‘Home of the Dragon’s’ Emily Carey on Alicent, Queer Undertones

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SPOILER ALERT: This interview incorporates spoilers by means of Episode 5 of ‘House of the Dragon,’ which aired on HBO on Sept. 18 and is streaming on HBO Max. 

Emily Carey isn’t right here for any Alicent Hightower slander. The 19-year-old “Home of the Dragon” star is aware of her character might not instantly win hearts — the concept of your greatest buddy marrying your father is a troublesome tablet to swallow, in spite of everything. 

However Carey insists there’s a lot beneath the floor for the younger queen, who they consider deserves extra sympathy.  

“Marrying Viserys is a selection. But it surely was by no means her option to make. The selection was made by the lads round her. The quantity of misogyny that Rhaenyra faces, Alicent will get simply as a lot,” the actor tells Selection forward of the collection’ fifth episode. 

“I learn the books. Sooner or later, she does make some questionable selections — let’s put it that approach,” she acknowledges with amusing. “However that’s not the adolescent that I play. I’m taking part in her to start with of her life. The ‘villain origin story,’ in citation marks, as a result of I personally don’t consider the Alicent that I play is a villain.” 

They add, “What’s so heartbreaking about this complete scenario is these two younger ladies, neither of them are in management at any time. Their lives are principally being dictated by their fathers.” 

Followers have taken word of the highly effective bond between Rhaenyra (performed within the first 5 episodes by Milly Alcock) and Alicent, stirring up on-line dialogue that they may very well be extra than simply pals. 

“I imply, we type of began that discourse,” Carey says. “We have been within the rehearsal room…I consider it’s Episode 4. I used to be sat on the bench. It’s not essentially one thing we had talked about but. We have been doing that scene, and Milly and I checked out one another like, ‘It type of felt like we have been about to kiss? That was actually bizarre!’ And so we talked about it.” 

Carey doesn’t really feel the necessity to put a label on the connection, leaving it as much as viewer interpretation: “We didn’t intend to play it. We weren’t ‘making them homosexual’ or ‘queerbaiting,’ or something like that. It’s simply, if you wish to learn into it and see it like that, do it. If you wish to see them as greater than pals, do it. In the event you don’t, then don’t.” 

“Being a queer lady myself, it was one thing that I used to be aware of. However I wasn’t consciously placing it on the market,” Carey provides. “They’re 14-year-old women, they don’t know the distinction between platonic and romantic. They don’t even know what the phrases imply, not to mention what the emotions imply.” 

However in Carey’s ultimate episode as Alicent, the royal reckons with a devastating deceit from her once-close buddy Rhaenyra — one which noticed her father stripped of his title. 

Carey remembers that her scene with Ser Criston (Fabien Frankel), through which Alicent discovers that he was intimate with Rhaenyra, as certainly one of her favourite sequences to shoot. “She goes by means of so many feelings in a single go — a concoction-cocktail of all of those emotions.” 

She eagerly breaks down the complicated sentiments at play: “Initially, there’s the betrayal of, ‘You lied to me.’ Then the betrayal of, ‘I swear this upon the reminiscence of my mom,’ which is what you see in Episode 2 with their shared trauma. It’s one thing that they bond over. Alicent took Rhaenyra to the Sept and confirmed this emotional vulnerability, and let her see this a part of her that she doesn’t actually present to anybody.” 

They proceed, “After which it’s the betrayal of, ‘Maintain on. You slept with him, and I’m in love with him, and you already know this. That’s not truthful.’ Alicent is all about obligation, by means of and thru. It’s at all times obligation versus coronary heart along with her… I’m glad that I bought to point out how she turned this indignant lady. And I feel that scene is such a turning level.” 

After uncovering the reality, Alicent makes a grand entrance throughout Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon’s wedding ceremony feast. When Carey first learn the script, she assumed the dramatic second wasn’t meant for her. 

“I bear in mind going again to our script supervisor and being like, ‘OK, so that are my bits? As a result of certainly that’s not all me? Particularly that final bit, that’s not me. That’s, like, a girl. That’s not me.” 

Carey felt the stress of all eyes being on her: “Oh god, I’ve to do my large stroll down right here,” she remembers considering. “I’m so gonna journey in entrance of everybody.” 

Finally, she used these nerves to tell her efficiency: “That is type of the final large hurrah that I’ve on this on this present. The stress that I felt inside me, I channeled into Alicent.” 

After that final hurrah, Carey bid farewell to Alicent, passing the position on to Olivia Cooke, who will painting the queen after the present’s 10-year time bounce, starting within the sixth episode. 

Whereas the grownup Alicent is definitely knowledgeable by her previous, Carey says Cooke’s interpretation is all her personal — in reality, the actors didn’t work collectively on the character in any respect. 

“We didn’t even meet for a really very long time,” Carey remembers. “A lot occurs inside that 10-year hole…we’re going from virtually youngsters into fully-fledged ladies. There’s a complete load of rising as much as do in that blend, so it’s type of like we’re taking part in fully completely different folks.” 

Carey is not any stranger to portraying the younger model of iconic heroines, beforehand getting into the sneakers of Surprise Lady and Lara Croft. However “Home of the Dragon” gave them extra alternative to craft a personality than ever earlier than. 

“It’s very unusual, having this a lot this a lot freedom and this a lot possession of a task, after which not even with the ability to learn the remainder of the scripts, as a result of it was so prime secret,” Carey says of the “bittersweet” transition, including that she will’t wait to benefit from the present purely as a fan. 

“I’m extremely excited to see Olivia and Emma [D’Arcy, who plays the adult Rhaenyra] do their factor. They’re each the loveliest folks ever, and I’ve admired Olivia as work for years and years. So to have the ability to hand off a task to her of all folks fills me with a lot pleasure and satisfaction,” they are saying. 

“I simply can’t wait to see the episodes and really watch the present with the viewer, and never be cringing at myself. I can truly take it in from an viewers’s perspective, which is sort of good.” 

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