House of The Dragon Showrunner Doesn’t Understand Why Fans Like One Character

House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal is confused about fans' love for Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith.

By Joshua Jones | Published

House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal was shocked when he heard of the response for Matt Smith’s character Daemon Targaryen. During an interview with The New York Times (via AV Club), Condal discussed finishing the Games of Thrones spin-off and viewers’ affinity for the prince. Condal stated that he has “trouble understanding it” and said the creators tried establishing him as a “fascinating guy” as opposed to Sean Bean’s Ned Stark.

The overwhelming popularity of House of the Dragon is palpable, with the show having earned an average of 29 million viewers for each episode in season one. After the audience gained interest in the first episode, a growing contingent group began falling in love with the dastardly Daemon Targaryen. The younger brother of King Viserys, Targaryen was quick to dispose of an enemy or friend and established himself quickly as an anti-hero.

house of the dragon
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon

Despite everything Targaryen had committed in House of the Dragon, fans started to swoon over him. House of the Dragon’s writer and executive producer Sara Hess told The Hollywood Reporter that regardless of the devious acts, Targaryen had become the “internet’s boyfriend in many ways.” While the revelation certainly shocked some of the writers on the show, Clare Kilner, who directed episode 9, wasn’t all too surprised by the sympathetic response from fans, saying, “people love a baddie.”

Condal isn’t falling for it, calling Targaryen the true “antihero” in House of the Dragon and saying that his character has “real darkness to him.” While he figured “people would latch on” to Targaryen the same way they did with Jamie Lannister or the Red Viper, he didn’t think the fanbase would try to justify every dastardly act he committed on the show. To Condal, there is no justifying what Targaryen has done and that he’s not a hero.

Of course, the charismatic quality to Matt Smith’s performance as Targaryen in House of the Dragon could’ve enraptured many fans. The actor is obviously one of the true standouts of season one and has provided true star power to the show. Understandably, his charm and presence made people believe that he was the heroic one.

Regardless, House of the Dragon continues to be one of the most talked about television shows. The first season generally received positive reviews from critics who praised the show’s character development, writing, music, and performances from Paddy Considine and Matt Smith. House of the Dragon did suffer some criticism for its pacing and frequent time jumps.

The popularity and love for Matt Smith’s Targaryen in House of the Dragon is fascinating, considering the character has done many questionable things. Despite that, fans have continued to back him and even questioned whether he was given fewer lines with each episode. Smith’s fans even called out the production for giving Targaryen less time to shine.

Over 10 million viewers watched House of the Dragon’s premiere. With so many people on board, there’s no telling how many records the next season will end up breaking. Filming for House of the Dragon season 2 begins sometime in 2023.