House of the Dragon: Why does Daemon choke Rhaenyra in the Season 1 finale?


In episode 10 of “House of the Dragon”, Daemon Targaryen loses some of the audience’s sympathy points. He strangles his wife Rhaenyra Targaryen. You can read about his motives here.

House of the Dragon - Episode 10: Daemon crowns Rhaenyra queen.

House of the Dragon – Episode 10: Daemon crowns Rhaenyra queen. (Source: Ollie Upton/HBO)

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Daemon Targaryen became a fan favorite as the silent bad boy during the first season of “House of the Dragon”. But a scene in episode 10, the season finale of the “Game of Thrones” spin-off, loses some sympathy for him again because it shows the true nature of the uncle and husband of Queen Rhaenyra I Targaryen. He chokes his beloved wife and niece.

Not a shock, but disappointment

Daemon has actually never hidden what he actually is: a deeply brutal egomaniac who lusts for power and doesn’t care about rules. He was introduced to us as the commander of the city guard, roaming around King’s Landing with his gold cloaks and brutally executing alleged criminals without proof of their guilt.

He sleeps his way through the city’s brothels, disrespects and despises his brother, King Viserys, for his diplomatic and peaceful ways, and destroys the reputation of his niece Rhaenyra by almost sleeping with her in a brothel. His marriage to Laena Velaryon seemed to have tamed him; even later, at Rhaenyra’s side, he ensured calm with his looks and without hesitation defended her honor by beheading Vaemond Velaryon.

Ultimately, all Daemon ever wanted was his brother’s recognition and trust. That’s why he went to war on the Stepping Stones without asking his brother for help. That’s why he helped him to the throne in episode 8 and supported him.

With the death of Viserys, Daemon is once again overcome by his old self. He immediately accuses the Greens of killing Viserys, even though his death was really foreseeable. While Rhaenyra is in labor, he seizes the opportunity and begins preparing for war against Rhaenyra’s explicit wish not to do so. He is driven by revenge.

Daemon’s anger can no longer be contained

When Rhaenyra tells him that Viserys has kept a big secret from him all his life, the Song of Ice and Fire, Daemon’s synapses burn out. On the one hand, he is frustrated with Rhaenyra because she doesn’t want to go to war straight away like he does, but instead wants to act just as hesitantly, diplomatically and, in Daemon’s eyes, weakly as Viserys would have done. On the other hand, because Viserys didn’t trust him again and kept an important prophecy secret from him.

What made Daemon somewhat lovable was that he adored Rhaenyra from the start. They have had a unique connection since Rhaenyra’s childhood. But now Daemon is strangling Rhaenyra, even though she not only has a stillbirth behind her, but also carries the burden of the empire on her shoulders and has to come to terms with her father’s death.

When Daemon chokes Rhaenyra, he does it out of frustration, envy, and revenge. In this moment, Rhaenyra represents everything he hated about his brother. Because Daemon would have preferred to be on the throne and solve everything his way: with dragon fire.

What happens next with Daemon and Rhaenyra?

It’s quite possible that Rhaenyra finally realizes that Daemon is only after the power of the throne and that he doesn’t actually care about it. But after the death of Lucerys, she is ready for war, for what Daemon has wanted all along. But Rhaenyra now also knows that Daemon is disobeying her orders and will think about it in season 2 of “House of the Dragon”.

Since Daemon wants to create an army of dragon riders, the two won’t be spending as much time together anymore. We also know from the books that Daemon will have an affair with one of the dragon riders as the war progresses. The time of romance between Daemon and Rhaenyra is finally over.

Rate House of the Dragon
genreDrama, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
First broadcast

August 21, 2022

First broadcast in Germany

August 22, 2022
Other sources


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