‘House of the Dragon’ Fans Don’t Know Whether to Love or Hate Daemon Targaryen

TL;DR:

  • Daemon Targaryen has an impressive victory in House of the Dragon Episode 3.
  • Fans aren’t sure whether to love or hate Matt Smith’s character.
  • The Targaryen prince may return from the Stepstones a serious contender for the throne.
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon' Episode 3. He's standing next to a white flag of surrender and holding up his sword.
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon is bringing viewers back into the world of Game of Thrones, complete with a lineup of morally grey characters to follow. Among the most interesting is Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). The younger brother of King Viserys (Paddy Considine), Daemon’s replaced as heir to the throne after dubious behavior during the House of the Dragon premiere. The character hasn’t become more likable since — though an impressive victory during episode 3 has fans questioning whether they love or hate Smith’s character.

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon Episode 3, “Second of His Name.”]

Daemon Targaryen makes an impact in ‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 3

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Daemon Targaryen’s introduction during House of the Dragon is marked by cruelty and unearned ambition, making him an easy character to dislike. Although Matt Smith’s performance proves charming at times, Daemon is generally unsettling — from the gleeful manner with which he responds to his family’s losses to the lingering looks he gives his niece, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock).

Of course, House of the Dragon Episode 3 changes the tides slightly for the Targaryen prince. With things looking dire at the Stepstones, King Viserys offers to aid Daemon and Corlys Velaryon’s (Steve Toussaint) war against the Crabfeeder (Daniel Scott-Smith). But ever resentful towards his brother, Daemon decides to take a massive risk — one that actually works out in his favor.

Daemon fakes a surrender, bringing the Crabfeeder’s armies out in the open. He then launches a solo attack, taking down many enemy soldiers just before the cavalry arrives. And although he nearly perishes while enacting this plan, Daemon secures a victory. More importantly, he does so on his own terms, even if his brother’s forces save his life.

“There’s no way that story would not have ended with his death, if not for the arrival of the cavalry,” director Greg Yaitanes explained during HBO’s Inside the Episode. “And that’s the thing I like about it, is that he came here to die and he really meets death in the face and is reborn.”

Showrunner Ryan Condal added that Daemon becomes “worthy of some reputation in Westeros” after this victory. And it seems his reputation is improving among viewers as well. Although many disliked the character initially, fans are starting to warm to Daemon.

Fans aren’t sure whether to love or hate Daemon Targaryen

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After Daemon Targaryen’s big win in House of the Dragon Episode 3, fans aren’t sure how to feel about the character. Although much of his behavior is despicable, his scenes are some of the most entertaining to watch. And seeing him take on an army by himself has reinforced one thing about the character: he’s got style.

As one viewer put it on Reddit, “Daemon Targaryen went from ‘what an asshole’ to ‘I am gonna follow this man into a war’ real quick.”

Other commenters echoed the poster’s sentiment, sharing their newfound admiration of Matt Smith’s Targaryen prince.

“And without a SINGLE line,” one fan wrote. “Matt Smith is a genius, and Daemon is a show stealer.”

“He’s the most interesting part of the show so far,” another added.

Of course, not every viewer left “Second of His Name” feeling fond of Prince Daemon. Other commenters reminded fans of his crimes, which include beating Viserys’ messenger and torturing his prisoners. But however viewers feel about Daemon, one thing is certain: he’s about to be taken far more seriously.

Will the Targaryen Prince become a true contender for the Iron Throne?

Knowing that House of the Dragon Episode 3 marks a turning point for Daemon Targaryen, it’s probably safe to assume he’ll become a serious contender for the Iron Throne after this. Although the past few episodes have built up tensions between Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) and Princess Rhaenyra, Daemon’s bound to win some supporters after defeating the Crabfeeder.

Those who have read George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood know how things will turn out, but everyone else will have to wait for Daemon’s next move. He’ll return to King’s Landing with a new spring in his step during House of the Dragon Episode 4. And depending on where things go from here, his confidence may just be warranted.

New episodes of House of the Dragon air every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

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