Based on George RR Martins Fire & Bloodchronicling the Targaryen dynasty, house of the dragon is the prequel too Game of Thrones. The series chronicles the Targaryens’ reign of Westeros some 100 years after their 300-year reign.
So far this season, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) has named his eldest daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock as a teenager, Emma D’Arcy as an adult) as his heir, in violation of the patriarchal structure of the time. He also married her best friend Alicent (Emily Carey and later Olivia Cooke), setting in motion a chain of events that will change history forever.
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With the series spanning multiple decades, creator/co-showrunner Ryan Condal made the decision to use different actors on the show for different periods of time. Milly Alcock gave the role of Rhaenyra to Emma D’Arcy and Emily Carey was replaced as Alicent by Olivia Cooke.
He felt that aging the actors was the right thing to do, considering the time jumps would continue to be central to this story.
With so many moving parts, neither Alcock and D’Arcy nor Carey and Cooke overlapped or interacted on set. Their respective performances as Rhaenerya and Alicent should stand on their own.
“We didn’t feel like we could interfere with their performance or their methods because they play completely different characters on their own than the ones you’ll meet 10 years from now,” D’Arcy told Shadow and Act. “There’s a nice continuous line between the two versions.”
Cooke explained that watching Carey as Aleincent is like watching old family videos. “We finally saw the first episode, and it felt a little bit like watching a Targaryen home video and seeing something of yourself as a kid,” she said. “On the one hand you feel familiar with this person and have a deep sympathy for them in their position, but at times you feel distinctly different and separate. Luckily it works really well.”
In episode 108, “The Lord of the Tides”, King Viserys finally dies. Although the king tried to force peace on his family, his closing remarks, which he mistook for Rhaenerya, sent Alicent into a frenzy and gave her the motivation she needed to try and conquer her former friend/stepdaughter and queen and put her tyrannical son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) on the throne.
Fans who know the Targaryen family odyssey know how it all ends. However, this series will chronicle the downfall. “Here’s the story you’ve always heard about,” creator/co-showrunner Ryan Condal told Shadow and Act. “The Targaryens, at the height of their power with 17 dragons and great wealth, power and influence. You are unassailable. This is that time. I think it’s a fascinating place to stop by because they’ve only just started to turn around and decline, but they don’t realize that until it’s too late.”
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