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.
Just a few weeks later, it’s clear that the series isn’t 100% faithful to the books – but many fans have praised Matt Smith for portraying Daemon exactly from Martin’s original lines.
While we don’t yet know how closely Matt Smith’s iteration of Daemon will follow George RR Martin’s iteration, we can at least speculate as to how the character might die. So let’s find out how Daemon Targaryen died in the books.
We will also consider the possibility that we do not know how he died. Sure, we know he was long gone by the start of the Game of Thrones series simply because of the time that had passed. But there is a school of thought that no one knows where, when, or how Daemon Targaryen actually died.
But for now, we’ll stick with the theory that there’s a specific time and place he was last seen.
The story begins when Daemon secretly marries Rhaenyra. Daemon was 39 at the time and Rhaenyra (his niece) was 23. They have two sons together (and a stillborn daughter). But it’s only after the death of King Viserys, which eventually leads to the civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons,” that the story really picks up steam.
During the war, Daemon and his trusty dragon, Caraxes, form a formidable team. The pair flies all over the kingdom, fighting and generally destructive. But things take a turn for Daemon when Rhaenyra calls for more Dragon Riders to come forward.
She believes she can gain an advantage in war by offering to anyone brave (or foolish) enough to attempt to bond with any of the unclaimed dragons on Dragonstone.
Step in front of nettles. Around the age of 17, this dark-skinned girl manages to tame Sheepstealer and is subsequently sent to the Riverlands to fight alongside Daemon and Caraxes.
As he fights along the way, Daemon (now in his 50s) and Nettles form a strong bond of their own. Whether this was a father-daughter relationship or they became lovers is up for debate. But let’s face it, in Westeros it could easily have been both.
Regardless of the exact nature of the relationship, news reaches Rhaenyra that Nettles is sharing her husband’s bed. And it’s fair to say she doesn’t take the news too kindly and orders Nettles killed.
However, Daemon gets wind of the plan and decides to save Nettle’s life by getting her and Sheepstealer to safety.
After doing so, Daemon flies to Harrenhal, where he faces off against his nephew, Aemond. Aemond flies Vhagar, the only dragon then more powerful than Caraxes. In what would come to be known as the Battle Over the Eye of God, Daemon makes a daring decision not to strap himself into his saddle as he enters the battle.
This is an important part of the story of this epic battle. Mid-fight, Daemon can jump from Caraxes onto Vhagar, where he rams his sword into Aemond. Caraxes rips out Vhagar’s throat and all four fighters fall into the lake.
We know that both Aemond and Vhagar died as their bodies were later discovered in the lake. As for Caraxes, he survived the fall and dragged himself to the walls of Harrenhal, where he too died.
But Daemon’s body was never recovered. So what happened to him? Well, here lies the dispute over his death. Some say he died in battle, but his body was simply never found. However, others connect what happened after the fight to his decision to send Nettles to a safe place. She too was never seen again, although there were rumors that she settled in the Mountains of the Moon. And some say that after surviving the battle over the Eye of God, Daemon joined 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.