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House Of The Dragon's Olivia Cooke And Emma D'Arcy Theorize What Their Characters Did During The Time Skip

There are plenty of time jumps within "House of Dragon" — in fact, there's nearly twenty years contained within this short first season, moving from when characters like Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower are young women to full-blown adults with families. Played in their adulthood by Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively, these two characters are introduced in their older forms in the show's sixth episode, "The Princess and the Queen," and they're still not finished with the time jumps at that point, despite ten years passing between that and the previous episode.

There's another six years between episode 7, "Driftmark," and episode 8, "The Lord of the Tides," leaving audiences to wonder what happens with both Rhaenyra and Alicent during all that time. At the close of "Driftmark," Rhaenyra marries her uncle Daemon (Matt Smith) in a traditional Targaryen wedding ceremony, while Alicent is left shaken when her son Aemond (played in his older years by Ewan Mitchell) loses an eye at the hand of one of Rhaenyra's sons, leading the queen to demand an "eye for an eye." In a recent interview, D'Arcy (who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns) and Cooke opened up about what they think their characters might have gotten up to during those six years.

Cooke and D'Arcy have some ideas about that second time jump

As Cooke told Vulture, "We discussed with Miguel [Sapochnik] and Ryan [Condal] because there is such an absence after the 'eye for an eye' scene. With Alicent, because of her public display of violence, she's taken to religion to repent. She's a lot more measured, a lot more thoughtful, and a lot more closeted in terms of her emotions. Having had those six years in the castle with very few allies, thinking long and hard about what she did — she wants to be a closed book. She doesn't interact with many people, and she's trying to wrangle her children, but the three of them are so explosive and unique, and have such different personalities, that it's incredibly difficult. The closest relationship she had is probably with Aemond, but she's watching him grow up into an absolute killer, which is terrifying for her."

D'Arcy had their own idea of what Rhaenyra was doing during that time. "The thing that helped me clarify the time jump is that Rhaenyra and her family are in this outpost, this sort of temporary accommodation at Dragonstone," they said. "There's this waiting to be allowed back into the family home, and there is space within that gap, and via that self-built tribe, for her to claim an identity. Then the question becomes one of whether or not she can look after that identity when she goes back to Daddy's house, which I think is really relevant. Even we as adults who leave the family home and go away and start careers and build lives can still struggle to protect those fragile identities when we move back to the place we grew up."

"House of the Dragon," with all its time jumps, is streaming on HBO Max now.