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Who is Daemon Targaryen – ‘House of the Dragon’s Rogue Prince

4 Minute Read
Sep 2 2022
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Daemon Targaryen was supposed to be his brother’s heir, Prince of Dragonstone and next in line for the infamously-desired Iron Throne.

Man, the life of a second son ain’t easy in George R.R. Martin’s world. Especially when you’re as ambitious and driven as Daemon Targaryen. In HBO’s new Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, actor Matt Smith stands in for the mercurial silver-haired Prince, and we’ve seen a couple of episodes worth of his performance. But who is Daemon Targaryen? Here are the basics so far, with potential show-spoilers left out. We’ll add those as the story unfolds.

Daemon Targaryen’s Childhood

Daemon was the second son born to brother-and-sister couple Baelon and Alyssa Targaryen. His older brother Viserys I became the king and sat on the coveted (and massive tetanus risk) Iron Throne. The brothers also had a younger brother Aegon, but he died as a baby.

As a newborn, Daemon was taken flying on a dragon within a fortnight of his birth. His own dragon was named Caraxes. He was knighted at sixteen by his grandfather King Jaehaerys I. It was then that he was given the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister.

Daemon on the back of his dragon, Caraxes.

As he grew up, Daemon was charming, brave, and a skilled fighter. But he was also moody and capricious. These are all qualities that would continue to define him throughout his life.

Lord Flea Bottom

Initially, he was married to Lady Rhea Royce, the heir to Runestone. He often referred to her as his “bronze [expletive]” and was not a big fan of the Vale of Arryn where she lived. Daemon was pretty vocal about his displeasure, and he asked his brother to annul his marriage to Rhea, to which Viserys said “nope”. His brother also refused to name him the Prince of Dragonstone, which was their family’s homeland.

Returning to King’s Landing to avoid the wifey, Daemon served briefly as Masters of both Law and Coin. But being a man of action, he didn’t take well to either position. He and Ser Otto Hightower, the King’s Hand, did not get on very well. Otto saw Daemon as his only competitor for the position of Hand of the King.

Daemon and his Gold Cloaks turning a lewk, courtesy of HBO Max.

He was then appointed as the Commander of the City Watch, where he gained the trust and loyalty of the soldiers as their commander. He also fashioned their signature gold cloaks, which earned them their long-standing nickname. Daemon was known for inflicting harsh punishments on criminals, but his methods worked – he effectively cleaned up the city streets. 

It was during this time that Daemon became well-acquainted with the brothels in Flea Bottom. He would often visit a prostitute named Mysaria. Many in King’s Landing would refer to Daemon as Lord Flea Bottom.

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Daemon and Mysaria, courtesy of HBO Max

Daemon’s Exile

During this time, Viserys’ first wife and queen Aemma Arryn died while giving birth. Their newborn son, prince Baelon, died in the cradle soon after. On the night of Baelon’s death, Daemon was overheard in a brothel drunkenly referring to the baby as “the heir for a day”. When King Viserys heard that his brother was mocking his recently-dead heir, Viserys banished his brother and named his daughter Rhaenyra as heir to the throne. Daemon fled King’s Landing with Mysaria, and Caraxes flew them to Dragonstone. 

Soon after, Mysaria became pregnant with Daemon’s child. He wanted to place a dragon’s egg in the babe’s cradle, as the tradition with Targaryen children. But an angry Viserys demanded that he return to his wife in the Vale. To keep Mysaria safe, he sent her to Lys while he plotted with Corlys Velaryon to secure his position as the heir to Dragonstone.

As far as the show goes, this is as much as we know about the character. Thanks to the books, we know that Daemon will take two more wives, one of which is, of course, a family member. This is the Targaryen way. But until the season ends, you’ve got all the deets on Daemon – and why he isn’t someone you’d want to trifle with.

New episodes of ‘House of the Dragon’ premiere on HBO Max every Sunday evening.

 

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