After a near flawless run, fantasy series Game of Thrones ended with a whimper. Thankfully, the new prequel, House of the Dragon shows serious promise – as does its Aussie star Milly Alcock.
Violence? Check. Sex scenes? Check. A brutal and shocking death in episode one? Check, check, check. House of the Dragon wastes no time reminding viewers why the world couldn’t stop talking about Game of Thrones until its final season three years ago.
The prequel is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and tells the story of House Targaryen (as in Daenerys Targaryen). While whispers of returning cast members have yet to be confirmed, there are plenty of fresh faces, including 22-year-old Alcock.
“I was at a friend’s house when I found out I got the part. I couldn’t tell anyone, so I just silently screamed, hung up the phone and looked my friend in the eye and asked “do you have any wine?,” recalls Alcock, who previously starred alongside Tim Minchnin’s Upright and A Place to Call Home.
Alcock will take the iron throne as a young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. So what do viewers need to know about the woman beneath the crown? “That I’ve been picked up and dropped into the lion’s den and I don’t know what I’m doing,” Alcock says.
If you missed the original series (how?!), you’re in luck. Alcock explains, “it’s a completely new story so it opens up a big audience, because everybody can watch it with fresh eyes. I hadn’t actually watched the original series until we started shooting. I can see why there’s such a large fan base around it, it’s brilliant.”
While the new series does take a new stylistic and thematic direction with its exploration of characters and relationships, long-time fans can expect the same meticulous detail that stays true to the original series.
“The attention to detail is insane,” Alcock says. “Our costume designer Jany [Temime] did an incredible job at including dragon detailing in my costume such as scaling. Jenny was very smart at thinking ‘how am I going to include this family’s sigil and plant that seed of ‘we are House Targaryen’. The clothing that we wear is also very restrictive, which actually helps get you into the character and the restricted within the world that she lives in. Although, I will admit with all the live fire and heavy costumes, it got really hot during filming, and I’m a sweater so I often had to go and stand in front of the fans with my arms up.”
“I can see parallels in the dynamics of the relationships. I recognise the relationship between mother and daughter with my own mother, and between two young women and how that friendship deteriorates. I can definitely relate,” says Alcock. “That said, I’ve never ridden a dragon!”
Despite filming taking place miles from home, the 22-year-old from Sydney was still eager to bring a slice of home to the set. “We went to the seaside in Cornwall [in England] before rehearsal, and I decided I wanted to go for a swim. Everyone said, ‘you don’t have time,’ but I did it anyway. I felt so Australian. It was 15 degrees in the water and I was just in my undies, because I didn’t have any swimmers. It reminded me of home.”
After ruling a kingdom and securing herself a place on the iron throne, you’d forgive the young star for wanting to settle into an early retirement. Instead, Alcock has a few projects she’d like to get under her belt.
“I really want to play a boxer or a musician. I’m jealous of musicians and the power that they have onstage and their ability to captivate an audience with their voice. I’d also love to do a play.”