Matt Smith Has Become The King Of The Reaction Shots On House Of The Dragon

Matt Smith arrives in every episode of "House of the Dragon," says about three badass lines, glares at a bunch of people, sarcastically sighs and giggles, commits a murder or two, and then leaves. But somehow, he still manages to be the highlight of every episode. You anticipate his next move and find yourself asking, "How will Daemon react?" to everything. Even when he's not on the screen, you wonder where he is and what he's doing. Is this because of the hold Daemon Targaryen has on us as a morally grey character, or is it because Matt Smith has sunk his teeth into this rogue Targaryen's very psyche and studied him to a tee? Is it both?

Realistically, Daemon Targaryen's character has more screen time than he does dialogue. In "Lord of the Tides," the eighth episode of the series, Daemon has limited things to say. One — he expresses excitement about his wife's dragon Syrax laying three dragon eggs. Two — he discusses Vaemond Velaryon's claim to the Driftwood throne with Rhaenyra. Three — he persuades his brother's rotting corpse to name his stepson heir of Driftmark. Four — he taunts Alicent Hightower for not extending her greeting when his family arrived on King's Landing. And five — he threatens Vaemond to spell out his accusation concerning the legitimacy of Rhaenyra's sons, after which he proceeds to commit murder. That's about it. That's our badass.

Meet Daemon f*** around and find out Targaryen

Eight episodes have passed and the first season of "House of the Dragon" has nearly come to an end. Matt Smith's Daemon Targaryen is imperative to the show's narrative: he's the king's brother, Rhaenyra's uncle and royal consort, and the badass stepdad of her children. He is also a man of few words — Daemon rarely has much to say. His eyes alone convey impending danger, and his acts of violence speak for themselves. 

When it comes to his family, he's a dangerous, dangerous man, but he's also happy to sit by his wife's side and simply shake his head in exasperation. He watches from the sidelines, but he's very much the center of every major conflict, despite much of his contribution to said major events being communicated in either two words or witnessed through a sly smile. This also makes Daemon stellar meme material — "House of the Dragon" fans are having a field day on Twitter, picking out Daemon's best expressions, making him 10 times popular than he already is. It's very king-like behavior, to command an audience's full attention without words.

Matt Smith has impeccable range

Matt Smith's performance is one for the ages because, as Daemon, he craves and relishes chaos and control both — almost in a way that is mutually exclusive. He walks into a room wearing his cloak of armor — what fans like to refer to as intense big dick energy, and he's indecipherable from the get-go. He's contemplative, which is rarely seen in such characters — Daemon does seem to think twice about the consequences his actions could bring, but then he does it anyway. And it's incredible every time because so much of Matt Smith's brilliance comes from the fact that he can express leagues with just his facial expressions.

Matt Smith has impeccable range as Daemon, which comes as no surprise to us "Doctor Who" enthusiasts who knew that already. One second he's looking like an absolute male-wife, obsessed with Rhaenyra and the fact that he has three dragon eggs to take back to her, next he's miserably looking at his brother, and third, he commits a very public murder before every Targaryen, Hightower, and Velaryon that matters, and as expected, faces no consequences for it. Nobody is doing it like Daemon.

A man, a myth, a legend

When Alicent and Viserys' son Aemond raises a toast, albeit dubiously, to subtly question the legitimacy of Rhaenyra's children, Daemon stops a fight from breaking out with a simple look in his eyes. He steps close to Jace, in turn causing him to take a step back, and then steps toward Aemond as if to say "give me a reason not to decapitate you like I did Vaemond Velaryon a few hours ago." His footsteps induce terror. His eyes are impossible to look into. The scene is breathtaking — Daemon knows he doesn't need words to convey how he can be a danger to others, which in a room full of powerful people, is the most powerful weapon to possess. 

Imagine being so cool, you're feared before you have a chance to induce fear with words: a single look is enough. Swords and shields will come in handy in the inevitable dance of dragons, but only this kind of badassery will make your enemy think twice. Personally, I hope this continues; it's rather mesmerizing to see a fantasy character ooze that kind of authority. Daemon, you really do say it best when you say nothing at all.