Who is Emma D’Arcy? Meet the actor who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon

Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon' (Image via IMDb)
Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon' (Image via IMDb)

The first episode of HBO's House of the Dragon, which starred Milly Alcock as young Rhaenyra Targaryen in the Game of Thrones spin-off, aired on August 21, 2022 at 8:00 PM CST.

Beginning with the second episode, The Rogue Prince, Emma D'Arcy will play grown-up Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. While both series are based on George R.R. Martin's books, House of the Dragon delves deeper into Daenerys Targaryen's ancestry as the last of the Targaryens and Mother of Dragons.

The current show is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and 172 years before Daenerys' birth. It begins with King Jaehaerys Targaryen's reign and how Viserys I Targaryen was crowned King after both of Jaehaerys' sons died.

While the council's refusal to declare a woman, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, as the heir to the Iron Throne led to the decision to crown Viserys as King, the tables were turned when Viserys himself was forced to crown his firstborn, Rhaenyra, as Queen-designate in the absence of a male heir.

Read on to find out more about Emma D'Arcy, who will be seen as the older version of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.


Who is Emma D'Arcy, or the older Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon?

Emma D'Arcy is yet to appear on the new HBO show. They will appear as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen from the second episode, titled The Rogue Prince.

D'Arcy is an English film, television, and theater actor who was born in London, England. Prior to the Game of Thrones spin-off, D'Arcy appeared in popular television productions such as Truth Seekers, a 2020 horror-comedy series by Amazon Prime Video.

Their tryst with Amazon Prime Video expanded with the 2019 action series Hanna. Apart from this, they also appeared on BBC One and Netflix's Wanderlust.

D'Arcy identifies as non-binary, and with their casting, House of the Dragons has become one of the few shows with a non-binary actor in lead.


Expectations from Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen

Emma D'Arcy at an event for 'House of the Dragon' (Image via IMDb)
Emma D'Arcy at an event for 'House of the Dragon' (Image via IMDb)

Actor Milly Alcock set a benchmark by essaying Rhaenyra in the first episode of House of the Dragon, which ended with the Princess' coronation ceremony as the Queen-designate to the Iron Throne.

Characters and relationship dynamics will shift with D'Arcy taking over in the second episode, as suggested by the show's trailers. Social media, for example, has praised both Alcock and Emily Carey for their roles as Rhaenyra and Alicent Hightower, as well as their on-screen chemistry. However, future episodes will focus on the feud between the heir to the throne, Rhaenyra, and the King's new wife, Alicent, played by Olivia Cooke.

Other prominent members of the cast include:

  • Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen I
  • Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen
  • Rhys Ifans as Sir Otto Hightower, or the Hand of the King
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
  • Fabien Frankel as Sir Criston Cole
  • Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling

New episodes of House of the Dragon will stream on HBO and HBO Max on August 28, ET/6 PM. The first episode is available in India on Disney+ Hotstar.

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Edited by Vinay Agrawal