Daemon Targaryen was one of George RR Martin’s favorite characters in Fire & Blood, on which the TV sensation House of the Dragon is based.
A few weeks later, it’s clear the show isn’t 100% faithful to the books – but many fans praised Matt Smith for portraying Daemon accurately to Martin’s original writing.
While we don’t yet know how closely Matt Smith’s iteration of Daemon will follow George RR Martins’, we can at least speculate how the character might die. So, let’s find out how Daemon Targaryen died in the books.
We’ll also look into the possibility that we don’t know how he died. Of course, we know he was long gone by the start of the Game of Thrones series, simply because of the passage of time. But there is a school of thought that no one knows where, when, or how Daemon Targaryen actually died.
But for now, we’ll go with the theory that there’s a specific time and place he was last seen.
The story begins when Daemon marries Rhaenyra in secret. At the time, Daemon was 39 and Rhaenyra (his niece) was 23. They went on to have two sons together (and a stillborn daughter). But the story really begins after the death of King Viserys which eventually leads to the civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons”.
During the war, Daemon and his trusty dragon Caraxes form a formidable team. The pair fly throughout the kingdom fighting and generally being destructive. But things take a turn for Daemon when Rhaenyra asks for more Dragonriders to show up.
She believes she can gain an advantage in the war by offering anyone brave enough (or foolish) to try bonding with one of the unclaimed dragons on Dragonstone.
Advance the nettles. This dark-skinned girl around 17 years old manages to tame Sheepstealer and is then sent to the Riverlands to fight alongside Daemon and Caraxes.
While they fight Daemon (now in their 50s) and Nettles form a strong bond of their own. Whether it’s a father-daughter type relationship or whether they became lovers is up for debate. Although, let’s face it, in Westeros it could easily have been both.
Regardless of the exact nature of the relationship, Rhaenyra learns that Nettles shares her husband’s bed. And it’s fair to say she’s not too fond of the news, ordering Nettles killed.
However, Daemon gets wind of the plan and decides to save Nettles’ life by sending him and Sheepstealer to safety.
With that done, Daemon flies to Harrenhal where he confronts his nephew, Aemond. Aemond steals Vhagar, the only dragon more powerful than Caraxes at the time. In what would become the battle above the eye of God, Daemon makes a bold decision not to strap himself to his saddle as he enters the battle.
It is an essential part of the story of this epic clash. Midway through the fight, Daemon is able to jump from Caraxes onto Vhagar, where he drives his sword into Aemond. Caraxes rips out Vhagar’s throat and all four fighters fall into the lake.
We know that Aemond and Vhagar are dead, as their bodies were later discovered in the lake. As for Caraxes, he survived the fall and climbed to the walls of Harrenhal, where he too died.
But Daemon’s body was never found. So what happened to him? Well, therein lies the argument about his death. Some say he perished in battle, but his body was never found. Others, however, link what happened after the fight to his decision to send Nettles to safety. She too was never seen again, although there were rumors that she had settled in the Mountains of the Moon. And some say that after surviving the battle above the eye of God, Daemon went to join her.
Ultimately, we don’t know how Daemon Targaryen died in Fire & Ice. And we have yet to find out if or how he will die in House of the Dragon.