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‘Game of Thrones’ prequel ‘House of the Dragon’: Why Princess Rhaenyra secretly married her uncle Daemon Targaryen

It's just the first episode, but the show clearly wants us to think that Daemon is a monster of a man
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon' (IMDb)
Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon' (IMDb)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: In classic George RR Martin fashion, 'House of the Dragon' begins with one generation making the same mistakes as the last. History repeats itself, always and forever. Fans noticed how Targaryens have a shared trait of marrying within their own family in order to keep the ‘blood of the dragons’ pure. Whilst this was done quite frequently within the high kingdom houses, many might not be aware of Princess Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) secret second marriage to her uncle Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).

Before Episode 2 premieres this weekend, let's take a quick look at why Westeros Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen ended up getting married to her uncle Daemon Targaryen in 120 AC, hiding it from her father King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine).

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According to, Princess Rhaenyra’s first husband Ser Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan) died in the year 120 AC along with his sister Lady Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell).

Why Princess Rhaenyra married her uncle Daemon in secret

The siblings Laenor and Laena Velaryon both died in 120 AC, as did Rhaenyra's alleged lover, Breakbones. Rhaenyra then secretly married her uncle, Prince Daemon, the most experienced warrior of his time, at Dragonstone. Septon Eustace claimed the two had wed in secret to prevent Viserys from prohibiting the marriage, while Mushroom suggested that Daemon, aged thirty-nine, had already impregnated the princess, who was then twenty-three. This revelation made Rhaenyra's father enraged. It took some time before Viserys and Daemon reconciled. Rhaenyra's other sons, Prince Aegon and Viserys Targaryen were fathered by Daemon. The news of their wedding caused a great scandal at the court of King's Landing and made Rhaenyra's father livid. It took some time before Viserys and Daemon reconciled.

Jacaerys’s half-brother Aegon was born at the end of the year 120 AC. This got followed by birth of Viserys II in 122 AC.  When compared to their Velaryon half-brothers, Rhaenyra's younger sons looked entirely Targaryen.

King Viserys I Targaryen’s death and ‘Dance of the Dragons’ civil war in 129 AC

When King Viserys I died in the year 129 AC, Rhaenyra had been in Dragonstone awaiting the birth of her sixth child with Daemon. The Greens in King's Landing at House Targaryen made sure that the news of the Viserys's death did not reach Rhaenyra until her own supporters in the Red Keep were either dead or imprisoned till Aegon II's coronation. When this news reached Rhaenyra, she was enraged and went into early labor. She gives birth to a stillborn daughter named Visenya. Rhaenyra blamed this tragedy on the enemies who had stolen her crown.

Princess Rhaenyra had a hastily-arranged coronation of her own. The arrival of Ser Steffon Darklyn of the Kingsguard on Dragonstone along with some other supporters was celebrated. They had brought with them the crown worn by Jaehaerys I and the late King Viserys I. Rhaenyra was crowned as the Queen of Dragonstone with her father's crown by her husband and uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen. When news of her coronation reached King's Landing, she was tried to be forced for giving in her consent to the terms that would let Rhaenyra and her descendants remain, rulers of Dragonstone, if she renounced her claims to the Iron Throne. But already having a strong-willed mind of her own, Rhaenyra refused and also got the intuition that this war was inevitable.