[Note: This article contains spoilers for House Of The Dragon episodes 1 through 9. Read on with caution!]
There’s just something about... incest? Despite his devious, murderous, smooching-his-niece-in-a-brothel ways, the internet cannot seem to get enough of House Of The Dragon’s Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith. The wayward younger brother of King Viserys, Daemon is quick to dispose of an enemy or inconvenient friend. But despite episode after episode of unsavory actions, the Daemon fancams (and fanfare) just keep coming.
It’s something that House Of The Dragon writer and executive producer is personally a little confused by. Sure, Daemon may have helped a stumbling, ailing King Viserys up the stairs to the throne in HOTD’s most recent episode. But even if that makes Daemon respectable by Westeros standards, is that really enough to warrant a drool-worthy boyfriend in real life? Especially after that whole incident in the Vale?
“He’s become Internet Boyfriend in a way that baffles me,” writer Sara Hess tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Not that Matt isn’t incredibly charismatic and wonderful, and he’s incredible in the role. But Daemon himself is … I don’t want him to be my boyfriend! I’m a little baffled how they’re all, ‘Oh, daddy!’ And I’m just like: ‘Really?’ How—in what way—was he a good partner, father or brother—to anybody? You got me. He ain’t Paul Rudd.”
Clare Kilner, who directed House Of The Dragon episode 9, is slightly more sympathetic to the swooning, and is at the very least “not surprised. “After all, as Kilner perfectly elucidates: “People love a baddie.”
“Matt is such a risk-taker in his performances and he’s got that little smile and, you know … you can’t help it,” Kilner says.
“Can’t help it” seems to be the main operating phrase there, as Kilner does emphasize that she doesn’t see many redeeming qualities of the moral variety in Daemon.
“He is charismatic,” she adds. “But I don’t think he’s particularly a good father or a good brother.”
Read The A.V. Club’s interview with Clare Kilner here.