We’re still more than a year—even factoring in the nebulous flow of time usually observed in the vicinity of author George R.R. Martin—away from the release of HBO’s prequel series to its unprecedented tits-and-dragons hit Game Of Thrones, House Of The Dragon. But pre-production on the series is moving forward all the same, with Variety reporting a couple of major casting moves on the Targaryen-focused prequel, bringing some serious TV ringers into the mix in the process.
Specifically, the series has just added Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, and Emma D’Arcy to its roster of past-based dragon fans, with the The Crown and Doctor Who star playing Prince Daemon, who sounds like a pretty classic Targaryen Bad Boy type: A “peerless warrior and a dragonrider” who is also, you know…Murderously psychopathic? (The implication is there, anyway.) Cooke, meanwhile—fresh off her performance in Amazon’s Sound Of Metal—will play Alicent Hightower, described in press materials as “the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms.” (And, hey, HBO: It’s 2020 and/or past dragon times; can we not get past describing female characters first and foremost in terms of their comeliness?) Fans of Martin’s extremely well-documented history of this period of Westeros history will know, though, that Lady Hightower pretty quickly becomes Queen Alicent, helping to kick off the infamous Dance Of Dragons that the show will presumably be building towards.
Speaking of: D’Arcy, a well-known stage actress, will be supplying another major spark in that particular conflagration, playing Targaryen heir Princess Rhaenyra, also a dragonrider and all around badass. The conflict between Alicent and Rhaenyra, first under the watch of Paddy Considine’s King Viserys, and then, uh, not, provides most of the fuel for the brewing battles ahead. (And if you need to know more than that, well, there is a book—or you could just wait until 2022, when House Of The Dragon is expected to arrive at HBO.)