- Warning: Major spoilers ahead for the “House of the Dragon” season one finale.
- The finale sees Daemon Targaryen choke his wife Rhaenyra Targaryen.
- Showrunner Ryan Condal said Daemon was broken and “infuriated” in the moment.
“House of the Dragon” had a lot riding on it after the misaligned ending to “Game of Thrones” back in 2019, but it seems to have reignited the fire in audiences that made them fall in love with Westeros in the first place.
Things have been building to a civil war all season long, as the complicated politics between House Targaryen and House Hightower finally boiled over in the dramatic finale Sunday night.
Tensions are understandably high for Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) now that Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) has pushed Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) onto the Iron Throne. But a troubling moment between the couple sees Daemon choke his wife after she taunts him that her father, Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine), didn’t tell him about the Song of Ice and Fire.
The prince’s first reaction is to grab his wife by the throat in anger, which is the first time he’s shown actual malice towards his niece/wife. Surprisingly, showrunner Ryan Condal told Deadline that the performances of the actors made the moment all the more powerful.
He said: “That is an incredibly shocking scene and honestly, one of my favorite scenes of the finale that is beautifully performed by Emma and Matt.”
Condal went on to say that though it’s a shocking scene, Daemon has always been this way and the series hasn’t shied away from that.
He said: “I think Daemon has very much, through the course of this season, shown you a lot of colors that would not lead one to be all that shocked in that moment. That primal danger is always lurking beneath the surface, and it just happened to come out in that moment.”
The creator further explained that learning Viserys didn’t trust him with the prophecy is the final straw for Daemon, which is why he snaps.
“It was made very obvious to him that his brother never really regarded him as the true heir of the throne. That infuriates him,” he said. “It’s the worst hurt that he could experience to learn that Viserys kept [the prophecy] from him, that he so willingly shared with Rhaenyra. It just breaks Daemon in that moment, and that’s how he reacts.”
It’ll be interesting to see whether “House of the Dragon” addresses the prophecy further down the line, but obviously the focus is on the Targaryens and the Hightowers rather than White Walkers.
Condal said: “We are now in the Dance of the Dragons, and we’re gonna tell that story.”