HBO has just released a new House of the Dragon clip for next week’s episode that reveals Emma D’Arcy’s first scene as Rhaenyra. D’Arcy will be taking over the role of Rhaenyra for the rest of the season, after Milly Alcock portrayed the character for the first five episodes of season one. Ahead of this switch, HBO released a clip of D’Arcy’s debut that depicts a scene of a childbirth nightmare.
The clip opens with Rhaenyra holding a newborn baby boy, and walking in visible physical discomfort. It is clear that she has just given birth, and she is carrying the baby because an undisclosed “she” desires to see the newborn. It is heavily implied that “she” refers to Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), who is daughter of Sir Otto Hightower and second wife to King Viserys I Targaryen. Rhaenyra’s husband Laenor (John MacMillan) escorts and supports her while making small-talk about birth. He asks Rhaenyra “Was it terribly painful?”, and when that receives no answer from her, he quips, “I took a lance to the shoulder once,” to which she sarcastically responds “My deepest sympathies.” He states, “I am glad I’m not a woman,” before Rhaenyra suddenly buckles over in pain while urging Laenor to keep walking. The scene is very effective at highlighting and foreshadowing the growing strife between Rhaenyra and Alicent, which is a tense relationship that fuels a civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons.”
There is a significant 10-year time jump between episode 5 and episode 6, which required HBO to make some re-casting moves in order to account for the young characters who have now become adults. Besides D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke replaces Emily Carey as Alicent, John MacMillan is replacing Theo Nate as Laenor Velaryon, and Tom Glynn-Carney will portray adult Aegon Targaryen. This also means that there will be a batch of new faces, mostly the children of Rhaenyra and Alicent, who will certainly be making regular appearances for the rest of the series.
Emma D’Arcy is an English actor who is quickly becoming a rising star. Besides House of the Dragon, they have also appeared in several other television productions, including Truth Seekers, Amazon Prime’s series Hanna, and the Netflix series Wanderlust. They will presumably maintain the role of Rhaenyra for the remainder of the series.
House of the Dragon is a prequel to the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, which aired for a total of eight seasons. Set 200 years before Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon follows the story of Princess Rhaenyra who is an ancestor to Game of Thrones Daenery’s Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). Rhaenyra is declared the rightful heir to the Iron Throne by her father, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine). But when Rhaenyra’s childhood best friend Alicent gives birth to a male heir, the realm becomes torn over the rightful claim to the throne, which leads to one of the bloodiest civil wars in Westeros’ history.
New episodes of House of the Dragon air every Sunday on HBO and stream on HBO Max. Watch the episode 6 teaser clip below: