House of the Dragon: Emma D’Arcy says relationship between Daemon and Rhaenyra is ‘a grooming scenario’

·2 min read

House of the Dragon star Emma D’Arcy has touched on the power imbalance between Prince Daemon and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in a new interview with The Independent.

D’Arcy takes over the reins for Rhaenyra in episode six of the Game of Thrones prequel at which point time in the fictional world jumps forwards 10 years.

In her teens, the princess was played by Milly Alcock and it was in these first five episodes that a romantic, incestuous relationship between her and her uncle Daemon (played by Matt Smith) was established.

Speaking to The Independent, D’Arcy said that the pair’s early relationship was “essentially a grooming scenario” as Rhaenyra was around 15 years old while Daemon is 31.

“The idea that a teenage girl is in any way able to consent to that sexual interaction is a mess,” the actor, who uses they/them pronouns, said. “There is no way that power can be equally distributed in that relationship.”

D’Arcy also broached the topic of their character’s recasting, which viewers have bemoaned as Alcock quickly became a fan favourite.

Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy in ‘House of the Dragon’ (HBO / Sky)
Matt Smith and Emma D’Arcy in ‘House of the Dragon’ (HBO / Sky)

“It’s a difficult point at which to meet an audience,” they said. “They only get me when they lose Milly, so they meet me in a place of grief, of losing someone they just spent five hours with.”

They added, with a nervous laugh: “I’m... I’m well aware of that.”

While fans have been upset about the change, cast members Smith and Paddy Considine recently praised the swap in personnel.

“It was brilliant, actually,” Smith said, “because I think they’ve done brilliant work.”

“It gave you a completely different context for the age thing to play off.”

Considine added: “Yeah, I loved it. I loved it because they were the same character, but they [had] different energy.”

House of the Dragon continues in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Monday 29 September at 2am, before repeating at 9pm later that day. It is also available to watch on NOW