It feels like just yesterday that we were driving all the way to our friend's house at nine in the morning to have viewing parties of the final season of Game of Thrones. Three years and one plague later, we're having viewing parties once more with HBO's latest spin-off House of the Dragon.
Taking place "172 years before Daenarys Targaryen," House of the Dragon follows the ancestral Targaryen dynasty at the height of its power. With the Targaryens in control of around 17 different dragons, you'd best be assured that no one is challenging their family's claim to the throne. However, as we've learned from history, lines of successions can get... messy, especially when power-hungry and spoiled family members hate one another.
This is where we meet the cast and characters of House of the Dragon. Who will ascend to the Iron Throne will be delved into once again when on HBO Go, but for now, let's look at the pieces on the board for this new "game of thrones."
Here are the cast and characters you should know about in House of the Dragon:
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen
Step aside, Emilia Clarke's Daenarys; we have a new Targaryen protagonist on the block. While Rhaenyra won't be screaming "Where are my dragons?!" and burning down King's Landing (at least, as far as we know), she too will be longing for more power than what is typically expected of a woman during that era. Note that, by this point in the timeline, no Queen has sat upon the Iron Throne.
At the time of the premiere, Rhaenyra is the only living child of King Viserys and his wife Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), who are trying desperately to bear a son to become king. Alcock portrays Rhaenyra at the start of the first season, before Emma D'Arcy takes over the role as the character in her adulthood.
Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
Smith is up for another Crown, as he portrays King Viserys' younger brother Prince Daemon. At the beginning of the show, Daemon is next in line for the Iron Throne, as his older brother has yet to have a son. However, Daemon and Viserys share a strong brotherly connection forged out of trust and respect—cue dramatic documentary discoloration—until they didn't. Kidding, of course, but the series will undoubtedly play around with the fact that you can't truly trust someone next in line for the throne. Chaos is a ladder, after all.
Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen
Third on our list is the most powerful man in Westeros: King Viserys. Viserys succeeded his grandfather King Jaehaerys (Michael Carter) as Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, after Jaehaerys named him as his successor due to Viserys being his eldest male grandchild. Viserys is a relatively compassionate ruler—compared to literally everyone else in the Targaryen dynasty—but every rose has its thorn. Or, in this case, it's more of every Iron Throne has its 1,000 swords, as Viserys does have an "I need son" ambition that tends to get ahead of him.
Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Hand of the King
We've seen numerous different archetypes of "Hand of the King" in Game of Thrones, from Ned Stark (Sean Bean) to Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) to Grand Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser). Ifans' Otto Hightower lands closer to Tywin Lannister, the cunning and perhaps overly ambitious right hand that tries to bend the King to his whim and desires at every opportunity.
While not really playing a great role in Game of Thrones, House Hightower was mentioned a few times throughout the series. The mother of Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones), while not depicted in the series, was originally from House Hightower before marrying into House Tyrell.
Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower
Otto Hightower's daughter Alicent is best friends with the Princess Rhaenyra. This is one character you don't want to Google spoilers of—trust us. Like with Rhaenyra, Carey will portray Alicent in the early episodes of the first season, before Ready Player One's Olivia Cooke takes over the role as the character in her adulthood.
Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon
Rounding out the edges of the main cast, Corlys Velaryon (otherwise known as the "Sea Snake") is the head of the Royal Fleet and a close ally to the Targaryen's, considering that he's married to Princess Rhaenys Targaryen. Like the Targaryen's, House Velaryon came to Westeros from Old Valyria in Essos, so expect this alliance between the two houses to be strong.
Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
Finally, we have Princess Rhaenys Targaryen as the "Queen Who Never Was." Remember when we said that King Viserys was chosen as successor based off that he's the eldest male grandchild of King Jaehaerys? Yeah, guess who was the eldest grandchild. Best brings a stark cynicism to Princess Rhaenys in her older age, as referenced by the line in the trailer, "Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne." Brutally cold or hot take? A song of ice and fire, indeed.
* This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.
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