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Don’t Worry, HOTD Has A Way To Bring Back Young Rhaenyra & Alicent

House of the Dragon episode 6 will introduce new Rhaenyra and Alicent actors, but there are ways for Milly Alcock and Emily Carey to return.

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5, “We Light The Way.”

House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5 was officially Milly Alcock and Emily Carey’s final outing, but despite the recasts the show can still bring the younger Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower actors back. Alcock and Carey have been a big part of House of the Dragon season 1’s success, as their performances as Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively, have been two of the show’s most compelling, and their characters’ relationship has been at the heart of its story. The latter will undoubtedly continue through the rest of House of the Dragon‘s episodes, but the former won’t, as the duo will be replaced by Emma D’Arcy (as Rhaenyra) and Olivia Cooke (as Alicent).

Thankfully, House of the Dragon gave Alcock and Carey quite the exit to go out in. Season 1, episode 5 was among the show’s most explosive, with several shocking twists occurring at the wedding of Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate). It was a shocking note to leave things on, with Rhaenyra and Alicent’s friendship more fractured than ever and seemingly well beyond the point of no return, and that will feed into its time jump. House of the Dragon season 1, episode 6, will skip 10 years ahead, explaining the introduction of D’Arcy and Cooke.

Just because Alcock and Carey are gone, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be for good. Whether the actors will return may be moot in this regard too. There are deleted scenes of Rhaenyra and Alicent, taken from the latter’s wedding to King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) – images of these sequences show them having a fight (presumably over said nuptials), and also a sweeter moment of Rhaenyra helping Alicent get ready for the wedding. These are scenes that would further highlight both the strong bond that once existed between them, and how it gradually started to sour. As House of the Dragon season 1 gets towards its ending and will fully break the pair apart, then finding a way to work these scenes back in (and perhaps others, should there be more that didn’t make the cut) would be an easy way to bring Alcock and Carey back and add to their characters’ relationship.

Why House Of The Dragon Should Bring Back Alcock & Carey As Rhaenyra & Alicent

Indeed, Alcock confirmed that conversations about the return of young Rhaenyra and Alicent in House of the Dragon season 2 have taken place, although she ultimately has “no idea” if that will happen. Though it’s not confirmation, that does leave the door open – and while the story is moving well beyond them, there would be good reasons to bring those versions of the character back. Rhaenyra and Alicent are at the core of the story throughout; as the characters get older, their rivalry more bitter and twisted, then it would make sense to also jump back and fill in more gaps of their relationship, to remind viewers how strong their relationship once was and make it more poignant just how irreparably damaged it has become. Whether that’s with flashbacks or vision sequences, then it could make for a strong addition to House of the Dragon‘s story alongside the older Rhaenyra and Alicent actors.

Because House of the Dragon is adapting George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, which is written as a history book, then there’s a lot of scope for invention. With that, finding ways that add to these characters and flesh them out beyond how history remembers them is important, and including flashbacks across House of the Dragon‘s run could be a clever way of doing that. Game of Thrones only used flashbacks sparingly – for instance, with Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – but because House of the Dragon‘s timeline is so much more expansive, then there’s even greater reason for the prequel to use it. By the time of the Dance of the Dragons, almost 15 years will have passed from Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding, and so even longer from when she and Alicent were actually friends. That’s a long time, and means a lot of history worth revisiting with the younger actors.

House of the Dragon releases new episodes Sundays at 9 pm ET on HBO and HBO Max.

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