy, Princess Rhaenyra, and both Jace and Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) can swallow their pride long enough to ignore each others’ slights in front of their father/grandsire.
But Aemond? As soon as the old man is out of the room, he turns the knife and steers a feast intended for peace back toward war. I have no way to prove it, but I suspect Aemond ordered a roasted pig to be delivered in full in front of him—and in front of the princeling who took his eye. Unblinking, always unblinking, Aemond’s just waiting for an excuse. Luke gives him one with a snicker, and then it’s time to toast his STRONG nephews.