How Did Prince Daemon Targaryen Transform Into A Conqueror?


In the first episode of “House of the Dragon,” we are introduced to a disingenuous Prince, who had a menacing demeanor but also had this vulnerable side that made him do things that were not appreciated by the other noblemen. During the tenure of the first three episodes of “House of the Dragon,” we see him slowly transforming into a savage conqueror. Daemon always had the instincts and sensibilities of a conqueror, but the actions of others also aided his metamorphosis.

Prince Daemon Targaryen had presumed the fact that he would be named the heir to the Iron Throne. Viserys Targaryen had always made it a point that he kept him away from King’s Landing. He was made the commander of the City Watch not because his King thought him to be fit for the position, but because he didn’t want him to stay in King’s Landing and meddle in crucial matters. Viserys and Daemon had an unsaid affection for each other. Viserys took the side of his brother a lot of times in front of the councilmen who tried to dissuade him from trusting his younger brother way too much. The transformation of the character of Daemon Targaryen is triggered only because Viserys lacked conviction, didn’t have faith in his own sensibilities, and was easily influenced by others. Viserys didn’t approve of his ways and means, but Daemon always enjoyed the trust of his brother. Viserys never despised him in the beginning. It was only after he was misled by the likes of Otto Hightower and others, that he started believing that maybe Daemon did not hold him in reverence. 

Otto Hightower, the King’s hand, didn’t like Daemon. He knew that Daemon was a loose cannon and someone who couldn’t be influenced or controlled. It was important for Otto that his position was not taken over by Daemon. He wanted to be the sole person who had the capacity to influence the King. As a matter of fact, Otto made sure that even Lord Corlys and King Viserys did not get very close. He played the right moves and always kept Corlys at a hand’s distance from the King. When Corlys proposed to get his daughter, Laena Velaryon, married to the King, Otto made sure that he didn’t let it happen. Daemon provided Otto with the perfect opportunity to supersede his authority. He spoke ill of the King’s deceased son, Baelon, while he was still mourning for his loss. Otto capitalized on the situation and maligned Daemon in front of the King. Viserys banished Daemon and asked him to leave for Runestone. Daemon had a lot of grievances against his brother too, but before being banished, he had never spoken about it. He had thought that someday Viserys would realize what his younger brother deserved. But that didn’t happen. Otto Hightower was able to win the trust of Viserys Targaryen. Daemon expressed his own expectations and desires. He yearned for that day to come when Viserys would name him the Hand of the King. Daemon very well knew that the Lords sitting in the council just wanted to prey upon the fragile King. He knew that Otto Hightower was a shrewd man who was only looking out for himself and his family. Daemon just wanted to save the King from his own incompetency and vulnerabilities. But Viserys was not ready to hear the brutal truth. He was not ready to accept the fact that he could be easily played by others. Ego came in between the brothers, and it gave leverage to the others, who just wanted to create a rift between the two. 

It was always said that the blood of the dragon runs thick, and Daemon was astounded that Viserys, on the contrary, chose to believe others rather than his own brother. Daemon, at that moment, vowed in a silent fervor to not have any kind of association with Viserys. He was a Targaryen too and didn’t like the way he was mistreated and disrespected. Daemon was disappointed, but still, he was not vindictive. When he meets Rhaenyra at Dragonstone, we see that he still has a lot of affection for his niece, and reverence for his king. Maybe he was disappointed too, that the King chose to send Otto instead of coming himself to confront his own brother. Otto probably knew the King too well, and he had foreseen that if the King went, then there was a possibility that he might reconcile with Daemon. When Daemon meets Lord Corlys, who asks him to help him wage war against Craghas Crabfeeder, we further get evidence of the fact that he still held his brother in high regard. He tells Lord Corlys that just because he had some misunderstandings with his brother didn’t mean that others could take advantage of it to fulfill their own agendas. He also tells him that he didn’t appreciate Lord Corlys speaking ill of Viserys. But Viserys never showed that kind of behavior. He was so involved in his own affairs that he forgot that he had a brother who was fighting a war. Viserys never offered any help to the alliance of Daemon and Lord Corlys in the battle of Stepstones. This behavior deeply hurts Daemon. He was angry in his bones. He had so much to say, but nobody was there to hear him out. He wanted to confront Viserys and tell him that he was such a naive person to trust others more than his own blood. He wanted to shout at the top of his voice and tell his elder brother that the others were just making a fool out of him and given an opportunity, would eat him alive for their own profits. The deep-rooted resentment made the dormant instincts of a barbarian suddenly come to life, and Daemon, like his ancestor, Aegon the conqueror, became a feral plunderer. He had chosen violence and savagery over nobility and magnanimity. He had patiently waited for his own turn, but now he wanted to snatch what was his. He had been ridiculed, disrespected, and neglected for a very long time. He had so much anger within him that he didn’t care whether he lived or died. He was ready to embrace death, but he didn’t want to take any kind of assistance from his brother. He was eager to undermine his authority and prove that he didn’t need his charity. He didn’t know if he would ever reconcile with his brother in the near future, but he knew that his core had changed. He was not the same person that he was three years ago, before the start of the battle.

Daemon goes inside the cave of the Crabfeeder as a Targaryen Prince but comes out as a conqueror. He had severed the body of the leader of the Triarchy in a ruthless manner. His face was smeared in blood. Blood that was supposed to run thick in the family. He stood in the godforsaken land, amidst a pile of dead bodies, with his Valyrian sword, Dark Sister, in his hand. He didn’t speak a word in the third episode of “House of the Dragon,” but the barbarity and ferocity on his face told us that he had taken the shape and form of a ruthless conqueror.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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