older rhaenyra in House of the Dragon

HBO Shares First Clip of Emma D’Arcy’s Debut as Rhaenyra Targaryen in ‘House of the Dragon’

Our Queen Rhaenyra, now and forever.

After HBO’s Game of Thrones wrapped, we all thought we had left Westeros for good. It had been a long and painful journey in the Seven Kingdoms, so when HBO announced a prequel series, House of the Dragon, I was a little indifferent. Initially, I watched the show because of my love of Thrones (book series and show). However, the amazing writers, directors, and actors have hooked me in a way Thrones never did. I am so obsessed with everything Targaryen and can’t get enough of Princess Rhaenyra.

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This week, the first season of House of the Dragon hit the halfway point. It also marked a break in the series, as episode six will jump 10 years into the future of the story. That means older actors will replace several of the younger crew to show that time has passed for the characters. Before Sunday’s new episode and new lineup, HBO dropped a scene showing Emma D’Arcy as an older Rhaenyra, replacing Milly Alcock.

Milly Alcock has been knocking it out of the park as Rhaenyra, so it is a little sad she won’t be in the show anymore. And I think all Rhaenyra fans were a little worried that an actress change would make the character feel different. In the scene released by HBO, I can already tell Emma D’Arcy is ready to take over Westeros as Rhaenyra.

New Face, Same Rhaenyra

older rhaenyra in House of the Dragon

The clip starts off with Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Laenor Velaryon (John Macmillan, another aged-up actor) right after Rhaenyra gives birth. Rhaenyra has been summoned by someone (presumably Queen Alicent). Carrying a newborn baby, Rhaenyra marches forward like nothing is bothering her, even refusing to have Laenor take the baby or let him assist her. Her fiery spirit is every inch Rhaenyra. This minute-long clip already has me in love with Emma D’Arcy’s performance. Being a woman who is headstrong to a fault and has birthed a couple of kids, I felt each of her steps and words in my bones.

Watch the full clip here:

Not only are we getting one talented actress playing Rhaenyra, but we are getting two playing this legendary character. I hope the rest of the actors are ready to embody what their younger predecessors started. As much as I am looking forward to these new takes on the older characters, I am glad Matt Smith is still our Trash Prince Daemon. It wouldn’t be the same without him. Check out the new episode premiering September 25th on HBO.


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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.