House Of The Dragon's Matt Smith Explains How His Character Justifies His Actions In Violent, Visceral King’s Landing Scene

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon.
(Image credit: HBO)

This article is dark and full of spoilers. Be forewarned if you haven't seen the House of the Dragon premiere yet.

Game of Thrones has a reputation for its gory, violent and quite frankly terrifying scenes. The premiere of HBO’s newest show House of the Dragon lived up to its predecessor’s violent legacy. From a jousting tournament to the intense, bloody and brutal birth scene to the Gold Cloak's attack on King’s Landing, blood has been shed all over the place. And in two of these three instances, the blood was at the hands of Matt Smith’s character Daemon Targaryen. 

In the premiere, Daemon leads the Gold Cloaks through King’s Landing to punish those who have committed crimes. However, that punishment is much, much worse than the crimes committed. They chop off the limbs of some and decapitate others for their wrongdoings. Dear viewer, we see it all, it’s scary, and gross, and in a modern court of law would not be justifiable to a reasonable person. 

If you saw Episode 1, I'm sure this scene stuck out to you. However, believe it or not, Smith told the New York Times that Daemon has his own moral compass that justifies his actions. 

He thinks he’s going out and purging the city of crime [laughs], albeit in a very nasty manner. But in his head, there is a degree of sense to it. I think. Or isn’t there? I don’t know. This is the great thing about Daemon: You just don’t know. Is he doing it in pursuit of good things? Is he doing it to cause chaos? It’s a bit of both, probably. It always is, and that’s so interesting about him.

Daemon Targaryen, prince of Westeros and brother to King Viserys Targaryen, will be the wild card moving through this first season of House of the Dragon. He makes erratic decisions and clearly cares most about himself and his own power. Yet, there are moments where his loyalty shines through, especially when it comes to his brother and niece. Smith said that his character genuinely believes that what he is doing is the right thing. 

Also in the premiere of the show, Daemon is shown having sex in a brothel, and I doubt this will be the last time we see it because Matt Smith said he was questioning the sex scenes throughout Season 1. However, it is important to note that this show should be less triggering than Game of Thrones when it comes to how sex is shown. According to writer and executive producer Sara Hess there will be no sexual violence depicted on the show. 

House of the Dragon has already made HBO history by bringing in the most viewers ever for an HBO premiere and things are just getting started. We better buckle up and hold on tight because Matt Smith has said this season could get chaotic, which should be taken seriously coming from one of the most chaotic characters on the show. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.