Prince Daemon Targaryen was a member of House Targaryen, being a younger son of Prince Baelon Targaryen and a brother of King Viserys I Targaryen. Daemon was the second husband of Rhaenyra Targaryen, Princess of Dragonstone, following Ser Laenor Velaryon.
Daemon was the most experienced warrior of his time and wielded the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister. A dragonrider whose dragon was Caraxes, Daemon declared himself the King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea. During the Dance of the Dragons, he was a prominent supporter of his wife, Rhaenyra.
Appearance and Character
Daemon was described by Maester Yandel as dashing, daring, and dangerous, but mercurial and quick to take offense. Archmaester Gyldayn wrote that Daemon was ambitious, impetuous, and moody, as charming as he was hot-tempered.
According to art for Fire & Blood and The World of Ice & Fire, Daemon had silver hair and wore plate armor. While Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, he wore a gold cloak and a surcoat depicting the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen. He wielded Dark Sister, a Valyrian steel sword, and rode Caraxes.
Daemon was born as the second son of Prince Baelon Targaryen and his sister-wife, Princess Alyssa Targaryen, in 81 AC, during the reign of his grandfather, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. He had one older brother, Viserys, as well as one younger brother, Aegon, who died in infancy. Within a fortnight of Daemon's birth, Alyssa took the child flying on Meleys. Daemon was free spirited and adventurous in his youth.
In 97 AC, Daemon married Lady Rhea Royce, the heir to Runestone, but he disliked both her and the Vale of Arryn; Daemon referred to his wife as his "bronze bitch". During the Great Council of 101 AC, Daemon supported the claim of Prince Viserys, as it would make Daemon the heir after his brother. Daemon gathered a small army of sworn swords and men-at-arms when it was rumored that Lord Corlys Velaryon was readying a fleet to defend the rights of his son, Laenor Velaryon.
Early reign of Viserys I
Ser Criston Cole twice defeated Daemon in the tourney for King Viserys I's accession in 104 AC, besting him in first the melee and then the joust. Daemon asked his brother to set aside his marriage to Rhea Royce, but was refused. Daemon served briefly as master of coin from 103 AC until 104 AC and master of laws for six months after that. Governance bored Daemon, however, and the prince's demeanor made him a rival of the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, who could not stand Daemon's presence and had begged King Viserys to remove him from the small council.
Daemon was appointed Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, a position he thrived in and maintained for two years, to Otto's regret, as, with two thousand men at his command, he waxed more powerful than ever.
Daemon inspired loyalty with many of the rank-and-file men of the City Watch, improving their armaments and equipment. He gave every man a golden cloak, which led to the guards becoming known as the gold cloaks. Crime fell sharply under Daemon's command, likely due to his love of inflicting harsh punishments on thieves and cutpurses.
Daemon developed a dark reputation in the stews and brothels in Flea Bottom, becoming familiar to every cutpurse, whore, and gambler. He became acquainted with a prostitute named Mysaria, known to her enemies as Misery. While Daemon called himself the "Prince of the City", he became known as "Lord Flea Bottom" among the residents of King's Landing.
Daemon considered himself his brother's heir as Viserys had no living sons, and he coveted the title Prince of Dragonstone, which the king refused to grant. Otto Hightower equally did not want Daemon to follow Viserys and proposed the idea that Viserys's daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, should be named heir. Viserys did not address the issue of inheritance, hoping a future son would settle the issue.
Viserys's first wife, Aemma Arryn, died birthing Baelon Targaryen, Viserys' second son, the first having died in the cradle. Baelon died a day after his birth, however. Daemon was observed in a brothel in the Street of Silk making drunken japes about the "heir for a day". When word of this reached the grieving Viserys, the enraged king had Rhaenyra declared heir and Princess of Dragonstone in response to his ungrateful brother's apathy. The furious Daemon resigned from the gold cloaks and flew with Mysaria on Caraxes to Dragonstone, and so was not present for Rhaenyra's ceremony in the Red Keep.
Living on Dragonstone, Daemon impregnated his lover, Mysaria. He wanted to present her with a dragon egg, but the angry Viserys demanded that Daemon return the egg and return to Rhea in the Vale. Daemon sent Mysaria to Lys, but Mysaria's ship sailed through a storm in the narrow sea and Mysaria lost the child. This hardened Daemon against his brother.
Conquest of the Stepstones
In 106 AC, Daemon and Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides, allied together for a private war for the Stepstones, with Daemon desiring his own kingdom and Corlys wanting to rid the Stepstones of rule by the Triarchy. While Corlys provided the Velaryon fleet, Daemon flew on his dragon, Caraxes, and led an army of adventurers and second sons.
Daemon made many enemies from Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh, and he slew Craghas Drahar in 108 AC. After conquering all but two of the islands, Daemon declared himself King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea in 109 AC, being crowned by Corlys the Sea Snake. The Triarchy launched a massive fleet under Racallio Ryndoon to retake the isles, and Dorne joined the alliance against Daemon.
Return to Court
Bored with ruling his meager kingdom, Daemon returned to the capital of King's Landing in 111 AC during the tourney that gave the greens and the blacks their names. He reconciled with Viserys I Targaryen by offering him his Stepstones crown. Viserys I Targaryen welcomed his brother's return and Daemon was given a seat on the small council.
Neither age or exile had changed Daemon's nature, however. He took up again with old companions in the City Watch and returned to the brothels on the Street of Silk. Daemon was cold with Viserys' second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, and her children, who had pushed him further down in the line of succession. Daemon spent hours in the company of his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, praising her beauty, enthralling her with tales of his adventures, taking her hawking, and mocking her stepmother Alicent and her greens. Daemon gave her books, pearls, silks, and a jade tiara once owned by the Empress of Leng. Daemon and Rhaenyra often flew to Dragonstone on their dragons, Caraxes and Syrax.
Six months after Daemon's return, the brothers fell out again, with Grand Maester Runciter referring to an unspecified quarrel and others claiming that Alicent wanted Daemon gone. Septon Eustace alleged that Daemon had seduced Rhaenyra, taking her maidenhood prior to her sixteenth name day, and that the two had been found by Ser Arryk Cargyll of the Kingsguard. Eustace's tale has Rhaenyra expressing her love for Daemon. The notorious Mushroom instead claimed that Daemon had been providing explicit lessons to the girl in how to seduce her champion, Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard, whom the girl was supposedly in love with. When Rhaenyra approached Criston, however, he spurned her. Lyonel Strong, Lord of Harrenhal, counseled the livid Viserys that Daemon should be executed for treason. Eustace, however, reminded the council about the taint of kinslaying, and Daemon was exiled instead. Daemon returned to Bloodstone in the Stepstones and resumed his struggle over his barren kingdom.
Daemon's wife, Rhea Royce, died from falling from a horse in 115 AC. Daemon abandoned the Stepstones and flew to the Vale of Arryn to claim Runestone, which had been Rhea's seat, but he was refused by House Royce. Sent away from the Vale by Lady Jeyne Arryn, Daemon turned to Driftmark, where he laid eyes upon the enchanting Laena Velaryon, the daughter of his friend, Lord Corlys, and he asked the Sea Snake for her hand in marriage. Laena was already betrothed to the son of a late Sealord of Braavos, but Daemon killed the Braavosi with Dark Sister in a duel. While singers say Daemon fell in love with Laena at first sight, others state Daemon married into mighty House Velaryon to check his own descent from power, as he had been pushed far down the line of succession and made many enemies in his adventures.
Because the marriage had been without consent of King Viserys I Targaryen, Daemon and Laena left Westeros for Essos. Mushroom claims the pair went to the ruins of Valyria, but more reliable sources indicate they toured the Free Cities, visiting Pentos, Volantis, Qohor, and Norvos. They returned for some time to Pentos, where they learned that Laena was pregnant, causing their daughters Baela and Rhaena to be born there in 116 AC.
When the twins were half a year old, the family returned to Driftmark. Daemon wrote his brother begging leave to present his daughters to court to receive a royal blessing. The small council advised the king to refuse, but Viserys told Grand Maester Mellos, "Daemon is a father now. He will have changed."
Viserys' daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, was wed to Laena's brother, Ser Laenor Velaryon. While Rhaenrya disliked her stepmother, Queen Alicent Hightower, she became fond of Laena, and the two often flew together on their dragons. With the blessing of King Viserys, Rhaenyra betrothed her two eldest sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon, to Baela and Rhaena.
Laena died in 120 AC, the Year of the Red Spring, trying to birth a son who died as well. Later that year, Laenor was killed in Spicetown by his companion, Ser Qarl Correy. According to Mushroom, it was Daemon who arranged the death of Laenor by paying Qarl to kill him. Lyonel Strong, Lord of Harrenhal, and his heir, Ser Harwin, died in a fire at Harrenhal in 120 AC. Since Harwin Breakbones was believed by some to have been the actual father of Rhaenyra's children with Laenor (Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey Velaryon), Septon Eustace counted Daemon as one of the possible suspects for the mysterious fire.
In 120 AC at the age of thirty-nine, Daemon married again, this time to his niece, Rhaenyra Targaryen, the twenty-three-year-old Princess of Dragonstone. This marriage was performed suddenly without the knowledge of King Viserys I Targaryen, and was scandalous since neither Laena nor Laenor Velaryon, Rhaenyra's previous husband, had been dead for six months.
In 126 AC, Rhaenyra urged the ill Lord Corlys Velaryon to name as his heir her second son, Lucerys Velaryon. When Corlys's nephew, Ser Vaemond Velaryon, objected and claimed that Rhaenyra's first three children had been fathered by Ser Harwin Strong, Rhaenyra had Vaemond seized by Daemon, beheaded, and then fed to Syrax.
The Dance of the Dragons
King Viserys I Targaryen died in 129 AC, leading to the outbreak of the civil war called The Dance of the Dragons. While Viserys had previously decreed Daemon's wife, Rhaenyra Targaryen, Princess of Dragonstone, to be his heir, the greens kept the king's death a secret from Dragonstone. Ser Otto Hightower, the father of Queen Alicent Hightower, objected to the idea of Daemon as king consort, and Ser Criston Cole claimed that Rhaenyra and Daemon would turn the Red Keep into a brothel. Criston crowned Alicent's son, Aegon the Elder, as King Aegon II Targaryen.
Meanwhile on Dragonstone, Rhaenyra gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Princess Visenya; Rhaenyra blamed the child's deathon the greens. During the meeting of the black council, Daemon advised that the blacks should court the Great Houses who had not yet announced their support for Aegon II. During Rhaenyra's rival coronation on Dragonstone, Daemon placed the crown of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, which had been smuggled from the capital by Ser Steffon Darklyn, on the head of his wife, proclaiming her queen and claiming himself Protector of the Realm.
The experienced Daemon led the assault on Harrenhal, capturing the ruined castle from its castellan, Ser Simon Strong, without conflict by landing Caraxes on top of Kingspyre Tower. Daemon's victory allowed the riverlands to rise up in support of Rhaenyra. Daemon later led the taking of Stone Hedge from the greens.
After hearing of the death of his stepson, Prince Lucerys Velaryon, at the hands of his nephew, Prince Aemond Targaryen, at Storm's End, Daemon, through his former mistress Mysaria, hired Blood and Cheese to infiltrate the Red Keep, and the two murdered Prince Jaehaerys, a son of Aegon II.
The enemies made by Daemon during his earlier adventures came back to haunt the blacks when Ser Otto Hightower, now the Hand of the King of Aegon II, recruited the Triarchy to send a fleet against them. The Battle of the Gullet broke the Velaryon blockade of Blackwater Bay and killed Daemon's stepson, Jacaerys.
Daemon abandoned Harrenhal when Aemond and Criston began marching on the great castle with a host of greens. Instead, Daemon flew Caraxes back to the capital and assisted Rhaenyra with the fall of King's Landing to the blacks. Daemon's lover, Mysaria, became mistress of whisperers in all but name. While Lord Corlys Velaryon suggested peace with their enemies and pardons for the greens, Rhaenyra and Daemon were more bellicose and vengeful.
Rhaenyra sent Daemon and Nettles on their dragons, Caraxes and Sheepstealer, to search the Trident for Aemond and Vhagar, who were burning the riverlands. Making Maidenpool their base, Daemon kept Nettles, a seventeen-year-old dragonseed, by his side at all times. Despite the fact that the lowborn Nettles was an unlikely paramour for a prince, according to Mushroom's Testimony, Daemon came to love the girl and took her as his bedmate. Though Mushroom's veracity is often questionable, Gyldayn considers this to be far more likely than most of his tales. Gyldayn further references Maester Norren's Chronicles of Maidenpool, which recorded that "the prince and his bastard girl" slept in adjoining bedrooms, but that they ate together each night and morning. Norren wrote that Daemon doted upon Nettles "as a man might dote upon his daughter", and described Daemon teaching her common courtesies and giving her fine gifts such as an ivory hairbrush, a silvered looking glass, a velvet and satin cloak, and leather riding boots. Norren further wrote that Daemon showed Nettles how to wash herself properly, and recorded that maidservants reported they often shared a single tub, washing each other.
After the betrayals of two dragonseeds, Ser Hugh Hammer and Ser Ulf White, at the First Battle of Tumbleton, Queen Rhaenyra's court at the Red Keep was outraged. Lady Mysaria fed Rhaenyra's growing distrust of the dragonseeds, informing her that Nettles was sharing Daemon's bed and saying that she would soon be pregnant with Daemon's bastard. Rhaenyra raged, declaring that Nettles used spells to bond with Sheepstealer and to seduce her husband, and that Daemon could not be relied upon while in the girl's thrall. The queen sent a raven to Manfryd Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool, ordering him to deliver Nettles's head but not to do Daemon any harm, only to tell him to return to the capital. However, according to Maester Norren, Manfryd and his advisors, fearful of how Daemon slept beside Nettles, unwilling to kill a guest or a young girl (or two guests, to prevent Daemon from becoming enraged at the death of the girl he was "more than fond of" and taking out his wrath on Maidenpool), disobeyed the queen and followed the maester's advice to pretend that they had never received the letter. When Maester Norren informed Daemon that Rhaenyra had declared Nettles a traitor, Daemon sadly replied, "A queen's words, a whore's work," recognizing Mysaria's hand in Rhaenyra's words, and thanked the maester for the warning. It is unknown how they spent their last night together, but at dawn Daemon helped Nettles saddle Sheepstealer one last time, before she escaped into the morning mists of the Bay of Crabs. According to Norren, no word of farewell was spoken between Daemon and Nettles, but as Sheepstealer flew away, Caraxes let out a scream that shattered all the windows of Jonquil's Tower. On the same day, Daemon publicly announced his departure for Harrenhal.
The arrival of Daemon on Caraxes sent squatters fleeing from Harrenhal, so the prince waited for Aemond in solitude. Each evening at dusk he slashed the castle's heart tree, a weirwood in the godswood. On the fourteenth day of Daemon's waiting, Aemond arrived on Vhagar with his paramour, Alys Rivers. While the two dragons grappled in the Battle Above the Gods Eye, Daemon leapt from his saddle and drove Dark Sister into Aemond's blind eye. Both dragons crashed into the Gods Eye, with Caraxes crawling to the shore before dying. The bodies of Aemond and Vhagar were discovered in the lake years later. Daemon's body was not found, but historians are convinced he died there as well.
Daemon never achieved his ambition to sit on the Iron Throne, though his sons Aegon III and Viserys II eventually did. In 170 AC, Princess Daena Targaryen named her bastard son Daemon Waters after her grandfather.
Quotes by Daemon
—Daemon to Corlys Velaryon
—Daemon to Corlys Velaryon
Aemond: You were a fool to come alone.
Daemon: Were I not alone, you would not have come.Daemon: On that much we agree.
Aemond: Yet you are, and here I am. You have lived too long, nuncle.
—Aemond Targaryen and Daemon
Quotes about Daemon
Over the centuries, House Targaryen has produced both great men and monsters. Prince Daemon was both. In his day there was not a man so admired, so beloved, and so reviled in all Westeros. He was made of light and darkness in equal parts. To some he was a hero, to others the blackest of villains.—writings of Gyldayn
Make no mistake, should Rhaenyra ever sit the Iron Throne, it will be Lord Flea Bottom who rules us, a king consort as cruel and unforgiving as Maegor ever was. My own head will be the first cut off, I do not doubt, but your queen, my daughter, will soon follow.
The whore on Dragonstone is not the threat. No more than Rowan and these traitors in the Reach. The danger is my uncle. Once Daemon is dead, all these fools flying our sister's banners will run back to their castles and trouble us no more.
Manfryd Mooton's captain of the guard: This thing is easily done. The prince sleeps beside her, but he has grown old. Three men should be enough to subdue him should he try to interfere, but I will take six to be certain. Does my lord wish this done tonight?
Manfryd Mooton's brother: Six men or sixty, he is still Daemon Targaryen.—Manfryd Mooton's captain of the guard and brother
Prince Daemon, a rogue if there ever was one.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- The Rogue Prince.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- So Spake Martin: The Rogues Are Coming... (March 12, 2014)
- HBO.com: House of the Dragon Cast & Characters
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.