House of the Dragon's Fan-Favorite Star Came Close to Missing Their Role

In the second half of House of the Dragons, Emma D'Arcy took over the role of Rhaenyra Targaryen from Milly Alcock following a time jump into adulthood for the Targaryen princess. Most agree that D'Arcy has done well in the role, garnering critical acclaim by the Game of Thrones sequel's first season finale. It turns out though that they almost didn't clinch the role. D'arcy and their House of the Dragon co-star Olivia Cooke both spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. During the interview, D'Arcy explained that they were led to believe that the role wouldn't be going to them after all.

"It was about three months of self-taping in my living room in the middle of the pandemic, so it was amazing," D'Arcy recalls. "Actually, it felt like living on an island and trying to make cinema or something, because I didn't see anyone or really do anything, but supposedly I was in conversation with one of the biggest TV shows in the world. My partner and I cobbled together a wig out of literally a bag of hair and then after three months of doing that, I was invited for a four- or five-hour in-person audition, did that, and then after that, I was told, 'You'll hear something next week.'"

They continued, "And then I didn't. Then I was told it was probably not going my way. And I thought, 'Wow, it's a real shame.' I went to the countryside, just for the weekend, to start metabolizing, and at the end of that weekend I had about 14 missed calls from my agent. I spoke to him the next morning to hear, 'They changed their mind! Do you want to do it?' So weird, honestly. A very solitary process that went on seemingly half a year."

In the end, the role did go to D'Arcy, and they'll return to it for House of the Dragon's second season. The show's second outing will see the Seven Kingdoms plunged into the Targaryen civil war called the Dance with Dragons.

According to HBO, House of the Dragon averaged 29 million viewers in the United States on HBO Max. The show's first season finale was HBO's most-watched finale since Game of Thrones. That such a viewership has built up in just the first season speaks to drawn of the Game of Thrones universe.

House of the Dragon is expected to start filming its second season in early 2023. The new season won't debut on HBO until 2024.