In the first three episodes of “House of the Dragon,” only younger versions of Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) have been seen; however, due to the show’s upcoming 10-year time jump, new actors will take on these roles. Alcock and Carey, who have so far done an outstanding job as Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively, will be replaced by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke. The upcoming recastings of “House of the Dragon” are unavoidable given the series’ multi-decade narrative, but the younger characters’ fascinating arcs and their actors’ outstanding performances alongside one another provide a challenge for the show’s future after their older counterparts replace them.
“House of the Dragon“ brings a completely new cast of characters to Westeros during the Targaryens’ reign on the Iron Throne. It is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire and Blood and is set around 200 years before the start of Game of Thrones. Although there were fewer time jumps between the first three episodes of “House of the Dragon,” the HBO series will soon progress its plot a decade into the future, necessitating the recasting of younger characters. After the time jump in “House of the Dragon,” characters like Rhaenyra and Alicent, as well as the Velaryon siblings Laena and Laenor (Nova Foueillis-Mosé) and Laenor (Theo Nate), will be played by older actors.
Recasting Alcock’s Rhaenyra and Carey’s Alicent would be challenging, as was evident in the first episode of “House of the Dragon,” however the issue gets worse every episode as their character arcs develop. Young Rhaenyra and Alicent exhibit the most fascinating relationship in “House of the Dragon” at the beginning of the program, defined by their bond in dealing with the pressure and expectations placed on young women who come from powerful families. Audiences will likely miss the presence of the two younger performers who so simply caught the core of these characters and their connection, even though D’Arcy and Cooke are undoubtedly up to the task.
How many episodes are still to come in Young Alicent & Rhaenyra?
The 10-year time jump in “House of the Dragon” will happen halfway through the first season. As a result, after the recently broadcast episode 3, young Rhaenyra and Alicent will feature in two more episodes, with D’Arcy and Cooke taking over from episode 6 onward. Although Alcock and Carey gave excellent performances, D’Arcy and Cooke are also brilliant, and there is no reason to doubt that they will continue to do justice to these characters in the future. In fact, the cast of House of the Dragon has so far been successful, particularly Matt Smith’s Prince Daemon and Paddy Considine’s King Viserys Targaryen. But after seeing the first few episodes, it’s hard to imagine replacing the younger iterations of Rhaenyra and Alicent.
Alcock and Carey have portrayed young Rhaenyra and Alicent in their teenage years over the first three episodes of “House of the Dragon,” as the two display a fragile connection that veers between close friendship and romance. It would be impossible for other artists to perform this dynamic as successfully as the actors have because of their incredible chemistry. However, if the Targaryen civil war worsens, Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship may change. A critical turning moment that will only set the two people against one another in the future was Alicent’s marriage to Rhaenyra’s father Viserys. D’Arcy and Cooke will benefit from this shifting relationship because they will be required to convey a far different atmosphere than that between young Rhaenyra and Alicent. Thus, the recasting issue with “House of the Dragon” might just be a small issue in the end.