House of the Dragon 's Emily Carey Recalls Feeling "Petrified" By Sex Scenes

·3 min read

Emily Carey is overcoming fears one scene at a time.

Before playing Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon, the actor had only appeared in minor roles in films like Get Even and Anastasia, so they never expected to be cast in the Game of Thrones prequel series. "As soon as I heard Game of Thrones," they told E! News Sept. 13, "I was like, 'I have no chance of getting it then because that's too much of a long shot.'"

And yet, the 19-year-old was cast in one of the most important roles of the series, playing the wife of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and daughter of the King's Hand Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). "I remember being blown away, shocked, intimidated and absolutely petrified," Emily recalled of landing the role. "But it also felt so surreal that this just sort of landed in my lap."

Emily's anxieties about their performance were only amplified after receiving the first scripts, which outlined the intimate scenes they'd have with Paddy. At the time, the actor was only 17 years old, so as they noted, they "didn't know what to expect."

House of the Dragon Cast in and Out of Costume

But acting alongside Paddy proved to be an enlightening experience for Emily, who spoke highly of the Peaky Blinders star, director Clare Kilner and intimacy coordinator Miriam Lucia.

"I remember being so incredibly scared, so nervous," Emily said, explaining how working with an intimacy coordinator in a safe environment put them at ease. "I sat down with Miriam and I talked about my concerns, and she brought Paddy into the conversation and she brought Clare into the conversation and immediately I was just so reassured."

Emily Carey, House of the Dragon
Ollie Upton / HBO

Emily continued, "I'm very appreciative that my first scene of this nature was with this incredible, gorgeous team."

When it came to portraying Alicent's complicated relationship with Viserys, that came more easily to Emily because, as they noted, "Alicent isn't in love with Viserys."

"I think she has a lot of love for him, but she's definitely not in love," Emily continued. "There's no passion, there's no desire, as we saw in episode four. In comparison to Rhaenyra [Milly Alcock], who is just so full of passion for the men in her life."

Emily Carey, Paddy Considine, House of the Dragon
Ollie Upton / HBO

The most difficult aspect of the performance for Emily came when Alicent has children with King Viserys and finds herself at odds with Rhaenyra. "If I'm honest, it was hard to navigate that," the actor said. "I was so scattered at first, but I think those actors in particular made it a lot easier. Playing alongside Paddy, he made my job so much easier."

Plus, Emily was able to draw from personal experience, noting that they channeled their feelings of uncertainty into their performance. "I'm not a 25-year-old woman playing a 30-year-old woman," they said. "At this point, I'm not even playing like a woman in her 20s. I'm a child having children, so the uncomfortableness that I felt as an actor played into the role."

Season one of House of the Dragon airs Sunday nights on HBO and is available to stream on HBO Max.

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