Characters in the world of HBO's House of the Dragon often worry about death at the hands of an enemy, but what about death at the hands of disease? Recently, fans of the show have been speculating that professional troublemaker Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) may have contracted greyscale after his fight with the Crabfeeder.
What is greyscale? And does Daemon have it? Here's what you need to know.
Does Daemon Targaryen have greyscale in 'House of the Dragon'?
Greyscale has been present before onscreen in the world of Game of Thrones. The disease, which is most often fatal, leaves flesh stiff and dead, cracked like stone, to the point where those infected are often referred to as "Stone Men." Anyone who manages to survive the disease is immune but often left with scarring.
Greyscale is easily passed from person to person by skin-to-skin contact or even through objects touched by the infected. Jorah Mormont in the original Game of Thrones was able to recover from greyscale thanks to the surgery skills of Samwell Tarly, but 175 years before that occurred, those with greyscale were pretty much on their own.
Fans think Daemon caught greyscale through his fight with the Crabfeeder, who he defeated in battle in House of the Dragon Episode 3. The actor who played the Crabfeeder, Daniel Scott-Smith, confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that his character did have greyscale before he was slaughtered by Daemon Targaryen in battle.
After Daemon defeats the Crabfeeder, he's seen dragging half of the pirate's severed body as a prize for his victory. Many fans assumed that because of the skin-to-skin contact, even though the Crabfeeder is dead, Daemon would similarly be infected by greyscale.
There is a fan theory cited by Fandom Wire that states Daemon will not get greyscale thanks to his "royal blood." The outlet points out that in the original Game of Thrones series, Daenerys Targaryen also has a near-miss exposure to greyscale but avoids catching the disease as well, thanks to this theory.
The theory is based on a line from the Game of Thrones book series by Viserys Targaren. He says, "We are untroubled by the pestilences that afflicted common men," seemingly referring to how greyscale spread through Old Valyria. The Targaryens are descended from Valyrians, hinting they may be immune to greyscale. Other royal characters in the series, including Princess Shireen Baratheon, caught greyscale and survived, but it's implied that only the Targaryens may be fully immune.
Fans will have to wait and discovery Daemon's fate in future episodes of House of the Dragon, which air on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.