We might all have different opinions about the recent cast swaps, and even the changes from the books, but one thing we can all agree on is that Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen is currently the best reason to watch House of the Dragon.
As a Game of Thrones fan who felt sorely disappointed by the show’s ending, House of the Dragon has been one of the most exciting pieces of media of 2022. The Targaryen-centered show has proved that the fires of GoT are still alive and well, thanks to a fascinating cast of characters and a solid narrative that grips you episode after episode.
Even though one of the main attractions of both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon has always been its colorful ensemble cast, there’s always going to be a character whose spotlight shines just a tad brighter than the rest. It happened in GoT‘s season one with Ned Stark (Sean Bean,) and now, in House of the Dragon, Matt Smith’s Daemon Targaryen seems to be the one to fit the role of “main character.
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While many would agree that Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is the true star of the show – and most of the promotional materials would agree with this notion, – there’s something about Smith’s performance that just perfectly encapsulates the type of character we would expect from a show set in the same universe as the early seasons of Game of Thrones.
Only a handful of very talented actors could star in a movie like Morbius and stage one of the most noteworthy career revivals in recent memory – but Matt Smith nailed it with his role as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon. Not only is he perfect for the character, but Daemon Targaryen himself might just be one of the most fascinating members of the entire Targaryen lineage.
Make no mistake, though: Daemon Targaryen is, most certainly, a morally grey villain, and might even be the main antagonist of the series for a good chunk of its run.
Still, there’s a certain magnetism about Daemon’s character that I don’t think we saw that frequently, even in the early seasons of Game of Thrones. It matches the chaotic energy of someone like Littlefinger to a T, but with the added regality that comes with the Targaryen name.
The idea of a Targaryen prequel was always something enticing for long-time fans of George R. R. Martin’s novels, and so far, House of the Dragon does not disappoint. As far as performances go, Matt Smith might be channeling one of the most imposing villains in fantasy TV history.
Imagine being labeled as the black sheep of a family that’s known for its unpredictability and penchant for burning cities to the ground with domesticated giant lizards. That’s how much of a villain Daemon Targaryen is. Sure, he shares some of the common Targaryen defects, like the incest and the power-hungriness, but Daemon takes it to the next level.
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Die-hard fans of Martin’s books might already know where Daemon and Rhaenyra’s story is going. But for new fans that are just discovering the complex web of lies and deception that lies at the centre of Fire & Blood, Daemon has been just the breath of fresh air that the franchise so desperately needed.
I might even go as far as to say that, even if you’re not that much of a fan of the world of Westeros and the whole Game of Thrones craze, you might be doing yourself a favour by checking out Matt Smith’s performance as Daemon Targaryen in HBO’s House of the Dragon. It is a masterclass in constructing a charming – and, most importantly, iconic – villain.
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Tell us, do you agree? Is Daemon Targaryen the best reason to watch House of the Dragon?