‘House of the Dragon’ Discussion: Is Daemon Impotent?

House of the Dragon has added an interesting aspect of Daemon that isn’t explored in George R.R. Martin’s novels. In more than one scene, he struggles to be able to have sex. This has led fans to wonder if the series implies that Daemon is impotent. However, it’s likely more complicated than that.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1 Episodes 1-5.]

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon. Daemon wears armor and a crown and has a sword at his side.
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in ‘House of the Dragon’ | | Ollie Upton/HBO

Daemon can’t perform sexually in several scenes in ‘House of the Dragon’

The first episode of House of the Dragon shows Daemon having sex with his mistress Lady Mysaria. However, he grows frustrated and stops. “What troubles you, my Prince?” Mysaria asks, offering to bring another woman in for him. In this scene, Daemon is fretting over the matter of his brother Viserys’ succession.

In episode 4, Daemon attempts to have sex with Rhaenyra in a brothel. However, he is unable to, and he leaves her behind. In a featurette, co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik explained that Daemon hoped his actions would upset King Viserys.

“It’s the idea that Daemon is using Rhaenyra as a way to get at her father. Ultimately his impotence in this scene is a reflection of the fact that he knows deep down what he’s doing isn’t right,” Sapochnik said.

During the most recent episode of House of the Dragon, fans were introduced to Daemon’s first wife, Rhea Royce. Daemon and Rhea hate each other. Rhea taunts him, asking, “Have you at last come to consummate our marriage?” implying that the pair have never had sex.

‘House of the Dragon’ seemingly alludes to Daemon having some form of sexual dysfunction

These scenes have led some fans to speculate that House of the Dragon is implying some level of sexual dysfunction with Daemon. This has not been confirmed so far, but it’s possible the series will dive into this later. However, there are also explainable reasons for Daemon’s inability to perform sexually on the occasions shown in House of the Dragon.

Daemon’s ‘impotence’ in these scenes can be explained by other factors

In the premiere, when Daemon is having sex with Mysaria, Daemon has quite a bit else on his mind. The matter of King Viserys’ succession is at hand as Queen Aemma is about to give birth.

Next, as Sapochnik explained, Daemon feels guilty for seducing Rhaenyra. Director Clare Kilner also added that Daemon thought his actions at the brothel would be “shocking” to Rhaenyra. “She doesn’t just get shocked she gets excited by it,” Kilner explains. “And when that happens, he has nothing, and he basically can’t handle not being in charge or in control.”

Finally, Daemon’s refusal to have sex with Rhea could simply come down to the fact that the pair hate each other. Neither seems to have any interest in physical intimacy or bearing children, so it’s understandable why they never consummated their marriage. House of the Dragon may elaborate on these scenes later, or perhaps they really aren’t meant to imply that Daemon has any kind of sexual dysfunction.

House of the Dragon airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO

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