Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
(HBO)

‘House of the Dragon’ Producer Vastly Underestimated What Matt Smith’s Appeal Would Do to the Internet

Daemon Targaryen is, for the most part, everyone’s favorite character to talk about on House of the Dragon. Or at least he’s my favorite character to talk about. But he has become something of a boyfriend for fans of the series online and for good reason: Matt Smith is playing him. The Doctor Who star brought his charm and allure to Westeros, and we were all instantly goners.

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So, to me, there’s no shock in the obsession that Twitter has for Smith and Daemon. It makes sense. that doesn’t seem to be the case with the creative team, though. The Hollywood Reporter sat down with writer and executive producer Sara Hess and director Clare Kilner to talk about House of the Dragon about the upcoming finale and one of the first questions asked was about Daemon and the internet’s love for him. Hess was the first to talk about how she doesn’t understand the boyfriend-ification of him.

“He’s become Internet Boyfriend in a way that baffles me. 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,” Hess said. “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. What do you think, Clare?”

At least we have an ally in Clare Kilner, who said, “I just love the fact people are so involved with these characters, and I think that’s part of the fun of it. One minute you like someone, and the next minute you like someone else. But I’m not surprised. Matt is such a risk-taker in his performances and he’s got that little smile and, you know … you can’t help it! He is charismatic. People love a baddie. But I don’t think he’s particularly a good father or a good brother.”

But the reality is that they cast Matt Smith as Daemon, so really, what did they expect from us?!

The appeal of Matt Smith

From the beginning, I’ve said that I know he does some bad things. But the show has also changed some of those things and he’s been fine and dandy. In the interview, Hess said that Daemon might do some things in the finale (and into season 2) that will change how the internet views him and frankly? I don’t see that happening. For a couple of reasons.

One: It’s Westeros. He quite literally murdered his wife because he didn’t want to be married to her anymore, and we all collectively agreed that in the grand scheme of things that people in Westeros do to each other, that was a pretty low-ranking offense.

But with season 2, the things he does do in the book still might not be that bad by the rule of the land. Like, again, Jaime Lannister threw a child out of the window in the first episode of Game of Thrones because said child (Bran Stark) saw him sleeping with his twin sister Cersei. And even then, Jaime was everyone’s favorite boy. It happens!

And two: You cast Matt Smith. This is not on me for loving Daemon. It is on the casting department of House of the Dragon. Matt Smith has a way about him that no matter the property he’s in, he’s the one you want to look at and love. Just think about Morbius. (I know, and I’m sorry for making you think about it.) Then, he was the only thing worth watching.

So to be ‘baffled’ by the love for Daemon tells me that Hess was not aware of the internet’s pre-existing obsession with Matt Smith. That or she doesn’t realize how willing we are to excuse murder and the attempted murder of children in Westeros given the rest of this world and the nonsense they’re pulling.

(featured image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.