Spoilers for the first five episodes of House of the Dragon below.
Out of all the great parts of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, Milly Alcock is the most compelling. The 22-year-old Australian actress playing a young version of Rhaenyra Targaryen has set screens ablaze with her magnetic performance. A relative unknown—her most notable performance prior to Dragon came in Upright, an Australian dramedy airing in the United States on AMC+—she’s certainly made a name for herself throughout the past five weeks. Alcock commands the scenes she’s in, infusing Rhaenyra with a naturalistic, lived-in quality that makes it feel like she has played the role for years.
But to quote Thrones, her watch has ended; starting in next week’s episode, Dragon will age up both Rhaenyra and Alicent Hightower—replacing Alcock and Emily Carey with Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively—in a significant time jump. HBO’s marketing for the series is pretty transparent around this, but given how incredible Alcock is, it’s disappointing to see her depart. The role is a game-changer for Alcock, who views the experience as “completely life-changing in every aspect.” While the show will remain compelling moving forward, we can’t help but feel bummed that such a talent is exiting so soon.
A few weeks ago, Complex jumped on the phone with Alcock for a wide-ranging conversation about her time on House of the Dragon, including those intimate scenes with Daemon Targaryen actor Matt Smith in the fourth episode, participating in a famed Game of Thrones universe wedding, transitioning to a project as big as this, taking music recommendations from actors Paddy Considine & Rhys Ifans, and much more. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.