Prince Daemon in his younger days as commander of the gold cloaks. © Marc Simonetti
Prince of the City|
Lord Flea Bottom
The rogue prince
Commander of the City Watch
Master of coin
Master of laws
King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea
Protector of the Realm
|Born||In 81 ᴀᴄ|
|Died||In 130 ᴀᴄ, at the Gods Eye|
1st: Lady Rhea Royce|
2nd: Lady Laena Velaryon
3rd: Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)|
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)
Prince Daemon Targaryen was a member of House Targaryen and the uncle and husband of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, whose claim he supported in the Dance of the Dragons. He was Rhaenyra's second husband, following Ser Laenor Velaryon. He was a younger son of Prince Baelon Targaryen, and brother to King Viserys I Targaryen.
Prince Daemon was the most experienced warrior of his time and wielded the Valyrian steel blade Dark Sister. A dragonrider whose dragon was Caraxes, Daemon declared himself the King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea.
Appearance and Character
Daemon was a skilled warrior, described in the histories as dashing, daring, and dangerous. He was also ambitious, impetuous, mercurial, amoral, reckless, and quick to take offense. Archmaester Gyldayn described Daemon as being as charming as he was hot-tempered.
Daemon was born as the second son of Prince Baelon Targaryen and his sister-wife, Princess Alyssa Targaryen, in 81 ᴀᴄ, during the reign of his grandfather, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. He had one older brother, Viserys, as well as one younger brother, Aegon. Since his youth, Daemon's face was familiar to every cut-purse, whore, and gambler in Flea Bottom. He was knighted at sixteen, and King Jaehaerys I Targaryen gave him Dark Sister.
Daemon' first marriage was to Lady Rhea Royce, but he disliked both her and the Vale of Arryn. During the Great Council of 101 ᴀᴄ, Daemon supported the claim of Prince Viserys, as it would make Daemon the heir after his brother. Daemon gathered a small army when it was rumored that Lord Corlys Velaryon was readying a fleet to defend the rights of his son, Laenor Velaryon.
Early reign of Viserys I
Ser Criston Cole twice defeated Daemon in the tourney for King Viserys I's accession in 104 ᴀᴄ. Daemon later asked his brother to set his first marriage aside, but was refused. Daemon served briefly as master of coin from 103 ᴀᴄ until 104 ᴀᴄ and master of laws for six months after that. Governance bored Daemon and the prince's demeanor made him a rival of the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, who could not stand Daemon's presence and had begged King Viserys to remove him from the small council.
Daemon was appointed Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, a position he thrived in and maintained for two years. Daemon inspired loyalty with many of the rank-and-file men of the City Watch, improving their armaments and equipment. He gave every man a golden cloak, which led to the guards becoming known as the gold cloaks. Crime fell sharply under Daemon's command, likely due to his love of inflicting harsh punishments on thieves and cutpurses. Daemon developed a dark reputation in the stews and brothels. He became acquainted with a prostitute named Mysaria who would serve as his mistress of whisperers in the streets of Flea Bottom. While Daemon called himself the "Prince of the City", he became known as "Lord Flea Bottom" among the residents of King's Landing.
Daemon considered himself his brother's heir as Viserys had no living sons, and he coveted the title Prince of Dragonstone, which the king refused to grant. Otto Hightower equally did not want Daemon to follow Viserys and proposed the idea that Viserys's daughter, Rhaenyra, should be named heir. Viserys did not address the issue of inheritance, hoping a future son would settle the issue.
Viserys's first wife, Aemma Arryn, died birthing Baelon Targaryen, Viserys's second son, the first having died in the cradle. Baelon died a day after his birth, however. Daemon was observed in a brothel in the Street of Silk making drunken japes about the "heir for a day". When word of this reached the grieving Viserys, the enraged king had Rhaenyra declared heir in response to his ungrateful brother's apathy. Daemon left the capital in a fury.
On Dragonstone, Daemon impregnated his lover, Mysaria. He wanted to present her with a dragon egg. The angry Viserys demanded that Daemon return the egg and that he return to Rhea in the Vale. Daemon sent Mysaria to Lys, but Mysaria's ship sailed through a storm in the narrow sea and Mysaria lost the child. This hardened Daemon against his brother.
Conquest of the Stepstones
In 106 ᴀᴄ, Daemon led an army to invade the Stepstones in the southern narrow sea, with the support of Lord Corlys Velaryon and his fleet, and with the use of Daemon's dragon, Caraxes. He made many enemies in the Triarchy (Myr, Tyrosh and Lys) during the course of his adventures there. He also made enemies in the Seven Kingdoms, including Ser Otto Hightower and members of House Royce for his disregard for his wife, Rhea.
After conquering all but two of the islands, Daemon declared himself King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea in 109 ᴀᴄ, being crowned by Corlys the Sea Snake. The Triarchy launched a massive fleet under Racallio Ryndoon to retake the isles, and Dorne joined the alliance against Daemon. Bored with ruling his meager kingdom, Daemon returned to the capital of King's Landing in 111 ᴀᴄ during the tourney that gave the greens and the blacks their names. He reconciled with Viserys I Targaryen by offering him his Stepstones crown. Viserys welcomed his brother's return and Daemon was given a seat on the small council.
Neither age or exile had changed Daemon's nature, however. He took up again with old companions in the City Watch and returned to the brothels on the Street of Silk. Daemon was cold with Viserys's second wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, and her children, who had pushed him further down in the line of succession. Daemon spent hours in the company of his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, praising her beauty, enthralling her with tales of his adventures, giving her gifts, and mocking her stepmother and her greens.
Six months after his return, it was rumored that Daemon took Rhaenyra's virginity prior to her sixteenth name day. Lord Lyonel Strong counseled the livid Viserys that Daemon should be executed for treason. Septon Eustace, however, reminded the council about the taint of kinslaying, and Daemon was exiled instead. Daemon returned to Bloodstone in the Stepstones and resumed his struggle over his barren kingdom.
Daemon's wife, Rhea Royce, died from falling from a horse in 115 ᴀᴄ. Daemon departed to the Vale of Arryn to claim Runestone, which had been Rhea's seat, but he was refused by House Royce. Not welcome in the Vale, Daemon turned to Driftmark, where he laid eyes upon the enchanting Laena Velaryon, the beautiful daughter of his friend, Lord Corlys. After killing in a duel Laena's betrothed, the son of the Sealord of Braavos, Daemon asked the Sea Snake for his daughter's hand. While singers say Daemon fell in love with Laena at first sight, others state Daemon married into mighty House Velaryon to check his own descent from power, as he had been pushed far down the line of succession and made many enemies in his adventures.
Because the marriage had been without consent of King Viserys I Targaryen, Daemon and Laena left Westeros, abandoned the Stepstones, and toured the Free Cities. They remained in Pentos for some time when they learned that Laena was pregnant, causing their daughters Baela and Rhaena to be born there in 116 ᴀᴄ. Daemon wrote his brother begging leave to present his daughters to court to receive a royal blessing. The small council advised the king to refuse, but Viserys replied, "Daemon is a father now. He will have changed."
Viserys's daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, was wed to Laena's brother, Ser Laenor Velaryon. While Rhaenrya disliked her stepmother, Queen Alicent Hightower, she became fond of Laena, and the two often rode together on their dragons. With the blessing of King Viserys, Rhaenyra betrothed her two eldest sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys Velaryon, to Baela and Rhaena. Laena died in 120 ᴀᴄ, however, trying to birth Daemon a son who died as well.
In 120 ᴀᴄ Daemon married again, this time to his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. This marriage was performed suddenly without the knowledge of King Viserys I Targaryen, and was scandalous since neither Laena nor Laenor Velaryon, Rhaenyra's previous husband, had been dead for six months. According to Mushroom, it was Daemon who arranged the death of Laenor by paying Ser Qarl Correy to kill him, thus making Rhaenyra available to marry.
Daemon and Rhaenyra had two sons together, Prince Aegon the Younger, born in 120 ᴀᴄ, and Prince Viserys, born in 122 ᴀᴄ. They also had a stillborn daughter, Princess Visenya, whose birth took place in the third month of 129 ᴀᴄ.
The Dance of Dragons
While Viserys I Targaryen had decreed Rhaenyra Targaryen his heir, Ser Criston Cole crowned Queen Alicent Hightower's son, Aegon II Targaryen, after Viserys's death in 129 ᴀᴄ. At the start of the civil war called the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Daemon had more experience in warfare than all their foes combined. During Rhaenyra's rival coronation on Dragonstone, Daemon placed the crown of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen on the head of his wife, proclaiming her queen and claiming himself Protector of the Realm.
Daemon led the assault on Harrenhal, capturing the ruined castle from its castellan, Ser Simon Strong, without conflict by landing Caraxes on top of Kingspyre Tower. After hearing of the death of his stepson, Prince Lucerys Velaryon, at the hands of his nephew, Prince Aemond Targaryen, Daemon, through his spymaster and former mistress Mysaria, hired Blood and Cheese to murder a son of Aegon II.
The enemies made by Daemon during his earlier adventures came back to haunt the blacks when Ser Otto Hightower, now the Hand of the King of Aegon II, recruited the Triarchy to send a fleet against them. The Battle of the Gullet broke the Velaryon blockade of Blackwater Bay and killed Daemon's stepson, Jacaerys.
Daemon abandoned Harrenhal when Aemond and Criston began marching on the great castle with a host of greens. Instead, Daemon flew Caraxes back to King's Landing and assisted Rhaenyra with capturing King's Landing.
While searching for Aemond and Vhagar, who were burning the riverlands, Daemon took Nettles for a bedmate and made their base in Maidenpool. Maester Norren informed Daemon that Queen Rhaenyra wanted Nettles dead, to which Daemon replied, "A queen's words, a whore's work." Daemon thanked the maester for the warning and he and Nettles separated the next morning.
Daemon challenged Aemond, waiting for thirteen days at Harrenhal until Aemond stopped burning the riverlands to come face him. The Battle Above the Gods Eye ended in the deaths of both riders and both dragons. Daemon was forty-nine when he died. Unlike Aemond's body, however, Daemon's was never found. Singers say that Daemon lived to spend the rest of his days in secret with Nettles, but most historians disagree.
Daemon never achieved his ambition and sat on the Iron Throne, though his sons Aegon III and Viserys II eventually did. In 170 ᴀᴄ Princess Daena Targaryen named her bastard son Daemon Waters after her grandfather.
Quotes about Daemon
Over the centuries, House Targaryen has produced both great men and monsters. Prince Daemon was both. In his day there was not a man so admired, so beloved, and so reviled in all Westeros. He was made of light and darkness in equal parts. To some he was a hero, to others the blackest of villains.—writings of Gyldayn
—Viserys I Targaryen to his court
The whore on Dragonstone is not the threat. No more than Rowan and these traitors in the Reach. The danger is my uncle. Once Daemon is dead, all these fools flying our sister's banners will run back to their castles and trouble us no more.
Daemon: Were I not alone, you would not have come.
Aemond: Yet you are, and here I am. You have lived too long, nuncle.
Daemon: On that much we agree.
—writings of Yandel
Prince Daemon, a rogue if there ever was one.
- The Rogue Prince.
- See the Daemon Targaryen calculation.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- So Spake Martin: The Rogues Are Coming... (March 12, 2014)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
- Prince Daemon Targaryen was married to Lady Rhea Royce from 97 ᴀᴄ until 115 ᴀᴄ. He then married Lady Laena Velaryon in 115 ᴀᴄ; their marriage lasted until Laena's death in 120 ᴀᴄ. That same year, Daemon married his niece, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.