Here's Where You Know The Cast Of House Of The Dragon From

When "Game of Thrones" first premiered in 2011, its cast wasn't household names. However, after seven much-discussed seasons, the show had made big stars out of actors like Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and Sophie Turner. The same thing looks likely to happen with "House of the Dragon," a prequel series set two hundred years before the start of the original hit show. "As a lot of us are quite new actors to something this big, this is a completely new experience for all of us," actor Milly Alcock told The Daily Telegraph ahead of the show's Los Angeles premiere. She noted how honored she and her co-stars felt to be part of such a high-profile project, stating, "This is ... a world that we didn't think we would ever get the privilege of stepping into, so I am just trying to enjoy it all."

She's right that "House of the Dragon" is the biggest thing much of the cast has starred in thus far in their careers. Still, they are almost all acting vets who have been around a while, even if not at this level. That means you may be wondering why some of them look familiar while you're enjoying the show. Well, fear not and read on, because we've got a breakdown of why you might recognize all the major players vying for the Iron Throne. 

Olivia Cooke likes being on TV

Olivia Cooke has built a solid list of credits over the past decade, having starred in films like "Ouija," "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," and "Ready Player One," in which she played Art3mis. She is perhaps best known for playing Emma Decody on four seasons of A&E's hit horror show "Bates Motel," which served as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." Per A&E, Emma was a girl with cystic fibrosis who was wise beyond her years. However, many of her early seasons revolved around her crush on future killer Norman Bates –  so maybe she wasn't all that wise. 

Early in the show's run, Cooke told Interview, "I think I'm better for TV; I always felt really embarrassed when I had to do really big stage acting." She explained that she felt awkward on stage, adding, "I just felt like I was making a fool of myself." Cooke's return to television sees her playing Alicent Hightower in "House of the Dragon," a character engaged in a power struggle for the Iron Throne (what else is new?) Speaking to Collider, Cooke promised that viewers would have complicated feelings about the character. "You just don't know what you're gonna get with these characters," she said. "... Such is the human condition. You can do some horrendous things, but then you can also do some wonderful things as well. It's very complex." 

There are few better phrases that sum up the "Game of Thrones" universe than very complex!

Emma D'Arcy is a TV up-and-comer

According to Collider, Emma D'Arcy's "House of the Dragon" character Rhaenyra Targaryen is the stepdaughter of Olivia Cooke's Queen Alicent and Paddy Considine's King Viserys. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor discussed how their experiences as a non-binary person helped them to understand Targaryen's power struggle for the Iron Throne. "She's terrified of getting locked into motherhood and is aware of how her position would be different if she were male," D'Arcy explained. "... I've always found myself both pulled and repelled by masculine and feminine identity and I think that plays out truthfully here."

The actor is likely most recognizable to viewers for having starred in two recent television shows. On "Wanderlust," a co-production between the BBC and Netflix, they played Naomi Richards, a teenager who winds up in a relationship with an older woman. With the Amazon Prime series "Truth Seekers," on the other hand, D'Arcy played a character named Astrid, and they were particularly happy with the show's focus on friendships. "What a sweet TV series," they told Screen Rant. "It's not just someone's like, 'Oh, I fancy you a bit. Do you wanna...?'  No, it's all very platonic and sweet for a very long time." Something tells us that whatever "House of the Dragon" winds up being, it won't be sweet.

You probably don't know Matt Smith from Morbius

Matt Smith starred as the eleventh incarnation of Doctor Who in the hit BBC show of the same name for three seasons. He's even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest person to play the role, having gotten the keys to the TARDIS at the young age of 26. Toward the end of his tenure as the Time Lord, Smith told Den of Geek, "One hopes for a career into one's 30s and 40s! Of course, I want to do different stuff, challenging stuff, plays, films and, you know, a bit of directing, a bit of everything really."

Since he left the sci-fi hit, he has indeed done a bit of everything. Smith appeared in Netflix's "The Crown," where he played Prince Philip, and he's done films that range from big-budget blockbusters ("Terminator: Genisys") to critically-acclaimed horror films ("Last Night in Soho.") He also played Milo in the much-memed Marvel flop "Morbius" — though considering how few people saw that movie, we're guessing that's probably not where you know him from.

In "House of the Dragon," Smith plays Prince Daemon Targaryen, and he joked to Screen Rant that the biggest thing about joining the "Game of Thrones" universe was all the platinum wigs. In all seriousness, he added, "It's obviously a big challenge for all of us that have taken it on ... [GOT] left a footprint in many ways, and it will be hard to repeat that."

Paddy Considine is an HBO vet

In "Game of Thrones," Viserys Targaryen was Daenerys Targaryen's brother, "Third of His Name." He was memorably killed when molten gold was poured over his head. That "Third of His Name" part is key because there's another character called Viserys Targaryen in "House of the Dragon," set 200 years before the original show. This time, the character named Viserys is played by Paddy Considine. 

"This has been the most demanding thing I've ever done, not least because it's the only thing I've done that's lasted for this length of time," he told NME of the show's long filming schedule, which was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considine may be most recognizable to viewers from his collaborations with Edgar Wright. He played DS Andy Wainwright in "Hot Fuzz," and followed it up with a role as Steven Prince in "The World's End." The British filmmaker told That Shelf that he considers the actor part of his filmmaking family. So, when he started writing "The World's End," he kept him in mind. "With Paddy, who was really funny in 'Hot Fuzz,' I just [thought], 'Man, I loved working with Paddy. Let's write another role for Paddy,'" he recalled.

The "House of the Dragon" star is also a member of the HBO family, having played the mysterious Mr. Martin on "The Third Day," opposite Jude Law, the same year he starred as Claude Bolton on "The Outsider." Other notable credits for Considine include "Peaky Blinders" and "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Eve Best is a Tony nominee

The original "Game of Thrones" had a lot of pageantry and theatricality to it, so it makes sense that the "House of the Dragon" cast includes some stage vets. Eve Best, who plays Princess Rhaenys Velaryon in the new prequel series, is a multiple Tony Award nominee. According to BroadwayWorld, she received recognition two years in a row, for her roles in "A Moon for the Misbegotten" and "The Homecoming," though she won neither award.

Best is also a Screen Actor's Guild nominee for her part on "Nurse Jackie," perhaps her most recognizable role to television fans. She played Dr. O'Hara on the critically-acclaimed Showtime series, best friend of Edie Falco's titular nurse. As she told, her off-screen relationship with Falco helped her to transition from stage to screen, stating, "I've got a brilliant colleague in Edie Falco who is from the theater and loves it very much." Since "Nurse Jackie" ended, the actor has starred in two seasons of "Lucky Man" and helped lead the cast of Netflix's live-action "Fate: The Winx Saga" adaptation.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, she described her "House of the Dragon" character as a bold politician. "She's able to navigate this incredibly dense political environment with such finesse, calm, and effortless grace," she explained. It remains to be seen whether those skills will help her in her quest to control the Iron Throne.

Rhys Ifans has been in some classics

Rhys Ifans has been acting since the early 90s, but he broke out thanks to his role as Hugh Grant's roommate Spike in "Notting Hill," a role for which he was nominated for a BAFTA. Decades later, he noted proudly to Hey U Guys, "I guess after 20 years, one can kind of call it a classic!" From there, Ifans went on to star in "Vanity Fair" with Reese Witherspoon as well as the "Harry Potter" franchise, where he played the father of Luna Lovegood. He also portrayed Mycroft Holmes in the second season of "Elementary," and depicted The Lizard in "The Amazing Spider-Man Part 2" — a role he reprised in the multiverse of madness that was "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

In "House of the Dragon," Ifans plays Otto Hightower. In a behind-the-scenes interview with Entertainment Weekly, he revealed that his character would be The Hand of the King. He also gave viewers a preview of what to expect from his character's personality, teasing, "He's an astute, high-functioning political creature, but he struggles with some of the decisions he is forced to make." He also joked that he felt lucky on set compared to his fellow actors, bragging, "I'm one of the few characters that doesn't wear a wig."

Milly Alcock rides dragons

Milly Alcock's character, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, features heavily in the trailer for "House of the Dragon." The show takes place across a split timeline, showing the characters at different points in their lives. As such, Alcock plays the younger version of the same character played by Emma D'arcy — and one thing's for sure, the younger princess is a dragon-rider. At a San Diego Comic-Con panel in 2022 (via IGN), the actor painted an unglamorous picture of what it was actually like to ride one of the show's dragons. She told the room, "You're propped up on what looks like a mechanical bull that you might ride in a bar or pub and it lifts up six feet in the air and there are four guys with leaf blowers."

While this is Alcock's first major role, she has worked steadily in Australian television over the past few years. Fans may recognize her from shows such as "A Place to Call Home," "Fighting Season," and "Reckoning," which was released on Netflix in the U.S. She also played Jenny McGinty in "The Gloaming." 

According to an interview with Wonderland, Alcock was at her job as a dishwasher in Sydney when she received word that she'd landed the "House of the Dragon" role. "Oh my God my life is gonna change forever!" she recalled saying. That certainly seems to be the case.

Steve Toussaint doesn't care what you think of his casting

On "House of the Dragon," Steve Toussaint plays a character called Lord Corlys Velaryon. When his casting was announced, it prompted backlash from some people as in George R. R. Martin's original books, the character wasn't written as a Black man. However, the actor had some choice words for anyone claiming to be outraged by the decision. At San Diego Comic-Con (via Variety), the actor said, "There are people outside who find it a little hard to stomach that someone who looks like me would play this part. But that's an issue they have to deal with and I don't have to." Well said!

Toussaint has enjoyed a long career in film and television. All the way back in 1995, one of his first roles was a small part in the Sylvester Stallone film, "Judge Dredd." In fact, his resumé is so extensive that he's actually crossed paths with a number of his "House of the Dragon" co-stars before. Toussaint starred in the Netflix series "Pine Gap" as Ethan James, acting alongside future co-star Milly Alcock. He also appeared on a number of episodes of "Berlin Station," which had a cast led by Rhys Ifans.

Other recent reasons fans may recognize Toussaint include the critically-beloved miniseries "It's a Sin," where he played Alan Baxter. Not to mention his role as Kenneth Logan in the similarly critically-acclaimed "Red, White, and Blue" installment of Steve McQueen's "Small Axe" film series.

Sonoya Mizuno is on the rise

In 2018, Sonoya Mizuno starred in a variety of projects that introduced her to a wider audience that may not have been aware of her before. She played a med student named Katie in Alex Garland's sci-fi horror film "Annihilation" (reuniting her with the director after she'd previously acted in "Ex Machina"), starred as Ganja in the indie romance "All About Nina," and creeped out viewers as Dr. Azumi Fujita in Cary Joji Fukunaga's sorely-underrated Netflix miniseries "Maniac." Oh yeah, and she also starred in a little blockbuster rom-com by the name of "Crazy Rich Asians," where she played supermodel Araminta Lee. "We felt like we were making something rare and special," she told The Cut of her experience filming the hit movie. "The tone of the film, it was very progressive — not every film is like that."

In "House of the Dragon," Mizuno plays Mysaria, whom the Radio Times described as a sex worker who becomes a dependable associate of Matt Smith's Prince Daemon. While she hasn't done much press to promote her role, she did swear loyalty to HBO in a conversation with Interview. Calling HBO Max the best streaming service, she noted that she has another project out on the service in Summer 2022 as she's also starring in the film, "Am I Ok?" opposite Dakota Johnson.

Fabien Frankel almost had a Game of Thrones connection

Fabien Frankel stars in "House of the Dragon" as Ser Criston Cole, a character Inverse described as being at the very core of the story. He told Variety at the show's premiere in Los Angeles that everything really hit him at the first rehearsal, when he looked around the table and saw the caliber of actors he would be starring alongside. "The whole thing's been surreal, to be honest," he said.

Frankel already had a connection to "Game of Thrones" before being cast in this prequel series. His first-ever role was opposite "GoT" icon, Emilia Clarke," playing a character with whom he shared a name in Paul Feig's 2019 film "Last Christmas." However, things didn't work out well for the star. "My first-ever job, I had a scene with Emilia Clarke, but I was subsequently cut out of the film," he explained to Entertainment Tonight. More recognizably, Frankel then starred in Netflix's spy thriller miniseries "The Serpent," in which he starred as Dominique Renelleau. 

Tom Glynn-Carney is one of the Dunkirk boys

Details are scarce about how exactly Tom Glynn-Carney's Aegon Targaryen will factor into "House of the Dragon." However, according to IMDb, he features in the series premiere, at least. When he does show up, viewers are likely to recognize him from one of a handful of high-profile projects the young British star has been involved in over the past decade. 

His first big break came when Christopher Nolan plucked him out of drama school to star in "Dunkirk," placing his name on a cast list that included people like a certain someone called Harry Styles. "We trained together, ate together, went on nights out together, it became somewhat of a brotherhood by the end," Glynn-Carney recalled years later to Behind the Blinds. "... Most of us had never been on a set that big or any set at all, so it was a communal baptism of fire."

Since starring opposite one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Glynn-Carney has continued to carve out a niche for himself. He played Christopher Wiseman in the Nicholas Hoult-starring biopic "Tolkein," and he played Hotspur in "The King," a medieval epic that also starred Robert Pattinson and Timothee Chalamet. Viewers may also know Glynn-Carney as a stage star. He appeared in "The Ferryman" on the West End, which notes netted him an Evening Standard Award for Emerging Talent in 2017.

Graham McTavish loves fantasy

Graham McTavish played the fan-favorite character Dougal MacKenzie in the first two seasons of the Starz show "Outlander," and he returned to the time-hopping show years later as a relative named Buck. The actor got along so well with his co-star Sam Heughan that the two created an unscripted series called "Men in Kilts," where they explored Scotland together. "When I first met Sam, I never would have imagined that I'd be sharing a camper van with him, driving around Scotland," McTavish told Oprah Daily. "But that's what life teaches you — always expect the unexpected."

In addition to "Outlander," fans may recognize McTavish from his role as a dwarf named Dwalin in Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy. McTavish told Starburst that he wasn't worried about being typecast as a fantasy actor, and that he actually preferred it that way. "The thing is that I enjoy these stories myself. So to be able to bring those to life, the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned, I love it," he said. 

That's a good thing considering he's continuing his fantasy reign with "House of the Dragon." In it, the actor plays Ser Harrold Westerling, a member of the King's Guard. "So excited to be part of this show and to share it with everyone very soon," McTavish tweeted alongside one of the show's first-look posters. "Well, if you are part of it I'll sure as hell watch it," an excited fan wrote back.

The long career of Bill Paterson

On "House of the Dragon," Bill Paterson plays Lord Lyman Beesbury, a character that Showbiz Junkies describes as, "Lord of Honeyholt and Master of Coin on King Viserys's small council." Paterson started acting all the way back in the 1970s, and he's been a constant presence in television and film ever since. He was in Terry Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," played the father of the boy who becomes a mouse in the 1990 adaptation of "The Witches," starred in the first series of the critically-acclaimed BBC show "Criminal Justice," and led the cast of the short-lived "Law & Order: UK."

Most recently, audiences on both sides of the Atlantic fell in love with the veteran actor as the main character's father in "Fleabag," (who gets married to Olivia Coleman's Godmother character). Speaking with The Scotsman, Paterson praised "Fleabag" showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge for her talent. "Phoebe has her finger on the pulse of a sort of awkwardness, a sort of embarrassment, that we all have," he said. "Although there's also such open-ness nowadays where people talk about every part of their emotions and you can go online and spew out whatever you feel, there still remains a private outrage."

Emily Carey is a flashback scene regular

Emily Carey has made quite the career for herself playing the younger version of major characters. In the 2018 adaptation of "Tomb Raider," she played the 12-year-old version of Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft. A year earlier she played Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman as a child in the blockbuster superhero flick "Wonder Woman."  In an interview with Something About Rocks, the star shared that she was unfortunately too young to really appreciate what an opportunity she had while filming the latter movie. Carey added that she'd love to return to the Amalfi Coast to explore her surroundings more. "I'd love to go back as I was twelve at the time and wasn't really interested in the culture of the place," she recalled. "I was like, 'The sun is out. Yeah! Can we go to the pool?' Whereas, I would love to go back and indulge in the culture."

The pattern continues in "House of the Dragon," where Carey stars as a younger Alicent Hightower, whose older depiction is played by Olivia Cooke. When her casting was announced, Carey hopped on Instagram Live (via Daily Mail) to gush about how excited she was. "My brain is fried. It's just insane," she told her followers.