Prince Daemon Targaryen was the uncle and husband of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, whose claim he supported in the Dance of the Dragons. He was Rhaenyra's second husband, following Laenor Velaryon, and she was his third wife. He was a younger son of Baelon Targaryen, and brother to Viserys I. Prince Daemon was the most experienced warrior of his time and wielded the Valyrian steelblade Dark Sister. In addition, he was considered one of the most dangerous men in the Seven Kingdoms in his day, a dragonrider whose dragon was Caraxes.
Appearance and Personality
Daemon was tall and powerful, with the classical silver hair and violet eyes of his house. An unparalleled battle commander and seasoned warrior, Daemon wielded Dark Sister and was a frightening opponent. He was ruthless, cruel, proud, charismatic, violent, capricious, defiant and dangerous, easily resorting to combat and waging a personal war in the Stepstones with intent to root out a kingdom of his own, though it was well known that he personally desired the Iron Throne. Daemon was a ferociously daring young man, going so far as to ride a dragon without fastening himself to it, and relied as much on cunning as on skill in combat, both of which he had in spades. Daemon was a womaniser, a warrior, an adventurer, a commander, a schemer and a self-proclaimed conqueror, who constantly fought with his elder brother and antithesis King Viserys. In fact, he was so quarrelsome that he made enemies as easily as an eye's blink; ranging from the scheming Otto Hightower, to the proud Royces, to the young and rash Aemond Targaryen, his nephew.
Even when put in positions of power, Daemon was a passionate sadist and easy to violence - in fact, he delighted in meting out bloody and savage punishments in his capacity as commander of the City Watch, killing several men in brawls and inspiring terror wherever he roamed in the city. His gruesome punishments were ones he often carried out personally. A man with prodigious appetites, he sampled multiple whores and had a liking to deflowering maidens. Despite this, he brought experience to his position, and ensured his men were better armed and trained when he rose to command; even during the Dance that split Westeros apart, his men respected him tremendously. He was considered widely to be the most dangerous ally of the blacks, equivalent to the younger and more brash Prince Aemond Targaryen. However, Aemond paled to the more cunning, more wrathful and far more experienced Daemon.
Daemon was extremely arrogant and particularly callous in nature, completely aware of his powers and unapologetic about his misdeeds throughout his life. He jested about his brother's dead son once, drunkenly calling him 'heir for a day', and callously insulted his own first wife as unattractive. Daemon's desire for the Iron Throne terrified and unsettled others, and many believed he would have been a worse ruler than King Maegor before him. Daemon was at least loyal to Rhaenyra.
Daemon's early life was written about by Archmaester Gyldayn in The Rogue Prince, or, the King’s Brother. He was recognised early on as one of the deadliest swordsmen House Targaryen had ever produced, and given Dark Sister itself by King Jaehaerys I Targaryen personally. Daemon was a forceful, passionate and dangerous man even as a boy. Since his youth, Prince Daemon's face was familiar to every cut-purse, whore, and gambler in Flea Bottom.
He was married to Rhea Royce, and thus moved to the Vale, but unfortunately Daemon despised both his wife and her home. In the Great Council of 101 AC, he amassed an army to support his older brother Prince Viserys' claim to the throne, when it was rumoured that Corlys Velaryon was amassing a navy for the same purpose with his son Laenor. His ulterior motives for this were that, if Viserys were to sit on the Iron Throne, Daemon himself would have a stronger claim to it.
He once served as Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing and inspired loyalty with many of the rank-and-file gold cloaks. He made countless enemies at court, including the grasping and ambitious Otto Hightower, Hand of the King, with whom he had a bitter rivalry. However, Daemon served skilfully commanding the City Watch, though very bloodily.
Daemon coveted the Iron Throne his whole life, but eventually left Westeros to create his own kingdom. Daemon fought in the Stepstones with Caraxes and made many enemies in Myr, Tyrosh and Lys (the Kingdom of the Three Daughters) during the course of his adventures. Styling himself King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, Daemon faced constant and ferocious opposition, and he soon grew tired of the wars that he sought out, returning to Westeros. He maintained contact with his allies from the Stepstones and cemented his reputation as a warlike and dangerous man, as if it were still in any doubt.
Prince Daemon had twin girls, Baela Targaryen and Rhaena Targaryen, by his second wife, Laena Velaryon. He and his third wife, Princess Rhaenyra, had two sons together, the future Aegon III and Viserys II, and a stillborn daughter, Visenya.
The Dance of Dragons
By the time of the civil war called the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Daemon had more experience in warfare than all their foes combined. During Rhaenyra's coronation on Dragonstone, Prince Daemon placed the crown of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen crown on the head of his wife, proclaiming her queen and claiming for himself the style Protector of the Realm.
Daemon captured Harrenhal from its castellan, Ser Simon Strong, without conflict by landing Caraxes on top of Kingspyre Tower. After hearing of the death of his step-son, Prince Lucerys Velaryon, at the hands of his nephew Prince Aemond Targaryen, Daemon, through a go-between, hired Blood and Cheese to murder a son of King Aegon II Targaryen.
The prince's enemies made during his adventures came back to haunt the blacks when Ser Otto Hightower, now the Hand of Aegon II, was able to recruit the Kingdom of the Three Daughters to send a fleet against them, breaking the Velaryon blockade and killing his stepson Jace.
Daemon abandoned the great castle of Harrenhal when Aemond and Ser Criston Cole began marching on Harrenhal. Instead, Daemon flew Caraxes back to King's Landing and assisted Rhaenyra with capturing King's Landing.
While searching for Aemond and Vhagar, who were burning the Riverlands, Daemon took Nettles for a bedmate and made their base in Maidenpool. Maester Norren informed them that Queen Rhaenyra wanted Nettles dead. Daemon and Nettles separated the next morning.
Daemon challenged Aemond, waiting for 13 days at Harrenhal until Aemond stopped burning the Riverlands to come face him. The duel that became known as the Dance over Harrenhal ended in the deaths of both riders and both dragons over the God's Eye. Daemon was 49 when he died. Unlike Aemond's body, however, Daemon's was never found. Singers say that Daemon lived to spend the rest of his days in secret with Nettles, but most historians disagree.