Episode 5 of House of the Dragon allowed us to see more developments in the storyline surrounding House Targaryen. The episode opened up with a scene involving Rhea Royce while she was out hunting in the Vale. However, she ended up running into her husband Daemon, who never said a word but whose mere presence was more than enough to scare the horse to make Lady Royce fall and end up gravely injured. So, why was the horse afraid of Daemon?
The horse was likely afraid of Daemon because he was a Targaryen dragonrider. What that means is that the horse likely sensed the smell of a dragon on Daemon, who was quick to scare the horse and make his wife fall off. In that regard, it was already easy for him to finish Rhea off by bashing her head with a rock.
It was the scene involving Daemon and the horse that was quite surprising to many GOT fans, who might have thought that he had magic. Nevertheless, it is the mere fact that he is always close to dragons that quite possibly made the horse afraid of him. Now, with that said, let’s talk more about how Daemon was able to scare the horse off.
Why Was The Horse Afraid Of Daemon?
The last time we saw Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon was in episode 4 when he was sent away by King Viserys Targaryen because he admitted to having touched Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen during the night he returned from his victory on the Stepstones. Viserys sent him away to return to his lawfully wedded wife in the Vale instead of allowing him to marry Rhaenyra.
Of course, the Targaryen drama intensified in episode 5 when the opening scene was already quite surprising and somewhat confusing to different fans. We saw a woman on horseback as it was later revealed that this was Lady Rhea Royce, who well know is the lawfully wedded wife of Prince Daemon Targaryen. However, it was already made clear early in the series that Daemon had no interest in her and did not even consummate their marriage because he believed that she wasn’t pretty enough and that the sheep of the Vale were prettier.
Lady Rhea was seen riding as her cousin offered to ride with her. Nevertheless, she declined the offer as she went riding on her own so that she could go hunting. That was when she ran into a mysterious cloaked figure that she was able to recognize the moment the man was close enough. This was her husband, Daemon, who returned to the Vale for reasons that were still unknown at that time.
Rhea continued to talk while asking Daemon why he had decided to return to the Vale. She even made fun of what he said about the sheep being prettier than she was while also wondering whether or not her husband was now interested in consummating their marriage. But Daemon never said a word as she came closer and closer to Lady Rhea and her horse.
Sensing danger, Lady Rhea reached for her bow, but Daemon was quicker when he reached out for the scared horse and made it stand on its two feet out of fear. This caused the Lady Rhea to fall from the horse terribly as it was clear that she was injured and was unable to move. Daemon sensed that she could no longer feel any pain, as she likely suffered a spinal injury that made her unable to feel any of her limbs anymore.
That was when Lady Rhea made fun of Daemon for his inability to finish, as the Targaryen prince grabbed a rock and seemingly bashed his wife’s head in to kill her. The fact that Daemon essentially made the horse kill Rhea while he only finished her off allowed him to get out of his marriage without any evidence of the fact that he killed his own wife. But the biggest mystery was in relation to how Daemon was able to scare the horse.
Remember that Daemon is a Targaryen dragonrider, and that means that he has spent enough time riding his dragon, Caraxes. In fact, the only way Daemon was able to get to the Vale was probably by riding Caraxes.
In case you’ve forgotten, back in the early portion of episode 1, both Queen Aemma and King Viserys were able to quickly sense that Princess Rhaenyra had just gotten off of her dragon, Syrax, because she smelled like a dragon.
So, if both Aemma and Viserys were able to sense the scent of a dragon on Rhaenyra, that means that an animal with a better sense of smell would have been able to quickly sense the smell of Caaraxes on Daemon.
Given that horses at that time were afraid of dragons because they knew that these beasts often fed on them, Lady Rhea’s horse was probably instinctively afraid of Daemon when it sensed that he smelled like a dragon. That was probably the reason why the horse was so afraid of Daemon, who was able to take advantage of this by influencing it enough to make Lady Rhea fall.
That was an extremely easy detail to miss for anyone who probably forgot the fact that Targaryen dragonriders often smell like dragons unless they take a bath after riding one. And Daemon must have realized early on that he could use this to his advantage to kill his own wife.
Does Daemon Have Magic?
It might be true that Daemon was able to influence the horse well enough to make it scared of him and force Lady Royce off of it. But the fact is that he didn’t use magic to influence the horse and make Rhea fall.
Daemon did not use any mystical abilities or some sort of an ability that lets him communicate with the horse to tell the horse to de-saddle Rhea Royce. There was never an instance in any of George RR Martin’s writings that Daemon (or probably any other Targaryen) had magical abilities and powers.
As such, we are inclined to believe that it was the scent of Caraxes that made the horse so afraid of Daemon during that scene with Rhea Royce. Again, this is an easy detail to miss, especially for those who didn’t mind the fact that Rhaenyra smelled like a dragon during the opening scenes of episode 1.