Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO Milly Alcock, Matt Smith HBO House of the Dragon Season 1 - Episode 4

The Internet Is Coming to Terms With Shipping Daemon and Rhaenyra on ‘House of the Dragon’

So you find yourself shipping Rhaenyra and Daemon and you’re questioning your morals. We’ve all been there. As we get further into HBO’s House of the Dragon, more and more people are coming around to the idea that Daemon and Rhaenyra are actually fine together, and while that can (and should) give you the ick, it is fine to ship it in the fictional sense. Let’s talk about it a little.

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First of all, this is a fantasy show and it is part of a universe in which incest is a bit of the norm. For the Targaryens alone, their line is filled with incest and siblings married to each other, and the only reason Daemon and Rhaenyra weren’t encouraged in their endeavors at first was because he was married to someone else. So, that’s just a little bit of information to set the tone so you don’t feel as guilty.

Second, they really are made for each other in the sense of how the two work together where they didn’t work in their previous relationships. Both Rhaenyra and Daemon were married to other people, and it didn’t work out at any turn. The happiest Daemon seemed to be was when he was with Laena Velaryon until she died in childbirth, but he even admitted that they got along but it wasn’t love.

The two understand the level of comfort they need with each other, and while we, as a society, don’t get it (because listen, no one I know wants to make out with their family), that doesn’t mean, in a fictional setting, that it isn’t something that people are going to become fascinated by.

Social media loves it

Rhaenyra and Daemon making out in House of the Dragon

My favorite part of the journey with Daemon and Rhaenyra has been the acceptance that has happened online. After the first few weeks of the series, there was the typical “Ew it’s so gross shipping them together,” and then as it has progressed, the conversation has shifted to “Okay it’s Game of Thrones, this is fine,” and honestly, it’s really fun to see play out.

In episode 9, we didn’t get Rhaenyra or Daemon, but we did get Alicent Hightower showing Larys Strong her feet in exchange for information, and the response online (especially on TikTok) has been to share how grossed out they were by the feet aspect of the story in contrast to how they’ve come around on the incest.

Probably the problem with this ship is that they truly and honestly love each other which is so rare in Westeros and when it does happen, it usually ends badly. So seeing them happy and relatively successful in their marriage and family? It feels nice! Even though they are uncle/husband and niece/wife.

And a couple who does crime together stays together. (Right? I don’t know what season 2 holds but I am afraid.)

All this to say that this is fine and shipping Daemon and Rhaenyra isn’t going to give you cosmic backlash. What it will do is probably set you up for pain where Westeros is concerned but hey, you’re the one who is watching a show from the world of Game of Thrones. You should know that pain is imminent.

(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 current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.