‘House of the Dragon’: Milly Alcock ‘Didn’t Know What to Do With’ Her Face on the Dragon Rig

TL;DR:

  • Milly Alcock plays a young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.
  • The House of the Dragon star wasn’t sure what expression to wear riding the dragon rig.
  • The House of the Dragon cast had more to look at while filming dragon-riding scenes.
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon.' She's wearing a gold dress, her blonde hair is down, and she's looking at something off-screen.
Milly Alcock as young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

HBO’s House of the Dragon is detailing the history of House Targaryen — so, naturally, the Game of Thrones prequel features no shortage of dragons and dragon-riders. Actor Milly Alcock had the opportunity to swoop in on dragon-back during the House of the Dragon premiere. And she recently opened up about riding the dragon rig. Apparently, there was one challenge that stood out to her.

Who does Milly Alcock play in ‘House of the Dragon’?

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Milly Alcock portrays a young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO’s House of the Dragon, and her character’s got a lot on her plate from the very beginning. In the House of the Dragon premiere, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) names Princess Rhaenyra his successor — an atypical development in Westeros, which has never had a queen on the Iron Throne.

Of course, Rhaenyra wants to become the realm’s first queen, even if her father’s council isn’t on board with the idea. House of the Dragon Episode 2 sees her receiving plenty of pushback, but she attempts to gain respect by handling Daemon’s (Matt Smith) betrayal. She flies to Dragonstone on the back of Syrax. And that’s not the first time fans have seen the princess riding her dragon, nor is it likely to be the last.

For Alcock’s part, using the dragon rig to film such scenes proved an interesting experience. However, there’s one challenge that arose while bringing such moments to life.

Milly Alcock ‘didn’t know what to do with’ her face riding the dragon rig

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Milly Alcock described the process of using the dragon rig to bring Rhaenyra’s flights to life. And she highlighted one challenge she faced approaching these moments: deciding what kind of expression was appropriate for the occasion.

The actor told THR that she doesn’t have much experience with these types of sequences, making that aspect of filming slightly awkward:

“Someone would take you through the moves of how you’re going to move so you could preempt how the [dragon was going to turn]. Then they would pop you up and they’d blow air at you. It was really fun. But I didn’t know what to do with my face [expressions]. I haven’t done any action stuff. You’re not actually moving, you’re just going to … somewhere.”

Watching House of the Dragon, you wouldn’t know Alcock struggled with such things. But then, the focus is usually on the dragons more so than the actors’ expressions.

And the House of the Dragon cast did have one advantage over the actors who rode dragons in Game of Thrones: the behind-the-scenes technology is more advanced.

The ‘House of the Dragon’ cast had 1 advantage the ‘Game of Thrones’ actors didn’t

Although Milly Alcock had to consider what facial expressions to use while riding her “dragon,” the House of the Dragon cast actually had it a bit easier than the Game of Thrones actors.

During another interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Emma D’Arcy — who plays the older version of Rhaenyra — spoke to that.

The Game of Thrones stars used a green screen while filming their flights, but the House of the Dragon cast utilized an LED video wall. As such, the actors actually had something to look at during production.

“From everything I’ve heard, it’s radically different from what people on Thrones had to put up with,” D’Arcy explained. “I loved it. It’s like going to an Ikea and trying all the kitchen taps.”

Not only would an LED video wall keep the actors occupied while in the dragon rig, but it likely helped Alcock when it came to imagining what her character was seeing and thinking. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Rhaenyra and her dragon in future episodes of the Game of Thrones prequel.

New episodes of House of the Dragon air on HBO every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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