This week, House of the Dragon said goodbye to two of its greatest powerhouses, the young actresses who play Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, Milly Alcock and Emily Carey. Although they had the roles for five episodes, they will be replaced in the future by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke respectively.
So, what’s going on here? Why did this happen at all and to what extent would these characters age?
It’s a bit complicated, given the ages of the characters, the actresses, and the way the time has flowed into the series.
In the pilot, Rhaenyra and Alicent were both supposed to be 15, but in the penultimate episode when Daemon returned, it was said to have been four years, so they were 19.
Milly Alcock, Rhaenyra, is 22 in real life. She is replaced by Emma D’Arcy, who is 30. The time jump in episode 6 would be 10 years, so Rhaneryra should be around 29.
Emily Carey, Alicent, is 19 in real life. She will be replaced by Olivia Cooke, who is 28, and Alicent will probably also be around 29.
So the original actresses played a little older than their characters for most of their appearances, while the new actresses are about the age they should be.
It’s a pretty unusual situation as the show tries to follow what’s almost a 30-year arc of the books, though the roles won’t be recast again, it seems after D’Arcy and Cookie come on board. But for many fans, it feels a bit like getting to know the young Starks in the first few episodes of Game of Thrones, and then having those actors replaced. Although Game of Thrones moved forward many years towards its end, the young actors were not recast with older ones, and instead we saw young actors such as Isaac Wright, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner grow up over the course of nearly 10 years. of the show. That won’t be the case with Alcock and Carey here, with the protagonist Milly Alcock being shot to superstar specifically for her role here, something she said in interviews has made her a little uncomfortable as she was almost completely unknown before that.
Matt Smith, who is not going anywhere, praised the young cast in interviews and predicted great things for their future. But the show will definitely miss them, even if the actresses who replace them are also talented. I suspect the show will continue to thrive, although the recast could be a bummer for many fans.
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