Home Uncategorized Every House Of The Dragon Character Who Was Recast, When, & Why

Every House Of The Dragon Character Who Was Recast, When, & Why

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SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1

Summary

  • House of the Dragon has numerous character recasts, especially for the Targaryen family, leading to some confusion.
  • Most casting changes occur after time jumps in season 1, with key characters like Rhaenyra, Alicent, Aemond, Aegon, and Helaena being majorly recast.
  • Notable recasts include Rhaenyra being played by Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy, Alicent by Emily Carey and Olivia Cooke, and Aemond by Leo Ashton and Ewan Mitchell.

HBO’s House of the Dragon has a ridiculous amount of character recasts that can be difficult to keep track of. The Game of Thrones prequel series is based on the book Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin, which details events surrounding the Targaryen dynasty for nearly 200 years of its rule. House of the Dragon takes place roughly 200 years before Game of Thrones on the timeline but the show also covers decades of material, thus needing several actors to be recast from children to adults.

Much of the House of the Dragon cast plays members of the Targaryen family, though there are many key characters from Houses Velaryon and Hightower as well. Given such a massive ensemble, minor characters can be excessively difficult to keep track of, especially when the actors are changing after only two or three episodes. There were three time jumps in season 1, three years between episodes 2 & 3, ten years between episodes 5 & 6, and six more years between episodes 7 & 8. Most casting changes happened at one of these jumps.

11 Rhaenyra Targaryen

Played by: Milly Alcock, Emma D’Arcy

As the show’s main character, Rhaenyra Targaryen’s recasting was the most notable, happening in the ten-year gap between episodes 5 and 6. Initially, Rhaenyra was played by Milly Alcock, who was widely celebrated for her youthful, energetic portrayal of the character. Much of the first interpretation follows Rhaenyra as she’s bestowed the position of King Viserys’ heir and the options surrounding her potential marriages, eventually landing on Laenor Velaryon.

D’Arcy’s iteration is equally charismatic, their rendition is calmer and more sentimental

In episode 6, Milly Alcock is recast, with Emma D’Arcy subbing in for the adult version of Rhaenyra. The adult version of the character picks up after a decade of marriage to Laenor Velaryon, showing the birth of her third child. D’Arcy’s iteration is equally charismatic, though their rendition is calmer and more sentimental, with Rhaenyra having struggled to maintain her political reputation as the king’s heir for years. D’Arcy also provides narration for House of the Dragon’s premiere episode.

10 Alicent Hightower

Played by: Emily Carey, Olivia Cooke

Alicent Hightower’s timeline runs parallel to Rhaenyra, as though the two female leads of House of the Dragon are shown to be childhood friends growing up together in King’s Landing. In the first five episodes, Alicent is played by Emily Carey, portraying the character as her life becomes occupied by duty, with her father, Otto Hightower, sending her to comfort King Viserys while he mourned his wife. Alicent and Viserys marry, with their children beginning to arrive before the time jump.

After the episode 5 time jump, Alicent is played by Olivia Cooke. The adult Alicent has been a mother for over a decade, a role she doesn’t seem too thrilled about. Her frustration grows against Rhaenyra, as the two have been feuding with each other for much of this time. Cooke brings a bitterness to the character but also a sensitivity, as she’s someone who’s spent much of the prior decade living unhappily in her duties as Queen.

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9 Aemond Targaryen

Played by: Leo Ashton, Ewan Mitchell

Aemond Targaryen undergoes one of the most drastic and exciting casting changes in House of the Dragon. The younger version of the character is introduced in episodes 6 & 7, played by child actor Leo Ashton. The young Aemond is bullied by his older siblings and cousins, and the terrific performer plays it with a delicate vulnerability as he experiences that pain. He also makes one of the boldest moves in the series, taming the dragon Vhagar.

Having grown up, Aemond Targaryen has become one of the most powerful House of the Dragon characters and is played flawlessly by Ewan Mitchell. Mitchell takes over for the character in episode 8 and joined the main cast for season 2, playing Aemond in his late teenage years. Aemond has trained for years to be an asset to the Green faction, becoming a skilled swordsman riding the world’s biggest dragon, but he’s still haunted by his childhood.

8 Aegon Targaryen

Played by: Ty Tennant, Tom Glynn-Carney

Aegon Targaryen is the eldest son of Alicent Hightower and Viserys Targaryen, creating the conflict of succession House of the Dragon is focused around. Aegon has actually been played by three actors throughout the series, though the first was an infant child actor who’s not named and only played him in episode 3. In episodes 6 & 7, he was recast by Ty Tennant, who played the character in his adolescent years.

In episode 8, Aegon was recast again, with actor Tom Glynn-Carney stepping into the role, playing Aegon in his later teen years. Glynn-Carney also joined the House of the Dragon main cast for season 2, following the start of the Dance of the Dragons. While season 1 primarily portrays Aegon as a rather apathetic character, the Iron Throne is already shown to affect him during his coronation, as power does to many in the Game of Thrones universe.

7 Helaena Targaryen

Played by: Evie Allen, Phia Saban

Helaena Targaryen is the sister and wife of Aegon Targaryen and the daughter of Viserys and Alicent Hightower. She was first introduced in episode 4, played by another baby actor whose name isn’t available. In her scene, Alicent struggles to calm baby Helaena as she’s crying. Child actress Evie Allen plays Helaena in her adolescent years in episodes 6 & 7.

Saban has done a terrific job making Helaena arguably the most sympathetic character in the show

In episode 8, actress Phia Saban is brought in to play Helaena in her late teen years. Like with Aegon and Aemond’s recasts, Phia Saban was added to the season 2 cast as a series regular, and Saban has done a terrific job making Helaena arguably the most sympathetic character in the show. She’s one of the few figures in the Game of Thrones universe who doesn’t desire power or to harm anyone, and Saban plays the role with sophistication and grace.

6 Jacaerys Velaryon

Played by: Leo Hart, Harry Collett

Like many of the younger characters in House of the Dragon, Jacaerys Velaryon was recast after the episode 7 time jump to age up through his teen years. Jacaerys is the eldest son of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon, legally, though it’s well-known that his biological father is Harwin Strong. Child actor Leo Hart plays the younger version of the character.

He’s a subtle character, but Harry Collett deserves praise for bringing complexity to an undersung figure from the source material

In the final episodes of season 1 and as a series regular in season 2, Harry Collett takes over the role of Jacaerys Velaryon. While not as physically imposing as Aemond, Jacaerys is equally as determined to aid his side in winning the war, taking on responsibility beyond his means. He’s a subtle character, but Harry Collett deserves praise for bringing complexity to an undersung figure from the source material.

5 Lucerys Velaryon

Played by: Harvey Adler, Elliot Grihault

Lucerys Velaryon is the second-born son of Rhaenyra and Harwin Strong, whose most notable act in season 1 is slashing out the eye of Aemond Targaryen. In episodes 6 & 7, child actor Harvey Adler plays the young version of Lucerys Velaryon. His role in the series is very limited outside of the skirmish with Aemond.

In two episodes at the end of House of the Dragon season 1, actor Elliot Grihault takes over as Lucerys. He plays a crucial role in the House of the Dragon season 1 ending, as Aemond gets his revenge on Lucerys by killing him with his dragon Vhagar. This is the final straw in starting the Dance of the Dragons and the climax of season 1.

4 Baela Targaryen

Played by: Shani Smethurst, Bethany Antonia

Baela Targaryen is the daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon, who doesn’t have a major role in season 1 but should be an important character throughout House of the Dragon. Actress Shani Smethurst plays young Baela in episodes 6 & 7 prior to the final season 1 time jump. She aids Rhaenyra’s sons in attacking young Aemond in “Driftmark.”

Bethany Antonia picks up the role of Baela Targaryen for two episodes at the end of season 1 and joins the House of the Dragon main cast for season 2. As demonstrated in trailers for season 2, Baela is a competent dragonrider who rides Moondancer, making her a valuable asset to Rhaenyra’s side.

3 Rhaena Targaryen

Played by: Eva Ossei-Gerning, Phoebe Campbell

Rhaena Targareyn in House of the Dragon

Rhaena Targaryen is Baela’s sister and the daughter of Daemon and Laena. In Fire & Blood, Baela and Rhaena are twins, though Rhaena is slightly younger. Eva Ossei-Gerning plays child Rhaena in episodes 6 & 7, also taking part in the attack on Aemond, with very little else to do in the series.

Phoebe Campbell takes over the role in episodes 8 & 10 of season 1. Rhaena isn’t as prominent as Baela due to her not being a dragonrrider just yet. Rhaena was betrothed to Lucerys Velaryon toward the end of season 1, but his death cancels those plans.

2 Laenor Velaryon

Played by: Matthew Carver, Theo Nate, John Macmillan

The role of Laenor Velaryon is played by three actors, spanning across House of the Dragon’s first two time jumps. Laenor is the son of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen. Prior to that, he was played by actor Matthew Carver in episode 1, showing the character as a child without any notable moments.

Theo Nate plays Laenor in episodes 3 & 5, covering two pivotal moments for the character. In the War of the Stepstones, Laenor is a dragonrider supporting Daemon and Corlys, and he’s shown riding Seasmoke in battle. In episode 5, Laenor is wed to Rhaenyra. John Macmillan plays Laenor for his final arc in episodes 6 & 7, leading to the character’s alleged death. Episode 7’s final moments show Laenor escaping, and common House of the Dragon theories suggest he could return.

1 Laena Velaryon

Played by: Nova Foueillis-Mosé, Savannah Steyn, Nanna Blondell

Laena Velaryon is the sister of Laenor and the daughter of Corlys Velaryon and Rhaenys Targaryen. She’s a dragonrider who rode Vhagar before Aemond and was Daemon Targaryen’s second wife. She’s played by three actors throughout time jumps in season 1, starting with Nova Foueillis-Mosé, whose portrayal in the show’s first two episodescan be remembered for the awkward scene with King Viserys after Corlys offers her to the much older monarch in a marriage proposal.

Savannah Steyn plays the teen version in episode 5, appearing at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding and forming a bond with Prince Daemon. Nanna Blondell concludes the character’s arc in season 6, with Laena having had Rhaena and Baela with Daemon. Laena dies in the most quintessentially House of the Dragon way possible, commanding her dragon to light her ablaze after complications with her third pregnancy become fatal.

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