HOUSE OF THE DRAGON: Character Essentials – Interview with the Cast

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HBO Max’s series House of The Dragons creates its own fantastic universe around a cast of mythic characters who weave themselves into the fabric of an immensely complicated and twisting history. The series doesn’t shoot in sequence, so Keeping track of where they are in the tale and in their personal character arcs must be a daunting task for the actors. At a recent press conference, I had the opportunity to ask them about the choices they’ve made to help them with their journey. One question, in particular, surprised them and garnered a lively discussion with some revealing — and amusing — answers from several members of the acting ensemble.

Here’s the transcript:

Jennifer Merin: You are portraying such richly complex characters in a very complicated story. And my question is, how do you keep track of where you are when you’re working on this and presenting to us?

Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole): Very good continuity people who tell us pretty much where we are at each point. You can always go to the monitor and you’ll find Tess there, who’s the – our script supervisor chewing gum and she’ll tell us exactly what’s just happened, what’s about to happen. Because you know you shoot it completely out of order. So it’s, yeah, very useful and then just hope that you’ve not like completely forgotten that you’re supposed to be out of breath, which I didn’t do in Episode 3.

Tom Glynn-Carney (Aegon Targaryen): For me? For me? I think, I mean it’s useful in terms of knowing your whole character arc, it’s always useful for me to have some form of timeline. So to read the scripts and take out those sort of landmark moments that you know are gearshifts in your character’s progress. And yeah, just to kind of remember where those are and how they shift you and what decisions, how that informs your decisions as you play the character. But also, it’s just going of just rolling with the scenes, just being present in the scenes. It kind of does its own job if you just let it happen. Yeah, without the help of Tess and our script supervisors, that continuity team and all, we’d be lost in the woods somewhere.

Jennifer Merin: Character building for your role playing in a fantastic universe like the one created in House of Dragons must be a fun and fabulous challenge. I have two questions regarding that. I don’t know whether any of you subscribe to this, but as I’ve mentioned, these are such mythic characters, I wonder whether any or each one of you has chosen an astrological sign for your character.

Ryan Condal (co-creator/showrunner/executive producer): I made them do that.

Jennifer Merin: Good, good on you. And I’d like to know what they were. Does anyone have a star sigh?

Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Targaryen): I have. I mean such a lovely and interesting question. I didn’t. I didn’t, but I mean I will. Just when you said that…

Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen): Yeah, did you know?

Eve Best: I would say I knew in my heart; I would say she’s a Scorpio.

Emma D’Arcy (Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen): Also Scorpio.

Matt Smith: Also Scorpio, yeah.

Eve Best: Also Scorpio!

Matt Smith: I am a Scorpio in life, but Daemon’s definitely a Scorpio. Yeah, 100%.

Eve Best: Well, because I would say Scorpio men, chaos. Scorpio women, mother. All the greatest mother-figures in my life have been Scorpio. And I feel like that’s an energy that Rhaenys certainly feels like she carries in this season, especially just holding everybody in all the chaos.

Matt Smith: Maybe that’s what it was, that connection between us. It was that kind of Scorpio energy. Well, but you know what I mean, there was a sense of that. Yeah. Motherly, there was – you’ve tapped into something of that.

Eve Best: Yeah, something] Interesting question.

Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys Velaryon): I hadn’t either, but the minute you said it, I thought, well, he’s definitely a fire sign. And then I thought, well, he’s Aries, which happens to be what I am. But it makes sense…

Emma D’Arcy: The game is not just say your star sign.

Steve Toussaint: No, it…it is now.

Emma D’Arcy: These people misunderstood the game.

Steve Toussaint: Yeah, and his favorite color is – no. But also…

Emma D’Arcy: Orange.

Steve Toussaint: To hear – how did you guess? But to hear Eve say Scorpio makes so much sense, because I once was in a relationship with a Scorpio. But that surfeit, is that the right word, excessive passion is evident with this couple, I think. So it makes sense. So thank you for that question. That was an excellent question. Take notes from this lady.

Jennifer Merin: And the other question is, how do the women feel – what were the strongest female qualities, the most “me too” aspect, of your characters in this complex world?

Bethany Antonia (Baela): That’s on us? I think that, first of all, I didn’t choose a star sign for Baela, but I wish I had and maybe I’ll think about that and I’ll decide on one. But I think that we get to see the women really step up to the plate in this season and we’ve seen that all the way through. But now, specifically, in a time of such crisis and such war, we see them being the decision-makers. And I think for Baela, she’s taken so many of her influences from Rhaenys because she spent such a long time with her, and that’s where she grew up, really, when this one was away off at sea. She spent all of her time at Driftmark with Rhaenys and that’s the figurehead that she kind of aspires to be and has learned to behave from. So I think she takes all of her influences from her.

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