This article contains spoilers for episode 5 of House of the Dragon
Episode 6 of House of the Dragon is about to take the series’ biggest time jump yet. “The Princess and the Queen” will be set 10 years after the deadly brawl at Rhaenyra’s wedding feast, Alicent’s dramatic entrance, and King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) latest health scare. While the series has jumped forward before, it’s only been by a few years or so at a time, so actors Milly Alcock and Emily Carey have been able to portray the young Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, respectively, without issue. But now that we’re halfway through the first season, and House of the Dragon is jumping forward an entire decade, it’s time to say goodbye to these young actors we’ve come to know so well.
We’ve known since the beginning that Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke would eventually portray Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent, so their appearance isn’t necessarily a surprise. However, Alcock and Carey have given such strong performances in the first half of the season that D’Arcy and Cooke undoubtedly have big shoes to fill while showing us how Rhaenyra and Alicent have changed, or how they haven’t, over the last ten years and as the season progresses.
Each pair of actors were discouraged by the showrunners from communicating with their counterparts or influencing each other’s performance in any way. Cooke told Entertainment Weekly that she was shown some of the scenes that Carey had done with King Viserys actor Paddy Considine as though they were “memories” for her to draw on while shooting. Cooke describes the experience, saying that “I had those memories locked in my brain for when I’m doing a scene that mirrors that relationship” but that ultimately she was able to bring her own talents and experiences into the role.