House of the Dragon Showrunner Defends Show Writer Over Daemon Fandom Comments

House of the Dragon's showrunner, Ryan Condal, has come to the defense of one of the show's writers over comments she made about the fandom's view of Prince Daemon Targaryen. Played by Matt Smith, Daemon is a tempestuous and unstable person, capable of cold-blooded murder. Writer/producer Sara Hess commented on fans treating Daemon like their "internet boyfriend." Some took the comments in jest, but others took issue and sent harassing messages on social media. Condal spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the show's first season now that the finale has aired. He responded to Hess's comments, defending the writer, and to the reaction from fans to those comments.

"I was actually pretty horrified at the way Sara has been treated," Condal says. "She was horribly attacked in a way that's completely unacceptable. She's my right hand in this. We wrote the first season together – 85 percent of the writing in the first season is Sara and I. Nothing that was put on screen did not pass through my filter – or hers, for that matter. Nothing is done in a silo, it all comes across my desk, that's my job, that's how it works. And the idea that just because you don't agree with something that happens in a fictional television show you can go and attack real people online remains a bizarre, alien, and, frankly, horrifying concept to me. It's why I don't exist on social media."

Condal continued, "I read what Sara said. She's one of the funniest people I know. She cuts right to the heart of the matter and will say anything to anybody. She was maybe being overly glib when answering a serious question. She wasn't taking herself seriously in the way she was answering it. But I think she made some valid points in there. People are looking to put white hats and black hats on characters. They're looking for good guys and bad guys. They're looking for the Dark Side and the Light Side of The Force. And this is simply not that kind of show. Daemon is a compelling character. He's incredibly charismatic. He's played by a very handsome actor in Matt Smith. I understand why he has a super fandom built up around him. I totally get it. But that doesn't mean that Daemon is unimpeachably heroic. Daemon has done some really horrendous things. He will continue to do really horrendous things. He will also do heroic things – and that's what makes Daemon really interesting and, I think, why everybody's gravitated to him. Honestly, it's Matt Smith's virtuosic performance that's conspired to make this really iconic television character. But that doesn't mean you can project what you want onto this character and it's going to be satisfied. It just doesn't work that way. So disagree with us. And if you're on social media, have a reasonable discussion. But don't attack people."

House of the Dragon is streaming now on HBO Max. Its second season begins filming in early 2023.