What 'House of the Dragon' Actors Look Like in Real Life

emma d'arcy rhaenyra targaryen
House of the Dragon Actors IRLHBO; Getty Images

House of the Dragon marks a grand return to the world of Games of Thrones. It follows the Targaryen family as they descend into civil war—called the "Dance of the Dragons"—over who should succeed King Viserys on the Iron Throne. (If you want spoilers, here's what happens in the Fire & Blood book the show is based on.) Like in the original series, the Targaryens sport their signature platinum blonde hair, but what do the actors who portray the dragon-riding family look like in real life?

Here, take a look at what all the main characters from House of the Dragon look like out of their costumes and on the red carpet.

Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen

British actor Emma D'Arcy portrays Rhaenyra Targaryen, the eldest child of King Viserys. As Rhaenyra's character bio notes, "She is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man." D'Arcy plays the older version of Rhaenyra; a younger version appeared in season one.

Olivia Cooke as Lady Alicent Hightower

British actress Olivia Cooke portrays Alicent Hightower, Rhaenyra's former best friend and the second wife of King Viserys. If she looks familiar, Cooke has previously appeared in numerous other projects over the years including Bates Motel, Vanity Fair, Slow Horses, Ready Player One and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

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HBO; Getty Images

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen

The Crown's Matt Smith, who also is known for his portrayal the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who, takes on the role of Prince Daemon, the brother of King Viserys and the husband of Rhaenyra Targaryen.

"He’s sort of an outsider," Smith says of Daemon. "He’s not black and white, there are shades of grey with him, which is what interested me about him."

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen

English-Irish actor Paddy Considine plays King Viserys I, the ruler of Westeros when House of Dragon begins.

"The last thing you do when you play a king is go, ‘I’m the king,'" he told the Independent. "All you’ve got to do is be you, a human, and be compassionate. Lose the crown, lose the pomp, lose the bulls***, just play the person. And when I played Viserys Targaryen, I just played my mum, you know. That’s what I played – my mother."

Considine has starred in numerous critically acclaimed independent films, like In America, My Summer of Love, and Dead Man's Shoes.

house of the dragon paddy considine
HBO; Getty Images

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon

Barbadian British actor Steve Toussaint has been performing since 1994, but his biggest role to date is playing Lord Corlys Velaryon in House of the Dragon. Lord Corlys, a.k.a. "the Sea Snake," is a famous nautical adventurer, and his house is one of the richest in Westeros.

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Ollie Upton/HBO; Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen

Eve Best was cast as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, a dragonrider and Lord Corlys Velaryon's wife. Rhaenys is called "The Queen Who Never Was," because she was passed over as heir to the throne. Viserys, her cousin, was chosen to lead simply because he was a man. You may recognize Best as Dr. Eleanor O'Hara on Nurse Jackie, or from playing Wallis Simpson in The King's Speech.

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HBO; Getty Images
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Ollie Upton/HBO; Kate Green/Getty Images

Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower

Welsh actor Rhys Ifans has appeared films as varied as Notting Hill, the Harry Potter films, and The Amazing Spider-Man. Now, he takes on a major TV role in House of the Dragon as the Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower, whose daughter, Alicent, becomes one of the most powerful women in Westeros.

rhys ifans as otto hightower
HBO; Getty Images
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Ollie Upton/HBO; Jeff Spicer/WireImage

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole

Ser Criston Cole, portrayed by British actor Fabien Frankel, has no titles or land to his name. Yet, he is a skilled swordsman who has a complicated relationship with Princess Rhaenyra. Frankel previously appeared in Last Christmas and the TV show The Serpent.

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Ollie Upton/HBO; Marc Piasecki/WireImage
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Theo Whitman/HBO; BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP/Getty Images

Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria

Japanese-born British actress Sonoya Mizuno, perhaps best known for Crazy Rich Asians and Ex Machina, plays Mysaria, "the most trusted—and most unlikely" ally of Prince Daemon.

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HBO; Getty Images
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Ollie Upton/HBO; Lia Toby/Getty Images
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Ollie Upton/HBO; Kate Green/Getty Images

Milly Alcock as young Princess Rhaenyra

Australian actress Milly Alcock plays a younger version of D'Arcy's Rhaenyra. Alock previously starred in Upright, an Australian drama, as a runaway teen.

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HBO; Getty Images

Emily Carey as young Alicent Hightower

Emily Carey plays a younger version of Cooke's Alicent. You may recognize them from Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé's "Baby It's Cold Outside" music video, or from playing a younger version of Gal Gadot's Diana in Wonder Woman. Carey also had a long-running role on the British medical drama Casualty.

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