The ‘House of the Dragon’ Cast IRL vs Their Characters

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house of the dragon

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House of the Dragon has a huge ensemble cast, some of whom you’ve probably seen before (hello, Matt Smith) and some of whom are relatively new to the scene. The ~scene~ being big-budget HBO shows that are poised to take over pop culture for the next several years. And considering House of the Dragon went allllll the way out when it comes to hair, makeup, and costumes, you might be wondering what everyone looks like off-screen. Answer: shockingly different! Check out the cast compared to their on-screen counterparts (yes, including the Crabfeeder), and FYI that we’ll be adding to this list each week as new characters emerge since this show takes ensemble to a whole new level.

Note: House of the Dragon re-cast several key characters midway through the season, which is why you’ll be seeing multiple Alicent Hightowers and Rhaenyra Targaryens on this list. If this comes as a shock to you/is brand! new! information, co-creator Ryan Condal told Insider the decision was actually made “early on” in production, explaining, “It’s a conceit but I think it does work, having watched it a bunch of times. The people that are truly children in this are the ones that get recast. And the people that are already adults when we meet them, we age them up through hair and makeup and sometimes the actors change their voice.”

On that note…

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Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower

Emily Carey plays Alicent Hightower, second wife of King Viserys I Targaryen, daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, and former BFF of Rhaenyra.

2 of 26

Emily Carey IRL

Emily filmed House of the Dragon in April 2021, and this is her at the show’s premiere in August 2022. The show ended up recasting the character of Alicent mid-way through the series, which brings us to…

3 of 26

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower

Olivia plays grown-up Alicent, and it’s truly wild how much she looks like Emily—at least on House of the Dragon.

4 of 26

Olivia Cooke IRL

Her vibes at the HOTD premiere are impeccable, and by that I mean I’m about to run to the bathroom and give myself some ill-advised bangs thanks to this photo.

5 of 26

Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen

Milly plays King Viserys’s eldest daughter and heir Rhaenyra Targaryen, who has some major competition when it comes to securing her place on the Iron Throne.

6 of 26

Milly Alcock IRL

The Targaryen vibes are still strong, tbh.

Also, while Millie was 21 when HOTD started production, she was also re-cast midway through the season as her character aged.

7 of 26

Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen

Behold, adult Rhaenyra!

8 of 26

Emma D’Arcy IRL

Wow, been searching for my fall mood and here it is.

9 of 26

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen

Matt Smith plays Daemon Targaryen, the somewhat petulant and pretty violent younger brother of King Viserys who is less than thrilled when his niece is named heir to the Iron Throne.

10 of 26

Matt Smith IRL

The assignment was “Crispin Glover in Charlie’s Angels.”

11 of 26

Paddy Considine as King Viserys

Paddy plays King Viserys, who’s sitting firmly on the Iron Throne despite the fact that it keeps attacking him.

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Paddy Considine IRL

Not sure what’s happening with this red carpet pose at the House of the Dragons premiere, but I’m here for it.

13 of 26

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon

Here’s Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, a Targaryen ally who begins the season trying to get the king to marry his daughter (and then plots with Daemon when that plan fails).

14 of 26

Steve Toussaint IRL

If you look up dashing in the dictionary, this picture comes up.

15 of 26

Eve Best as Rhaenys Targaryen

Eve plays Rhaenys Targaryen, aka The Queen That Never Was, who was once a contender for the Iron Throne. Rhaenys is married to Lord Corlys Velaryon and has doubts about whether Rhaenyra will actually be Queen.

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Eve Best IRL

She might not be Queen on HOTD, but she is ruling this carpet (heh).

17 of 26

Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria

Sonoya Mizuno plays the role of Mysaria, a pleasure house worker and close companion of Daemon Targaryen—who moves with him to Dragonstone.

18 of 26

Sonoya Mizuno IRL

Obsessed with everything about this look, will be recreating it for Thanksgiving 2022.

19 of 26

Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower

Otto Hightower is the Hand of the King and definitely has his eye on power. That is, when he doesn’t have his eye on his facial hair.

20 of 26

Rhys Ifans IRL

Damn, okay he could not look more different in real life.

21 of 26

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole

Fabien plays Ser Criston Cole, a knight who is hand picked by Rhaenyra to join the Kingsguard.

23 of 26

Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling

Outlander fans are familiar with Graham McTavish, but here he is decked out as Ser Harrold Westerling of the Kingsguard!

24 of 26

Graham McTavish IRL

We must protect this mustache at all costs.

25 of 26

Daniel Scott-Smith as The Crabfeeder

We don’t know much about the Crabfeeder (other than his penchant for feeding people to crabs), but if you’re wondering what he looks like under that mask…

26 of 26

Daniel Scott-Smith IRL

There are not many photos of Daniel out there (he doesn’t appear to have been at the House of the Dragon premiere), but this is from his IMDb!

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