Daemon Targaryen is a bargain bucket Elric and Valyrians are knock-off Melnibonéans.

This article explores the intriguing comparisons between Daemon Targaryen from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and Elric of Melniboné from Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga, cheekily framing Daemon as a “bargain bucket Elric” and Valyrians as “knock-off Melnibonéans.” By examining their superficial similarities and deeper divergences, as well as the cultural parallels and distinctions between Valyrians and Melnibonéans, the discussion reveals both the influences and unique qualities that define these iconic characters and their respective worlds, offering insights into the rich tapestry of fantasy literature.

The world of fantasy literature and media is replete with complex characters and rich histories. Two such intriguing figures are Daemon Targaryen from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and Elric of Melniboné from Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga. In comparing these two, one might cheekily refer to Daemon Targaryen as a “bargain bucket Elric” and Valyrians as “knock-off Melnibonéans.” This comparison, while playful, unveils deeper connections and contrasts between these iconic characters and their respective cultures.

Daemon Targaryen and Elric of Melniboné: A Character Comparison

Daemon Targaryen, a prominent figure in House of the Dragon and the extended lore of A Song of Ice and Fire, is a prince of the Targaryen dynasty. Known for his martial prowess, ambition, and charisma, Daemon embodies many traits of the anti-hero. He is a dragonrider, wielding his ancestral blade Dark Sister, and his actions are often driven by a thirst for power and glory.

Elric of Melniboné, on the other hand, is the central character of Michael Moorcock’s series. Elric is the last emperor of Melniboné, a decaying and morally ambiguous empire. Unlike Daemon, Elric is a frail albino who relies on the sorcerous powers of his sentient sword, Stormbringer, to sustain his life. Elric’s character is marked by his existential struggles, deep philosophical inquiries, and a tragic destiny that often sees him as a pawn of fate and his demonic sword.

Superficial Similarities

At a glance, Daemon Targaryen and Elric of Melniboné share some similarities:

  1. Noble Lineage and Tragic Flaws: Both characters hail from powerful, ancient dynasties and exhibit tragic flaws. Daemon’s ambition and impulsiveness lead to his downfall, while Elric’s reliance on Stormbringer brings endless sorrow and destruction.
  2. Combat Prowess and Magical Swords: Daemon is renowned for his combat skills and wields Dark Sister, a Valyrian steel sword. Elric, though physically weak, is a formidable warrior when wielding Stormbringer, a blade that grants him vitality and power at a terrible cost.
  3. Outsiders Within Their Own Societies: Both characters feel like outsiders. Daemon’s rebellious nature often puts him at odds with his family and court, while Elric’s albino appearance and introspective nature set him apart from the hedonistic and cruel Melnibonéans.

Deeper Divergences

However, the differences between Daemon and Elric are far more pronounced:

  1. Moral Complexity: Elric’s moral complexity and philosophical depth far exceed Daemon’s relatively straightforward ambition. Elric’s struggles with morality, destiny, and the inherent evil of Stormbringer add layers to his character that Daemon, a more traditional anti-hero, lacks.
  2. Destiny and Free Will: Elric often grapples with themes of fate and free will, questioning his actions and their consequences. Daemon, in contrast, appears driven by a clearer sense of agency, pursuing his goals with fewer existential qualms.
  3. Narrative Purpose: Elric serves as a tragic hero whose story explores the themes of decay and the cyclic nature of civilizations. Daemon’s narrative is more focused on the political intrigue and power struggles within the Targaryen dynasty.

Valyrians and Melnibonéans: A Cultural Comparison

The comparison between Valyrians and Melnibonéans further highlights the distinctions and influences in fantasy world-building.


The Valyrians, particularly the Targaryens, are a dragonlord race from the volcanic region of Valyria. Their culture is characterized by:

  1. Dragon Mastery: The Valyrians’ ability to tame and ride dragons is their most defining feature, making them unparalleled in warfare and conquest.
  2. Magical Affinity: Valyrians possess a natural affinity for magic, particularly in crafting Valyrian steel and other sorcerous practices.
  3. Physical Traits: Silver hair and purple eyes mark the Valyrian lineage, distinguishing them from other races in A Song of Ice and Fire.


The Melnibonéans, from the island of Melniboné, are an ancient, decadent race known for their:

  1. Sorcerous Dominance: The Melnibonéans are master sorcerers, with a deep knowledge of magic and summoning. Their power extends to controlling demons and other supernatural entities.
  2. Cultural Decadence: Melnibonéans live in a society that has long passed its zenith, marked by cruelty, hedonism, and a sense of superiority over other races.
  3. Physical Traits: While not as uniformly marked as Valyrians, Melnibonéans often have distinctive features, such as elongated ears and a more alien appearance, reflecting their otherworldly nature.

Influence and Originality

The parallels between the Valyrians and Melnibonéans suggest a degree of influence. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the originality each author brings to their creation. Martin’s Valyrians are woven into a tapestry of political intrigue, historical depth, and character-driven narratives. Moorcock’s Melnibonéans, meanwhile, serve as a backdrop for exploring existential themes and the nature of power and corruption.

Other Examples

In exploring the rich tapestry of influences within George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, we find numerous parallels with historical, mythological, and literary sources. The Faceless Men of Braavos share similarities with various assassins’ guilds in fantasy literature, such as the Assassins of Glen Cook’s The Black Company series and the Dark Brotherhood from the Elder Scrolls games. The Others, or White Walkers, echo the thematic elements of Norse mythology and Arthurian legend. The Dothraki are inspired by the historical Mongol hordes and other Central Asian nomadic cultures. Wargs and skinchangers in Martin’s world reflect the shapeshifters and animal bonds seen in works like Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy and folklore werewolves. The Night’s Watch draws clear parallels with the Roman garrisons stationed at Hadrian’s Wall, defending the empire from northern tribes. Additionally, the Ironborn and their Drowned God reflect the influence of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, adding an element of cosmic horror to Martin’s richly woven narrative. These influences enrich Martin’s world, providing a deep, interconnected lore that resonates with readers familiar with these diverse inspirations.


Labeling Daemon Targaryen as a “bargain bucket Elric” and Valyrians as “knock-off Melnibonéans” is a playful jab that underscores both the similarities and the unique qualities of these characters and cultures. While influences are evident—Elric came first, and George R.R. Martin has acknowledged the influence of Michael Moorcock on his work—both authors have crafted rich, distinct worlds that stand on their own merits. Additionally, there are other examples of influence, such as the Ironborn being inspired by the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Exploring these connections enriches our understanding of fantasy literature and the timeless appeal of complex, morally ambiguous characters and the empires they inhabit.