Daemon’s House of the Dragon arc is patterned after a pivotal Targaryen tyrant

During Daenerys Targaryen’s rise to power game of Thrones, the ghost of her father, the Mad King Ariz, has grown up. Over the course of the series, as Daenerys experiences failures and successes in her quest for the Iron Throne, a number of characters, from Bariston Selmy to Tyrion Lannister to Varys to Jon Snow, question whether she will ultimately demonstrate greatness. or succumb to genetically predetermined insanity. of his line.

Similarly, dragon house Uses the memory of a former king known for his cruelty and cruelty to inform the characterization of one of its central characters, Prince Damon. The repeated invocations of King Magor the Cruel in relation to Damon throughout the series are no accident. But who exactly was Maegor the Cruel, and what is the show trying to say about Damon by creating this link between the two?

hatred on the iron throne

Damon holding his sword next to a white flag on a battlefield, shot at a distance

Photo: Ollie Upton / HBO

Magor the Cruel was the son of Aegon the Conqueror and the third Targaryen ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Like his descendant Damon, he was a second son, his older half-brother Aeneas being the heir to the throne of Aegon. Where Anise took over the cerebral quest, Magor was more of a jock. When he turned 13, his mother Visenya gifted him her Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister, and at the age of 16 he was knighted by his father, making him the youngest knight in the realm at the time .

Despite their different tendencies, Aeneas and Megor got along quite well. When Aegon died, Aeneas told his brother, “We will rule this region together, you and I,” but in practice, Aeneas alone was crowned. Magor helped his brother (brutally) crush several rebellions and was named the King’s Hand. Nevertheless, the brothers separated over a marriage. After 13 childless years with Ceryse Hightower, Maegor decided to take a second wife, an act that so opposed the Seven’s faith and so upset the common people that King Aenys gave him an ultimatum: to give his second wife. Set aside, or go into exile. Megor chose exile.

When Aeneas died suddenly, he returned, but instead of kneeling to Aegon, the nephew of Aeneas, Aeneas’s successor, Megor, claimed the Iron Throne for himself. Eventually, Aegon begins to gather forces to quell his claim, prompting Magor to meet in battle over Balerian the Black Dread – the largest of the Targaryen dragons in Westeros. He killed his relatives (and the true heir to the Iron Throne), earning him a black mark as “Magor the Cruel” as well as a Kinslayer, who was considered one of the most cursed and degrading things in Westeros. . Happen.

Magor’s conflict with the Church and his capacity for cruelty escalated when he took a third wife, leading to a religious rebellion led by the Sons of the Warrior and the Faith Militant (the Church’s military weapon). The rebellion ended when Magor used Dragon Fire to burn the September of Remembrance and everyone inside it. He then ordered the construction of the dragonpit where the church once stood. Among other construction-based atrocities, Megor celebrated the completion of the Red Keep, throwing a huge three-day feast for all who worked on its construction; When the feast was over, he killed all the workers to ensure that he would be the only one who would have full knowledge of its many hidden chambers and secret passages.

Magor’s reign of six years and 66 days came to an end when his gruesome and mysterious death launched one of the great urban legends of the Seven Kingdoms. It ceased to exist, covered in blood.

Magor Reincarnation

Damon stands at the entrance of the Great Hall with his sword on his hand and an ax and a crown of bone

Photo: Ollie Upton / HBO

Just as the Mad King hovers over Daenerys game of ThronesMaegor is cast as a comp for Prince Damon, both obvious and subtle. dragon house, In Episode 1, Otto Hightower openly warns that naming the Demon heir is giving the area another Magor the Cruel. Much of the emotion comes from Otto running his long game to gain control of the line of succession, but it’s the kernels of truth that underpin the comparison that help it resonate.

Like Magor, Damon is a second son, and like Magor, his claim to the throne is usurped by his brother’s child. Both protected the Dark Sister. Both achieved military fame and glory fighting pirates at the Stepstones. Both are considered warriors compared to their more bookish brethren. And both of them were expelled from the country by their king brothers because of their crimes. But despite Otto’s claim, Maegor remains as the worst-case scenario for Daemon’s progress, which is a reflection of when he dragon house to start.

By episode 2, however, Damon is fuming in comparison to his own ends: exiled from court, sitting on Dragonstone, desperate for his brother’s attention, he hatches a dragon egg through a woman for his unborn child. steals, announcing that he intends to marry – despite the fact that he is already married to a different woman. While it is the dragon’s egg that eventually lights the spark under Viserys, Damon’s (ultimately false) announcement of his intention to take a second wife immediately recalls Maegor’s history with polygamy and the way in which to marry and then Her desire to marry led to significant conflicts with churches and tremendous bloodshed throughout the region. The stalemate in Dragonstone represents the daemon, arguably his most Magor-like ever.

A screenshot of HBO's House of the Dragon.  Rainera is holding her arms behind her back and looking at Damon, who is holding her hand to inspect the necklace she is wearing.

Photo: Ollie Upton / HBO

whereas dragon house Amplifying the Maegor/Daemon comparison – the Dragonstone standoff is almost entirely a creation of the show, a quick one aside that adds to the heightened drama and cinematic panache fire and blood – Showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik are finally picking up on what George R.R. Martin has put forth, as the similarities between Magor and Damon come from the text of the book itself. Like the showrunners, Martin clearly wants readers to hold Magor in their minds as they read about Damon (and readers of) fire and blood With Otto Hightower and the rest of the area to worry about Damon leaning too far in comparison to that.

Thankfully, Renera is able to defuse the situation in Episode 2 — and Damon proves to be better than his great-grandfather when he doesn’t kill his niece, who is above him in the line of succession. In episode 4, Damon returns to court and patches things up with Viserys, only to be kicked out again after nearly hooking up with Rainera (important to note: one of Maegor’s six wives is his. niece). But Damon Targaryen’s story isn’t over, and as he dives deeper into the Dance of the Dragons, the ghost of Maegor will haunt him.

Just like the narrative tension generated by the question of how Daenerys’ coin will land, dragon house Invoking the memory of the cruelest Targaryen ruler to tease out the worst-case scenario for Damon’s character arc.

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