Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Emily Carey Shares Personal Details That Posed Major Challenges Playing Alicent On House Of The Dragon

On HBO's "House of the Dragon," one of the pivotal characters is Queen Alicent Hightower. When the show begins, she's the best friend to main character and daughter of the king Rhanerys Targaryen (Milly Alcock), and she's also the daughter to Hand of the King Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). When King Viserys' (Paddy Considine) wife dies, Alicent's father maneuvers her into becoming the king's new wife. Soon, she finds herself married to the most powerful person in Westeros, who also happens to be decades her senior. On top of that, her marriage complicates her relationships with nearly everyone else in her life, starting with her friend and now stepdaughter, Rhaenyra.

The younger version of Queen Alicent is played by Emily Carey, who's appeared in the first four episodes of Season 1 so far. Carey was just 17 years old when she was cast in the role. Although she's been acting professionally since she was eight–she played young Diana in 2017's "Wonder Woman" and young Lara Croft in the 2018 "Tomb Raider" reboot–playing Alicent was a different sort of challenge than what she's faced before.

For starters, there wasn't much of a foundation for the character. As Carey said in an interview with Looper, George R.R. Martin's books didn't give much insight into Alicent other than the fact that she's "14 and precocious." Carey resorted to keeping a character journal and developing a backstory of her own.

However, there were some parts to Alicent that Carey found particularly challenging to portray.

Emily Carey didn't have personal experience to draw on when it came to playing Alicent

"As an actor, personally, in full transparency, I struggled with Alicent's relationships with her dad and Viserys," Carey told The Hollywood Reporter. "I don't have an equivalent in real life."

Carey explained that she was raised by a single mother and doesn't have a dad, which meant that she didn't have a basis for her character's relationship with her father, Otto Hightower–a relationship that's entirely predicated upon Alicent's usefulness for political marriages.

Carey added that she's never had a romantic relationship with anyone, let alone a man who's decades older than her. Believably playing the wife of King Viserys was challenging, especially during scenes involving sex or intimacy. "House of the Dragon" Season 1 episode 4 has two such scenes, including one in which Alicent bathes Viserys and another in which they have sex. Carey told Newsweek that she was "scared" to shoot them, but credited the show's intimacy coordinator for guiding her through the process.

With four episodes aired, Emily Carey has one more episode left before the time jump that will see Olivia Cooke take over the role (via IMDb), but she's already made her mark on the series.