HBO's first Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, has introduced a new cast of Westeros lords and ladies fighting for power. The new series, which premiered on August 21 and was renewed for a second season days later, follows Rhaenyra Targaryen, a princess (and Daenerys' ancestor) who is named heir to the throne against centuries of sexist precedent. Unfortunately, in claiming her throne, she'll have to deal with scheming lords and former friends who want to see others ascend.
HotD's first season has two actors playing Rhaenyra over the course of her youth. Australian actress Milly Alcock has received acclaim for playing the headstrong princess over the first four episodes, and she has one episode left before the midseason time jump. Now's the perfect time to learn more about the young star, so read on.
She grew up in Sydney, Australia.
The 22-year-old actress grew up in Australia's capital, and discovered her love of acting at a young age. She told Evening Standard that she was inspired after appearing in a school production of Little Red Rocking Hood.
"I remember being on stage. I had this euphoric feeling. And I was like, 'I want that, whatever that is. Yeah, I want to feel like that for the rest of my life,'" she told the outlet.
She also said that she advocated for herself at a really young age, joining Sydney’s Newtown High School of the Performing Arts on her own and calling her agent herself to get an audition. "I’ve always been a bit too independent from a very, very young age," she said, adding that when she was four, she "sat my mum down... and told her it was time for me to go to big school."
She won a Rising Star Award in Australia.
Alcock got her start as a teen in Australian shows including High Life, A Place to Call Home, Fighting Season, and Reckoning. Her breakout role was the Australian drama series Upright, where she earned a Casting Guild of Australia Rising Star Award for playing teen runaway Meg. In an interview with Vogue Australia, Alcock said that she had to choose between starring in Upright or attending her last year of high school.
"I knew that this opportunity would be so much more of a valuable experience than getting my piece of paper," she said. "I never doubted it for a second. I was almost too impulsive. I was like: 'No, this is what I’ve been working towards and I’ve been given this amazing opportunity with this amazing cast, with this beautiful script.' I couldn’t say no and I couldn’t let the fear and anxiety of not finishing school haunt me, because that would have defeated the whole purpose of leaving."
She hadn't seen 'Game of Thrones' before she got the role of Rhaenyra.
At the time that she received the chance to audition for House of the Dragon, Alcock was living in her mother's attic and washing dishes to make ends meet. She told Evening Standard that she had never even seen the series' predecessor before she got the part. She said she filmed a self-tape audition with a friend, and he was the one who figured out the connection. "He said, 'This is a Game of Thrones scene. This is the scene with Arya Stark.'"
She also told The Hollywood Reporter that her first day on set was a mind-blowing experience. "It felt like that I had been literally picked up from Australia and someone had just dropped me in the middle of, like, the ocean with nothing around," she told the outlet. "I’d done Aussie television where our whole show’s budget is less than one episode [of Dragon]. I’d never been on a hundred-million-dollar set like that before. So there was a lot of responsibility of having to carry Rhaenyra, and it was interesting because me and Rhaenyra had similar trajectories in our story — the way that we kind of navigated an unforeseen world we really expected to be in, and learned how to face those challenges."
She's a photographer.
In addition to gorgeous shots from her magazine shoots, Alcock has also shared some of her own photography on her Instagram, including both casual and editorial pics of her friends.