House of the Dragon: Who is Daemon Targaryen?


We’ve heard that HBO is looking the cast the role of Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon. Who is this colorful member of the Targaryen family?

The other day, we heard of a new casting call for House of the Dragon, HBO’s follow-up to Game of Thrones. The new show will be set over a hundred years before the original show and will tell the story of the Dance of the Dragons, a brutal Targaryen civil war that tore the realm apart. You may remember Shireen telling Stannis about it right before he made the worst decision of his life. It didn’t sound nice then, and the reality is even worse. We can’t wait.

We’ve already heard about HBO casting the roles of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, two crucial figures in this conflict. Basically, the Dance of the Dragons comes down to a war of succession. Rhaenyra’s father, King Viserys I Targaryen, raised her to be his heir. But Alicent, Viserys’ second wife and Rhaenyra’s stepmother, wants her own son by the king, Prince Aegon II, to rule. When Viserys dies, Rhaenyra and Aegon are both crowned, but only one can sit the throne. And thus the war begins.

And where does Daemon fit into this? Let’s take a closer look.

Daemon was the younger brother of King Viserys I Targaryen, and although he didn’t hate his older brother, they were different. Daemon was more impetuous and aggressive, capable of being charming one minute and then flying off the handle the next.

Early in King Viserys’ reign, Daemon served as both master of coin and master of laws to his brother, but neither position suited him. Daemon was more of a hot-headed type: he liked fighting and sex, not counting coppers. He was much happier as Lord Commander of the City Watch, where he inspired a lot of loyalty among his men. He even gave them golden cloaks, starting a tradition that continued into the time of Game of Thrones.

Crime went down under his watch, possibly because he enjoyed inflicting brutal punishments on thieves and cutpurses. He also gained a reputation among the city’s brothel owners, making connections that would later serve him during the Dance.

Another important chapter in Daemon’s life came when he conquered the Stepstones, a chain of islands off the southeast shore of Westeros. Naturally, he had his friend  Lord Corlys Velaryon crown him King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, and making enemies of a few of the Free Cities in the process.

Daemon seemed to have a talent for making enemies. The Hand of the King under Viserys, Otto Hightower, didn’t like Daemon because he was becoming too powerful in King’s Landing. House Royce didn’t like him for how he treated his first wife, Rhea Royce. Daemon wasn’t the kind of guy to care too much what other people thought of him, or least not so much that it stopped him from doing whatever he wanted to do, but these enemies would come back to haunt him during the Dance.

Eventually, Daemon’s first wife Rhea died falling off a horse. His second wife, Laena Velaryon, died in childbirth. That brought him to his third wife, his own niece, Rhaenyra Targaryen.

Daemon and Rhaenyra spent a lot of time together when she was being groomed as heir to the throne in King’s Landing. By this point, Daemon had pretty much given up hope of becoming king himself, but he was happy to back his wife’s claim once Viserys died. He crowned her on Dragonstone himself. As an experienced soldier, he was a valuable asset for Rhaenyra and her blacks. His dragon Caraxes didn’t hurt either, nor his skills with the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister.

Daemon was busy during the Dance. He took the castle of Harrenhal for his queen, and used some of his Flea Bottom connections from earlier in life to murder a son of Aegon II. But because he had made so many enemies over the years, there were plenty of people willing to fight him, and the blacks too often found themselves on the defensive.

During the war, Daemon started a relationship with Nettles, a peasant girl who rose to become a dragonrider, much to Rhaenyra’s fury. Daemon leaves our story after he battles his nephew Aemond Targaryen on dragonback over the Gods Eye lake. Both riders and both dragons died, although Daemon’s body was never found. If the singers are to be believed, he ran away with Nettles to die in peace somewhere far away.

So as you can see, this is some high drama stuff; whoever lands the role of Daemon will have a lot to work with.

Next. House of the Dragon: Who are Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower?. dark

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