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What House Of The Dragon's Rhaenyra Was Doing Between Episodes 7 And 8

Fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones" prequel series "House of the Dragon" will know that the series has some pretty substantial time skips throughout its first season. In fact, "The Crown" inspired how "House of the Dragon" handled its significant time jumps.

There's a good reason for the constant shifting; the first season chronicles the buildup to the Targaryen war of succession known as the "Dance of the Dragons," and that buildup takes place over the greater part of two decades. The time skips start almost instantly, with episodes one and two taking place around the year 111 AC and skipping three years ahead to 114 AC for the events of episode three. By far, the longest transition occurs between episode five and episode six. Ten years pass after the fifth episode, and both Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower suddenly become adults (which required swapping their actors from Milly Alcock and Emily Carey to Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively).

There is also a massive six-year time skip between episodes seven and eight, at which point the series settles down, and episodes begin following each other more directly. Despite this six-year time skip being the second largest in the entire series, the show itself doesn't really explain what went on during this time — especially regarding Rhaenyra, who spent those six years in her new home on Dragonstone. As it happens, actor Emma D'Arcy seems to have a pretty good idea of what those six years might have looked like for Rhaenyra and how they might have transformed their character leading up to episode eight.

D'Arcy says that Rhaenyra formed a new identity on Dragonstone

During an October 2022 interview with Vulture, actor Emma D'Arcy described how they visualized Rhaenyra's six years on Dragonstone as a time of uncertainty as she and her family waited in limbo and exile from King's Landing –- and how she used that time to form a new personality.

"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," D'Arcy explained, "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." D'Arcy quickly compared the experience to adults who leave their family home and form new, fragile identities and how they are challenged when you return to the place you originally came from.

D'Arcy's comments help illuminate exactly why and how Rhaenyra changed so dramatically during her time away on Dragonstone and why the character's more protective, more vindictive side disappears once she returns to King's Landing in episode nine. Although this change may not have happened on screen, the new identity and family that Rhaenyra has established will be extremely important for the story to come –- especially since fans witnessed Rhaenyra's actual identity flare up during "House of the Dragon" Season 1's ending, when her son, Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault), is tragically slain.