Fans love to root for the bad boys, don’t they? I mean, I would never have thought that Star Wars and Game of Thrones: House of Dragon would have me rooting for murder and incest, yet here I am. (For the record, NO, I do NOT actually condone either….) I’m simply referring to my growing attachment to and affection for characters like Cassian Andor and Daemon Targaryen. Both are murderers. Daemon married his much younger niece. For all intents and purposes, we shouldn’t like these characters. But… each has become a beloved mainstay of their respective franchises. Why?

Daemon Targaryen; House of the Dragon
Matt Smith sits upon the Iron Throne as Daemon Targaryen in Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon.
(Image: HBO|Max)

Perhaps the query is easier to answer when it comes to Daemon Targaryen. Matt Smith plays the character with cold, calculated perfection. Daemon oozes confidence and charisma each time he appears on screen. He is also fiercely loyal to Rhaenerya, as we saw in HoD episode 8 when he lopped off half of Vaemond’s head after daring him to “say it.” (If you know, you know, otherwise I won’t spoil it.) Matt Smith’s portrayal is so spot on you can’t help but forgive his misdeeds, brutal as they may sometimes be.

Cassian Andor and Daemon Targaryen: rooting for the bad boys

Cassian Andor
Diego Luna is a brooding Cassian Andor in the new series for Disney+. (image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Diego Luna’s Andor, on the other hand, is a completely different character. Whereas the second son Targaryen relies on the aforementioned charisma, Cassian Andor’s strength lies in his fierce, underdog persona. He’s a man wronged by the Empire, yet he’s a survivor. But… There’s no questioning his questionable morality. Between Rogue One and the Andor series, we’ve seen him shoot first thrice as many times as Han Solo ever did. (And we’re barely half-way through the show’s first season.)  Still, we root for him.

Though he’s not yet fully embraced the cause, we see shades of his empathy and honor slipping through more and more as the show goes on. Plus, there’s just something relatable about him. Far too many in this day and age still struggle for freedom from oppression, and Diego Luna’s character embodies that struggle. Sure, Cassian Andor is a murderer, but he’s a respectable murderer…. Right? Likewise with Daemon Targaryen. When it all boils down, though, each does have a guiding, moral compass, even if their needles sometimes spin in a magnetic storm of chaos.

Daemon Targaryen
Daemon weds Rhaenyra in Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon. (Image: HBO|Max)

Cassian, as we know, will eventually devote himself to the Rebellion and freeing the galaxy from tyranny. Daemon Targaryen, we’ve already seen, has devoted himself to Rheanerya. They’ll each fight to the death to protect that which they love. How can you be mad at that?

Andor airs every Wednesday on Disney+. Game of Thrones: House of The Dragon drops every Sunday night on HBO|Max.