Matt Smith Reveals The Secret To Daemon Targaryen's Eternal Youth

Whether you love or hate the time jumps in "House of the Dragon" (and we have opinions), no one can deny the creators' handling of aging has sometimes been confusing to follow. When Emma Darcy and Olivia Cooke took over as Rhaenyra and Alicent, it was a little strange that Fabien Frankel stayed in the role of Ser Criston Cole, and didn't even get a makeup job to add gray hairs and wrinkles. It has also been somewhat difficult to swallow that 28-year-old Cooke is the mother of four children, most of whom are teenagers, even if she did get married at a young age.

But as many times as "House of the Dragon" jumps forward, the weirdest example of incongruous aging continues to be Matt Smith's Daemon Targeryon who — although he was already in his 30s when we encountered him in the first episode — simply refuses to age a single day. 39-year-old Smith (and Fabien Frankel too) have admitted they had no idea how old their characters were supposed to be in their scenes, and in an LA Times interview last Friday, Smith was pressed on Daemon's secret to eternal youth. It turns out his answer is:

"He's always eating his greens. Gets lots of sleep. And doesn't give a flying f***."

As flippant as he might seem, Smith does actually have a point about Daemon's IDGAF attitude explaining other aspects of his character.

An agent of chaos

Daemon's age is not his only ambiguous quality. Throughout this season, we've ping-ponged between loving and hating him depending on the righteousness of his most recent act. As we've argued before, it's okay to root for even the worst characters in "House of the Dragon" given the limited selection of good ones. But Daemon no doubt tested most of us when he inexplicably murdered his wife and callously abandoned Rhaenyra at his favorite brothel.

Since their wedding, Daemon has remained loyal to Rhaenyra. But it's still questionable whether we should get invested in an incestuous and potentially abusive relationship. It's also unclear if Daemon is motivated more by love for Rhaenyra or lust for the Iron Throne. These are the types of questions Smith has purposefully incorporated into his depiction of Daemon. When asked if Daemon is a "full-on sociopath or a lovable rogue," Smith said:

"It depends on what side of the bed he gets out on. I think he's just an agent of chaos in many respects ... I was trying not to be too black and white about him."

Smith says his portrayal of Daemon borrows influence from the "magical realism" genre and specifically the Soviet novel "The Master and Margarita," in which Satan visits an atheistic Russian society disguised as a Professor named Woland and, accompanied by a black cat, a hitman, and a vampire, proceeds to wreak havoc on the elite class and make them believers.

Daemon Targaryen's true intentions

While Smith may not have set the record completely straight about Daemon's ambitions, he challenged the idea that Daemon is not motivated by duty and insisted:

"I think he has a sense of duty to his family, weirdly. I think he'd lie on his sword for his brother or Rhaenyra. He's got a weird moral compass — perverse and strange, but nevertheless, there is a set of laws that he's guided by. Where he feels alive is in that lane of chaos and anxiety and madness. He lives on a knife's edge, all the time."

Being a Dragon rider and all, Daemon is unsurprisingly best understood as a thrill-seeker, but Smith believes at least some of his actions towards his fellow Targaryens should be taken as genuine. Though Smith was reluctant to distinguish between Rhaenyra and Daemon's sincere attraction to one another and their mutual desire for power because "it's never just one thing," he left plenty open to interpretation, adding:

"You're asking me to comment on the relationship, but actually, I don't really think of it in those terms. You just do it and let other people decipher it. It's about giving over to the audience and letting them pick what it is. We're just the vehicles. You can't really have too much of an opinion on someone like Daemon because otherwise you'd never represent him with an even hand, because he does so much bad."

Smith is right to end by reminding us that Daemon is capable of evil. He's done enough wrong for those of us who haven't read "Fire and Blood" to distrust that he will fulfill his obligations to Rhaenyra and their children from multiple marriages. If Daemon doesn't reveal his true colors in tonight's season finale, we should learn more in future seasons.