Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra is embraced by Emily Carey as Alicent on House of the Dragon

‘House of the Dragon’ Stars Have No Idea What Will Happen Next

The New York Times ran an excellent interview with actors Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, who helped launch HBO’s House of the Dragon into the stratosphere. Alcock and Carey played the central roles of Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively, and they’re in a unique position. After establishing the two crucial characters in the massively popular Game of Thrones prequel series, Alcock and Carey are turning over their parts mid-season to older actors as the narrative undergoes a time jump. Emma D’Arcy will play Rhaenyra going forward, while Olivia Cooke takes over as Alicent. The two are close friends in youth until they’re thrust into rivalry and, well, a game of thrones when Rhaenyra’s father marries Alicent in hopes of having a male heir.

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Alcock and Carey’s experience is unique in that they’re exiting halfway through a series that saw them explode into the global spotlight. They say they’re unaware if there are plans to bring them back in future seasons, perhaps in flashback scenes. And according to Alcock and Carey, they weren’t party to scripts from later episodes—so they’ll be watching to see what happens to Rhaenyra, Alicent, and the other characters as eagerly as everyone else. While House of the Dragon is drawn from George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood and other sources, there are already many changes and surprises from Martin’s text.

“Yeah, I’m so intrigued,” Carey said in response to the Times’ question about how the characters will continue on in the hands of the older actresses. She says they did not work with Cooke or D’Arcy. “We didn’t even read the scripts that we weren’t in, so we know very little about what happens after we leave.”

Alcock apparently tried to get her hands on more information, “so much.” She explained, “We weren’t given [the scripts]. I’ve asked for them so much, and they were like, ‘No, you cannot.’ I’m going to be watching on the edge of my seat, because I want to know what’s going to happen.”

The whole interview with Alcock and Carey is well worth reading, as it’s a snapshot of two young actors at the height of worldwide recognition, trying to parse what they’ll do next and the strange experience they’ve come through together. They’ve grown quite close and in many ways say they mirror their characters (without that whole vying for the crown thing), supporting each other through the overwhelming process. I hope with the success of House of the Dragon and its inevitable future seasons, more intrigue can be had with the time jump device and we’ll have the chance to see Alcock and Carey in these roles again, with the added layers of all that has happened to D’Arcy and Cooke as Rhaenyra and Alicent ever since. That’s timey-wimey enough to satisfy Matt Smith.

(via The New York Times, image: HBO)


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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.