Lord of the Rings: What Is an Istar? and why was cut daring Targaryen book character in House of the Dragon

Despite their appearance as old men, the Istari are far from frail beings. They possess magical powers greater than those of the Elves, using staffs to channel their power in times of need. Their powers include casting illusions, summoning lightning and firebolts, healing others, telekinesis, and even controlling the minds of other beings. Their staffs weren’t required for all magic use, but their powers do have limits without them. However, despite all of these fantastic abilities, the Istari were encouraged to only use their powers in times of crisis, instead relying on their intelligence and wisdom to overcome most challenges.

Physical combat was also only to be used as a last resort by the Istari, even though they were incredibly skilled at hand-to-hand combat and weaponry. Gandalf was one of the few wizards to engage regularly in combat and fought alongside the Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits in many of the great battles of Middle-earth.

Even though the Istari can be killed, as evidenced by Gandalf’s run-in with a Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring, they can also be brought back to life by the Valar (God-like immortal beings that are said to rule over Middle-earth). Gandalf was resurrected because the Istar’s task – helping the people of Middle-earth stop Sauron – was not yet complete.

It’s unclear when exactly the Istar came to Middle-earth. In Unfinished Tales, Tolkien wrote that the Istar didn’t appear in Middle-earth until the Third Age, but in The Peoples of Middle-earth, he changed his mind and suggested the Blue Wizards began their mission in the Second Age after the forging of the One Ring. With the Stranger’s reveal in the season finale, The Rings of Power seems to be borrowing from the latter origin story.

While it’s not yet confirmed which of the five Istar the Stranger is, his peculiar arrival inside a meteor and his unique powers make more sense now (Gandalf is no stranger to dramatic entrances after all), and it will be interesting to see what he and Nori discover about his identity in season 2.

Now onto Targaryen. Prince Aegon Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) and Prince Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell).

Yet, there is someone else from House Targaryen in the source material that has not appeared in the show…

Where is Prince Daeron Targaryen in House of the Dragon?

In the book Fire and Blood, King Viserys I Targaryen has four children with his second wife Queen Alicent Hightower.

  • Prince Aegon Targaryen
  • Princess Helaena Targaryen
  • Prince Aemond Targaryen
  • Prince Daeron Targaryen

However, fans of the series will likely note that only the eldest three of these children have been depicted in House of the Dragon.

Prince Daeron Targaryen, despite being Viserys and Alicent’s third son, was their most popular in the book due to his intelligence and kindness.

Daeron was born shortly after Prince Jacaerys Velaryon in the book and should have been mentioned in the series after the time jump that began episode 6. However, Daeron has yet to appear or even be mentioned in the series.

In the book, due to the feuding within the family, Daeron ended up a rival to the sons of his half-sister Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

Daeron was also a dragonrider with a mount in the dragon Tessarion.

At the age of 12, Daeron was sent to serve as a cupbearer and squire for House Hightower in Oldtown, leaving him firmly entrenched in Alicent’s faction known as the “Greens”.

When the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons breaks out, Daeron is still at Oldtown but eventually becomes a vital figure in the war despite only being aged 15.

Daeron is a popular figure who is well-liked in the fight for the succession rights of his older brother, Prince Aegon Targaryen.

In the book, the people of Westeros come to return to Daeron as “Daeron the Daring“.

Unless the character has been unmentioned while remaining in Oldtown throughout all of the events depicted in the series, it genuinely seems as though Prince Daeron has been cut from the show.

However, maybe he’ll get a last-minute reprieve down the road. Yet it would make even less sense to mention his existence at this late stage.

Book fans may have to rely on the source material for their Daeron fix.

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