According to House of the Dragon showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, there’s one character in the Game of Thrones prequel whose role is more important than the rest. That role belongs to Emma D’Arcy, who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.
Rhaenyra is the oldest child of King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) and she’s married to Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), her uncle – this is Westeros, after all. Viserys names his daughter as the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, but things get complicated when the king conceives a male heir, splitting the family in two over the matter of succession.
“She is someone who’s pushing at the edges of womanhood and has a really decisive, interrogative eye for how gender affects power, affects how one may occupy space, affects even the right to construct one’s life,” D’Arcy said in a recent interview with EW (opens in new tab).
“She is a person who feels at odds with the way that she is read by the world… It’s like she has a doppelgänger. The doppelgänger is Rhaenyra born male, who has access to all the things that she craves and feels to be hers.”
Set around 200 years before the events of the original HBO series, House of the Dragon will tell the story of House Targaryen and the famed Targaryen civil war that became known as the ‘Dance of the Dragons’. Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans, and Olivia Cooke round out the main cast, as members of House Hightower and House Velaryon, the other big players at that time in Westeros’ history.
House of the Dragon premieres on August 21. While we wait, check out our guide to all the other most exciting new TV shows coming our way this year and beyond.