Daeron I Targaryen, also called the Young Dragon, is an unseen character in Game of Thrones. He is not expected to appear in the series, being long dead by the time it begins.
Daeron was the first King of his name to sit on the Iron Throne and the eighth king of the Targaryen dynasty to rule the Seven Kingdoms. He was formally styled Daeron of House Targaryen, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
Daeron I lived about a century and a half before the War of the Five Kings. He succeeded his father Aegon III to the throne. Daeron I is best known for his military campaign in Dorne, which had stubbornly resisted prior invasions by the Targaryens. In the process, Daeron lost 60,000 men, and ultimately his own life. Having fathered no heir, he was succeeded by his younger brother, Baelor Targaryen, called "Baelor the Blessed".
|Aegon III Targaryen|
"Aegon the Dragonbane"
|Viserys II Targaryen|
"Daeron the Young Dragon"
"Baelor the Blessed"
"Daena the Defiant"
|Aegon IV Targaryen|
"Aegon the Unworthy"
|Aemon Targaryen |
"Aemon the Dragonknight"
of Aegon IV by different women: Bloodraven, Bittersteel, and Shiera
|Daeron II Targaryen|
"Daeron the Good"
"Daenerys of Sunspear"
- "The Lives of Four Kings. Grand Maester Kaeth's history of the reigns of Daeron the Young Dragon, Baelor the Blessed, Aegon the Unworthy, and Daeron the Good. A book every king should read."
- ―Tyrion Lannister
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Daeron I became king when he was only 14 years old, but quickly proved himself one of the finest warriors and generals in the history of Westeros. Later history and popular culture remembers him as the paragon "young warrior king". Both Robb Stark and Jon Snow idolized him growing up. George R.R. Martin has described him as essentially the Alexander the Great of Westeros, in the sense that he was a young, preternaturally skilled genius at military tactics.
While the Targaryens had conquered and unified six of the "Seven Kingdoms" during the initial War of Conquest, the dry desert region of Dorne had remained stubbornly independent for the next 150 years. The Dornish accomplished this by resorting to guerrilla warfare, fleeing before the Targaryen dragons only to return and harass their supply lines as soon as the Targaryens withdrew their forces.
Seeing Dorne as unfinished business for the Targaryen dynasty, and a blight on their claims to complete mastery of Westeros, Daeron I led his armies to invade it. The Young Dragon's tactics were brilliant, and his larger strategy was innovative: he feinted a typical invasion through the mountain passes of the Red Mountains, luring all of the Dornish armies to the west. He then followed by sending the real invasion force to make an amphibious landing at the mouth of the Greenblood River itself, at the doorstep of Sunspear. The Dornish were caught completely off guard and with their army on the other side of the central deserts. Daeron thus conquered Dorne, succeeding where even Aegon I had failed. This achievement was considered all the more astonishing because he did not have dragons, as the last of them had died out during the reign of his father.
Unfortunately for the Young Dragon, occupying Dorne proved to be more difficult than conquering it. The Dornish settled into a long insurgency, ambushing the occupying force and then retreating. Dareon lost far more men during the occupation than he did during the conquest itself: ten thousand men in the conquest, another sixty thousand during the occupation. Ultimately the Tyrell lord he installed as governor of Dorne was assassinated with scorpions in his bed, leading to a general insurrection. All that the Young Dragon had accomplished evaporated in a single fortnight, and Daeron I himself was killed in battle trying to fight the insurgency. The Young Dragon died young, at only 18 years of age, and after ruling for only four years. Dorne was to remain independent for another two generations, before later uniting with the Targaryen realm through peaceful marriage-alliance (a double-marriage pact in which Daeron I's own first cousins, Daenerys and Daeron II, married the Ruling Prince of Dorne and his younger sister).
Both Robb Stark and Jon Snow idolized the Young Dragon, as have many others, given that he is the type of young conqueror every youth hopes to be. Their uncle Benjen's assessment of Daeron was blunter. He dismissed Daeron's successes as "a conquest that lasted a summer", adding that he lost 10,000 men conquering Dorne and another 50,000 trying to hold it. He cautioned Jon that the real moral of Dareon I's life is that despite winning on the battlefield he lost the war itself. This presages Robb Stark's own death under similar circumstances, despite never having lost a battle. Dareon I was a great military leader, but not a great politician, nor particularly skilled at the day-to-day governance of the realm. Tyrion points out that his uncle and Hand of the King, Viserys II Targaryen, was the man really responsible for holding the realm together during his reign.
Daeron I was unmarried and died childless, so he was succeeded by his younger brother Baelor.
Rulers of the Seven Kingdoms
Aegon I, the Conqueror · Aenys I · Maegor I, the Cruel · Jaehaerys I, the Conciliator · Viserys I · Aegon II · Aegon III, the Dragonbane · Daeron I, the Young Dragon · Baelor I, the Blessed · Viserys II · Aegon IV, the Unworthy · Daeron II, the Good · Aerys I · Maekar I · Aegon V, the Unlikely · Aerys II, the Mad