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HOTD: Exploring The Dynamic Between Rhaenyra And Daemon

By Chandraboli Majumdar
August 23,2022

The first episode of House of the Dragon introduced us to two very interesting characters. This uncle-niece duo shares a very special bond. It’s evident right from the start that they are extremely close. They seem to be the only two people who understand each other. After the first episode, Milly Alcock’s Princess Rhaenyra and Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon were the two characters who stood out the most. They showed a lot of potential for future storylines. Through several moments in the first episode, the creators perfectly established the special yet complex dynamic between the two. Rhaenyra is the only one who doesn’t clash with Daemon. While Daemon is the only one who sees the true potential and power within Rhaenyra. They are also connected as they both have been neglected and overlooked by King Viserys and know how that feels. So, let’s explore the dynamic between the two and what the future might hold.

Rhaenyra meets Daemon in the Throne Room

Prince Daemon on the Iron Throne

HOTD: Prince Daemon on the Iron Throne

When Rhaenyra hears that her favourite relative has sneaked into King’s Landing and is waiting on the Iron Throne she excitedly rushes to the throne room. She keeps his presence a secret from her father and it’s pretty evident that she doesn’t see her uncle as a monster at all. There is a sense of ambiguity in the scene as we don’t entirely understand whether the feelings, they showed are platonic, romantic or something entirely else. They playfully tease each other in High Valyrian and Daemon has a gift for the Princess, a necklace made of Valyrian Steel. This gives them another connection as Daemon’s sword, the Dark Sister, is also made of Valyrian Steel. He helps her put on the necklace around her neck and tells her she looks beautiful. Their eyes, glances and body language say a lot more than the words in this scene.

Daemon comforts the Princess

Aemma's funeral

HOTD: Aemma’s funeral

Rhaenyra loses her mother as she dies during childbirth. As any daughter, she was shaken up and grieving consumed by sorrow. A part of her blamed her father and his decision to choose his unborn heir over her mother. She even expresses her disdain by saying she hopes the King is happy having had a son even if it was for a few hours. During this time, her father King Viserys does not speak a word to her. But there is someone who comforts her and acts as a support system. It’s none other than Daemon. He stands right beside her through the funeral, they talk in High Valyrian and he gives her the courage and strength to do what was needed. He also shows empathy in this moment as he tells her that her father needs her right now, instead of fueling her negative feelings.

They speak in High Valyrian 

This was one of the things that tipped me off and compelled me to write about their relationship. They speak in High Valyrian as if it’s their own secret language. It shows just how close these two characters are and gives them an added mischievous co-conspirators angle.

The Tournament to celebrate the heir

HOTD: The Tournament

HOTD: The Tournament

During the jousting when it’s Prince Daemon’s turn to choose an opponent and duel, you can see the excitement and love in Rhaenyra’s smile. She isn’t afraid or fazed by Daemon’s apparent ruthlessness. She then goes to congratulate her uncle on his first win. Next, Ser Creston Cole was to tilt with Prince Daemon. As they dueled on the ground with weapons, Rhaenyra peered on in amazement hoping for her uncle’s victory.

Rhaenyra is named the heir to the Iron Throne

HOTD: Princess Rhaenyra the new heir

HOTD: Princess Rhaenyra the new heir

The episode ends with King Viserys naming Princess Rhaenyra as his heir and the King’s council pledging their allegiance to the Princess. The King’s seemingly impossible task of choosing between his brother and his daughter was made much simpler by Daemon’s actions. Prince Daemon was banished and ordered to return to Runestone due to his cruel comments regarding the King’s dead newborn son. Prince Daemon branded Baelon as the heir for a day. Considering Daemon’s claim to the throne and his constant vying for the same, these decisions put a big question mark on Daemon and Rhaenyra’s bond.

Those who have read the books probably have a better idea of the relationship between the two and what the future holds for them. All we can say is that this pair is not going away anytime soon. Things will just get more and more interesting as time passes.