House of the Dragon: Does Daemon Love Rhaenyra?

House of the Dragon Does Daemon Love Rhaenyra
Credit: HBO

House of the Dragon Does Daemon Love Rhaenyra
Credit: HBO

After the show's dark finale, House of the Dragon fans wonder: does Daemon love Rhaenyra or is there something more sinister going on?

Daemon and Rhaenyra's tension for each other culminates with a ritually bloody but otherwise surprisingly drama-free wedding, but the characters' motivations are up for interpretation.

Fast forward a few years later, and the show makes fans doubt if the couple is happy, or why they got together to begin with.

Does Daemon Love Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon?

House of the Dragon Does Daemon Love Rhaenyra
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Credit: HBO

There are clear indications that Daemon and Rhaenyra love each other though, of course, political motives on both their parts likely co-exist with attraction.

That the two are attracted to each other was suggested from very early on in the series, and there was even a kissing scene between them, though Daemon ended up backing off.

In that same episode, Daemon had asked King Viserys to let him wed Rhaenyra.

It wasn't clear if he did so to mock his brother, because he actually wanted Rhaenyra, because this move would guarantee him the throne, or a combination of the above.

Not much later, Daemon moved on to marry Rhaenyra's cousin, Laena, and the two settled in Pentos, where Daemon seemed happy enough to live idly, far from court machinations.

Daemon's Marriage to Laena
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Credit: HBO

Even when Laena's funeral brought him back to Westeros, Daemon no longer showed interest in politics, refusing Viserys' invitation back to court.

That being said, he agreed readily enough to marry Rhaenyra and, in doing so, strengthen her claim to the Iron Throne.

Their rather tender scenes in episode 7 suggest mutual love though, of course, politics likely remain an important factor.

Did Daemon Murder His Rivals?

Did Daemon Kill Harwin
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Credit: HBO

The HBO adaptation takes the stance that Daemon didn't murder his rivals, as he spent much of his time away from the court.

In the book Fire and Blood, the situation is more complicated, however. After all Book Daemon is a suspect in the murder of Harwin and Laenor (though not of both in the same account).

Did Daemon Kill His Rivals
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Credit: HBO

The book didn't give Laenor his happy ending, instead having him die at the hands of his lover. Meanwhile, while Larys is one of the suspects in his brother Harwin's murder, there are at least three more suspects.

Some of the accounts in Fire and Blood imply that Daemon orchestrated the death of Harwin, Laenor, or both. Had he done so, his motivation would likely be to eliminate all rivals to Rhaenyra's affections.

The show does portray Daemon as fully capable of murder, but, at least, he did not kill Laenor -- instead helping him escape -- but waited until Rhaenyra firmly decided she wanted to be with him.

Does Daemon Support Rhaenyra's Claim?

Does Daemon Support Rhaenyra
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Credit: HBO

As of the ending of House of the Dragon it seems that Daemon is truly supportive of Rhaenyra and her claim to the throne, though, of course, this remains entwined with his own personal ambitions.

It seems that Daemon mellowed with time. He no longer sees Rhaenyra as a rival to the throne.

Before his brother Viserys' death, Daemon seemed sad to see his brother ailing, and he even tried to help him.

Is Daemon Abusive?

Is Daemon Abusive
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Credit: HBO

Despite Daemon's loyalty and his dedication to removing all barriers from Rhaenyra's path, his cruel and ambitious tendencies remain.

The finale features a violent scene between the couple, with Rhaenyra advising caution, just as Daemon prepares to go into vengeful war against her explicit reluctance.

In that scene, Daemon chokes Rhaenyra for several moments, showing a dark and troubling aspect of their marriage. The implication seems to be that as much as he has grown as a person, Daemon hasn't completely changed.

He's still capable of great darkness and violence, especially when his ambitions are threatened.

During this moment of grieving his brother and daughter, while also realizing that his brother didn't trust him with key information Rhaenyra learned early on, these aspects come into focus.

In a brutal, medievalist show, we didn't expect much better.

No matter how charming, Byronic heroes don't make good boyfriends or husbands.

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