Matt Smith Didn't Come Away From His House Of The Dragon Stunts Unscathed

Matt Smith won genre fans over during his tenure as the Eleventh Doctor in "Doctor Who," with his lovable quirks endearing him to a generation of sci-fi adventure fantasy fans. And yet, now we see him in "House of the Dragon" as the scorned and scene-stealing Daemon Targaryen, the "rogue prince" of the new HBO series based on George R.R. Martin's works. As the Targaryens head towards an inevitable familial civil war over the Iron Throne, Daemon has no problem leaning into his reputation as a power-hungry brute armed with poor decision making and snappy clapbacks.

After just two episodes, Smith has proven to be one of the stand-out performers on the series, despite  resistance from fans who couldn't imagine Smith successfully portraying King Viserys I's s***-heel of a little brother. Fortunately, the creatives behind "House of the Dragon" knew he was the perfect fit, and all of us now get to enjoy his sure-to-be Emmy nominated performance.

"On the page, Daemon could really be one thing," Smith told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was always interested in trying to subvert it a little into something else." The actor continued, "I think there's a sort of strange, sensitive nature to Daemon and quite a genuine loyalty to him and humanistic qualities that you can peel away and see," which is something audiences definitely had a chance to experience after the second episode of the season. Smith is fighting an uphill battle as he shakes off his "Doctor Who" persona in favor of Daemon Targaryen, but that's not the only difficulty he had to overcome on set.

Transforming into a Targaryen is treacherous work

THR noted that they conducted their interview with Smith by phone, as he was on his way to physical therapy, months after the season had wrapped. He was put through the wringer not only from an emotional and dramatic standpoint, but physically as well. As it turns out, Smith suffered a major injury to a disc in his neck during production after performing a stunt. "It's a f****** pain in the neck — literally, physically and metaphorically," he said. Smith allegedly pushed through the filming despite his pain, which likely exacerbated the injury sustained while shooting in Portugal.

Smith has definitely shown off some physical stunt work in the first few episodes, but as things progress further on "House of the Dragon," it's exciting to know that there's more action from him to come. We know from GRRM's books that Daemon is remembered for being one of the most experienced warriors of his time and wielded the Valyrian steel blade "Dark Sister," which will be a major factor during the inevitable Dance of the Dragons*, which we likely won't see for a few seasons. Here's hoping his neck is healed by then so he doesn't have to risk any further injury trying to bring us all fantastical entertainment.

*If you haven't read the books, don't Google that unless you want spoilers.