House of the Dragon's Casting Director Explains How They Searched For Young Rhaenyra

The first season of Game of Thrones' spin-off series, House of the Dragon, was released by HBO last year and the show recently took home the Golden Award award for Best Drama Series. The show stars Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, but they were not the first actor to take on the role. In the earlier episodes, young Rhaenyra was played by Milly Alcock. The new book, House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty, details some of the casting that went into the show, including how Alcock landed the role.

Casting director Kate Rhode James explains that after casting D'Arcy, the actor shared photos of their teenage self, which the House of the Dragon casting department used in their search for Alcock. "Whether it's the shape of the nose or the shape of the eyes – it's got to be something," James explained (via Insider). "She's very like Emma in the sense that she is a one-off," James added of Alcock. "She's unique. She's not trained – she's all instinct."

"I see Emma as a very old soul," House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal added. "They're one of the smartest actors I've ever met or spoken to. A lot of actors, there's one dimension they bring to a role. Then there are these unicorn actors who can convey subtle emotion through minor changes in just the way they breathe, or a glance. Emma had that. Emma is a completely different entity in a really good way."

What's Next For Milly Alcock? 

Previously, Alcock made it clear that joining such a huge franchise was "straining" and she recently told The Herald Sun that she's not interested in any more fantasy roles. 

"I'm not doing any fantasy roles," Alcock shared. "I don't want to do anything like that. I have done it and I don't need to do it again. I am just kind of waiting for the right project. I am not in a rush to jump on something." She added, "I would rather work not a lot and do work that I am really proud of and passionate about. When you sign on to a project you have to get used to talking about it for six months or a year of your life, so you want to make sure you really adore it and I am waiting for that project to come along and surprise me."

Stay tuned for updates about the upcoming second season of House of the Dragon