Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.

Expect More of That Good Ol’ Fashioned Targaryen Incest in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2

What's 'Game of Thrones' without a little—ahem—familial bonding?

Since House of the Dragon first premiered in 2022, Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen have shared a special connection that high-key made fans—unfortunately—root for their incestuous relationship. And from the looks of it, season 2 will follow suit.

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I, for one, blame Matt Smith’s absolutely scintillating rizz.

Season 2 of HBO’s hit fantasy drama House of the Dragon is nearly upon us, with the Targaryen Civil War (a.k.a. the Dance of the Dragons) now in full swing. Emma D’Arcy reprises their role as Rhaenyra Targaryen for the new batch of episodes, along with Olivia Cooke, who plays the Princess of Dragonstone’s archenemies, Alicent Hightower. Yeah, it’s about to go down between these ex-BFFs.

Given that House of the Dragon, which is based on George RR Martin’s novel Fire & Blood, takes place in the Game of Thrones universe, it’s not exactly surprising that a series centered around House Targaryen would also explore the family’s long and storied history of inbreeding … okay, scratch that, because it’s still pretty jarring to watch, even if I saw it coming from a mile away.

House of the Dragon dedicates much of its first season to building up the relationship between Daemon (Smith), the brother of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine), and Rhaenyra (played by Milly Alcock in the first few episodes), the heir to the Iron Throne. And yeah, even if you don’t agree with the whole dating your uncle/niece thing, you can’t deny that these two have some serious onscreen chemistry.

Are Daemon and Rhaenyra married? Their complicated relationship timeline, explained

As we saw in season 1, this uncle-niece duo has had a unique bond from the get-go. Things get pretty hot and heavy as Rhaenyra gets, ehm, older (hardly old enough to be appropriate, but I digress), though fate eventually drives them apart. Growing up, Rhaenyra sees Daemon as a confidant of sorts, as he understands her growing frustrations with her father and her obligations to the throne. Plus, my girl is definitely attracted to Daemon, and wants to participate in a little, ahem, stress relief with him, even if he doesn’t allow it to go beyond first base. Being a teenage royal is hard, okay?! It’s hard to say if Daemon shares the same feelings as Rhaenyra, or if he simply sees her as a one-way ticket to the throne. But one some level, the feelings are mutual … or so we think.

While the princess is pretty upfront about her affection for her uncle—with things coming to a head during that steamy brothel scene—Viserys orders his daughter to marry Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan) instead, with Daemon ultimately being banished from the Red Keep. He later weds Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn/Nanna Blondell) after his first wife dies from “falling off a horse” (not sus at all, right?), and the couple goes on to have twin daughters, Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell) and Baela (Bethany Antonia) Targaryen. However, Laena dies in childbirth with their third, leaving Daemon single and ready to mingle—or, in his case, marry his literal niece.

Meanwhile, Rhaenyra and Laenor enjoy a marriage of convenience, with the couple being well aware that they aren’t exactly each other’s types. In fact, the sire of Rhaenyra’s first three sons is actually knight Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), which spurs kingdom-wide rumors that the heirs to the throne are, in fact, illegitimate. Rhaenyra’s sidepiece is eventually killed off, having met his demise in a fire at Harrenhall … the circumstances of which are a bit foggy. Having reconnected with Daemon, Rhaenyra later makes a deal with Laenor, staging his “death” to allow her to finally marry her uncle. The twist? Laenor is still alive, and is merely sent away with his lover, Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan).

At long last, our star-crossed lovers are allowed to marry, and Daemon and Rhaenyra say their “I dos” in the season 1 episode “Driftmark,” taking the blood oath to finally become one. The (very horny) couple pops out a few babies, and lives … kind of happily ever after? Well, not really, but the point here is that Rhaenyra and Daemon are endgame till the bitter end. Just … ignore the startling age gap and the fact that they’re blood related. (I still ship them, I fear.)

From the look of it, Rhaenyra and Daemon’s relationship will be, perhaps, a bit more strained in House of the Dragon‘s sophomore season, with the latter struggling to accept the idea of his wife doubling as his queen. As we well know, these two are both irritatingly stubborn, power-hungry people with their own agendas, which could lead to some tension as they continue to hash it out with royal A-hole King Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) for the crown. War is coming in one way or another—that’s for sure.

Like it or not, viewers will have to fully embrace the incest of it all when House of the Dragon season 2 returns to Max this Sunday, June 16, at 9PM ET/6PM PT.

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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.