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Does Daemon love Rhaenyra?


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So, going by the books, it was always open to interpretation the reasons why Daemon and Rhaenyra got married, if there was love or only power interest. In the show, at least by episode 1, trailers and some footage, it seems like there is a lot more nuance in their relationship. I've watched and read some of the interviews the actors and the showrunner gave, and they clearly establish that Daemon loves his family, but loves especially Rhaenyra. The two being the only ones speaking high valyrian is also a mechanism used to show their intimacy, being considered by Matt Smith and Emma D'Arcy their love language — and it works very well.

What do you guys think of this approach and how do you see it developing through the show?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think what you can say is that both love the idea to be married to each other - because it is the traditional incest thing.

Whether they actually love each other or will be able to form a stable relationship remains to be seen. Rhaenyra seems to be much more capable in this regard than Daemon.

But we can definitely say so far that he very much desires her and wants to marry her.

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In the show, I don’t think Daemon is capable of loving anyone except for maybe Viserys. They truly turned him into a villain, murdering his first wife and turning cold to his second. He eventually abandons Rhaenyra in the books, and I expect he’ll do the same in the show.

Daemon is a Valyrian supremacist. In the books, Rhaenyra, Mysaria, and Laena are all Valyrian. On the show, Daemon wants to marry Rhaenyra in a Valyrian ceremony and spends all his free time in Pentos reading about ancient dragonlords. He spends time with Baela, who has a dragon, and ignores Rhaena, who doesn’t. I suspect him falling for Nettles, who is a dragon rider but is also lowborn and plain looking, is supposed to be his redemption. Unfortunately, because this is ASOIAF, “redemption” means a 50-year-old man falling for a teenage girl.

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book-Daemon could love Rhaenyra . book Daemon has the potential to be more than lust for throne considering instead of letting Laena die and going straight to Rhaenyra , tries to stop her death , later never does anything to undermine Rhaenyra's authority , proposes a dragon free defiance early in the dance and goes back to Vale according to Viserys's orders and does NOT kill his wife . 

show-Daemon seems like a sociopath who's not capable of love . even his love for his brother is an obsession for attention which is plain when (according to showrunners ) takes Rhaenyra to a brothel to get back at Viserys . he certainly wants Rhaenyra but he wants her as a full package of Valyrian fantasy. he wants to rule with her , have dragon children and fly into the sky . seemingly he can perform better in bed with dragon ladies and is obsessed with being a dragonlord that everyone obeys unconditionally . he'll probably be attracted to Nettles because she'll be the new dragonriding lady available who's bold and keen for adventure , while his wife has more serious matters to attend to and thus in Daemon's eyes has become boring. 

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1 hour ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

For what it's worth, Matt Smith did say that Daemon loves his brother.

I've always thought that the one person Daemon would not betray was his brother.  He would annoy him, be rude to him, be a thorn in his side; but Daemon emotionally needs Viserys and craves Viserys' approval and attention.

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On 9/27/2022 at 5:02 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

In the show, I don’t think Daemon is capable of loving anyone except for maybe Viserys. They truly turned him into a villain, murdering his first wife and turning cold to his second. He eventually abandons Rhaenyra in the books, and I expect he’ll do the same in the show.

Well, we don't know how warm the Laena-Daemon relationship was in book and show, since they don't exactly focus much on that one.

Could have been a marriage from convenience from the start.

Daemon not abandoning Rhaenyra would be a massive change, they are not all that likely to do that. But they have to make it sense, anyway.

On 9/27/2022 at 5:02 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

Daemon is a Valyrian supremacist. In the books, Rhaenyra, Mysaria, and Laena are all Valyrian. On the show, Daemon wants to marry Rhaenyra in a Valyrian ceremony and spends all his free time in Pentos reading about ancient dragonlords. He spends time with Baela, who has a dragon, and ignores Rhaena, who doesn’t. I suspect him falling for Nettles, who is a dragon rider but is also lowborn and plain looking, is supposed to be his redemption. Unfortunately, because this is ASOIAF, “redemption” means a 50-year-old man falling for a teenage girl.

Cannot really wrap my head around this one being a romance. After all, he abandons her, too, in the end. Daemon's end is a depression arc, not a redemption arc. Him having enough of stuff - something that was already hinted at in episode 6 and, in a lesser sense, back in episode 5 at Mysaria's and in his reaction to Viserys; even in episode 3 you see this with his mad charge - isn't the same as him craving or getting redemption. Aemond has done nothing to him, personally, that we are aware of, and we can all be pretty sure that Luke is not going to be his favorite stepson.

The idea that she is his daughter or another close relation is still the best guess, in my opinion. The show didn't establish how long they were in Essos or why they went there, so perhaps Nettles origin story could involve Daemon and Laena falling in with some woman, them having fun together, it ended badly and Daemon, knowing she was pregnant, dumped her and moved on. Alternatively, of course, he could have chanced on Nettles' mother while vying for Laena's hand on Driftmark prior to him and Laena leaving.

Another alternative could be that Nettles is actually Viserys's daughter, fathered on some nurse he got close to in the years prior to this episode. Say, Alicent went for an extended visit to Oldtown when Daeron moved there, so Viserys was lonely at home. Upon her return Alicent pretty much destroyed that woman and her (unborn) daughter.

Addam and Alyn may actually be Laenor's sons in the show, since they introduced that he really tried developing a taste for women there. They would then both be somewhat older than Jace, but that wouldn't be a problem (when they are legitimized he is the Prince of Dragonstone and no longer in line to inherit Driftmark). They could make them non-identical twins in the show, so that Marilda wasn't impregnated by Laenor two times.

By the way - one could also ponder whether Laenor was the father of at least Addam in the book. He is the one who gets a dragon, Alyn does not. Corlys could actually have set up Laenor with Marilda in an attempt to get him to lie with Rhaenyra, developing a taste for her himself in the process of it.

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I don't think Daemon abandons Rhaenyra unless you take "suicide by taking out her strongest opponent" to be abandonment. He doesn't turn cloak, he just chooses a route that prevents him from being party to killing Nettles and betraying Rhaenyra. He was put in an impossible choice and chose the one that allowed him to die with dignity as well as avoid betraying either woman.

Quote

Addam and Alyn may actually be Laenor's sons in the show, since they introduced that he really tried developing a taste for women there. They would then both be somewhat older than Jace, but that wouldn't be a problem (when they are legitimized he is the Prince of Dragonstone and no longer in line to inherit Driftmark). They could make them non-identical twins in the show, so that Marilda wasn't impregnated by Laenor two times.

I always felt it was possible that Laenor was the sire of the bastards as it was a weird decision to try to pass off Cory's children as Laenors since there's no reason not to say they're his bastards save as a bizarre post-mortem attempt at saving face.

Book Renly, for example, unlike Show Renly says that he's quite capable of siring an heir even if it's not his preference.

But I suspect we'll find out that Show Laenor is sterile to give him something of an out.

Edited by C.T. Phipps
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On 9/29/2022 at 3:50 AM, Lord Varys said:

Well, we don't know how warm the Laena-Daemon relationship was in book and show, since they don't exactly focus much on that one.

Could have been a marriage from convenience from the start.

Daemon not abandoning Rhaenyra would be a massive change, they are not all that likely to do that. But they have to make it sense, anyway.

Cannot really wrap my head around this one being a romance. After all, he abandons her, too

He doesn't abandon either of them imo. 

He had the choice to abandon one or the other but instead saves Nettles' life and dies fighting Rhaenyra's most powerful opponent. There is zero indication he had any suicidal tendencies in the book before that letter that was forcing him to choose between his wife and Nettles. Rhaenyra put him in an impossible situation. If he had no loyalty to her or his family he'd have just flown across the narrow sea with Nettles and left everything behind. 

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7 hours ago, TeethGrinder said:

He doesn't abandon either of them imo. 

He had the choice to abandon one or the other but instead saves Nettles' life and dies fighting Rhaenyra's most powerful opponent. There is zero indication he had any suicidal tendencies in the book before that letter that was forcing him to choose between his wife and Nettles. Rhaenyra put him in an impossible situation. If he had no loyalty to her or his family he'd have just flown across the narrow sea with Nettles and left everything behind. 

He does.

He leaves Nettles to fend for herself, resulting for her to live what we could only call a miserable life in the Mountains of the Moon.

Rhaenyra commanded Daemon to return to KL (or to be more precise, that Lord Mooton return him to her because she has 'urgent need of him'). The capital was under threat by the Hightower army, including the queen's person and her and Daemon's only surviving son (as far as they knew).

Aemond was not Rhaenyra's most powerful opponent. He could have been but he chose to terrorize the Riverlands, taking himself out of the military game. The book even points out that the real danger to Rhaenyra's reign was the Hightower army, even more so after the betrayal of Tumbleton, for obvious reasons.

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On 9/30/2022 at 5:47 PM, Lord Varys said:

He does.

He leaves Nettles to fend for herself, resulting for her to live what we could only call a miserable life in the Mountains of the Moon.

Rhaenyra commanded Daemon to return to KL (or to be more precise, that Lord Mooton return him to her because she has 'urgent need of him'). The capital was under threat by the Hightower army, including the queen's person and her and Daemon's only surviving son (as far as they knew).

Aemond was not Rhaenyra's most powerful opponent. He could have been but he chose to terrorize the Riverlands, taking himself out of the military game. The book even points out that the real danger to Rhaenyra's reign was the Hightower army, even more so after the betrayal of Tumbleton, for obvious reasons.

He defies his wife and queen in order to save Nettles while also finishing what he was sent to do. They were sent to fight Vhagar as it was, there was every chance one or both of them weren't coming back from that fight alive anyway. And she did not have to "fend for herself" - She was one of the last dragon riders and according to some reports was literally worshipped. 

Aemond is absolutely the most powerful opponent, even if not the most imminent threat. Had Daemon and Nettles ran off together then Aemond and Vhagar take power if and when they want. There would be nothing to oppose them. He had to be dealt with one way or the other - For either Nettles or Rhaenyra to be safe. 

What do you suggest Daemon should have done? 

Edited by TeethGrinder
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