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What The House Of The Dragon Cast Actually Looks Like In Real Life

Although the final season of "Game of Thrones" might have tarnished the legacy of HBO's fantasy drama series, it hasn't stopped fans from getting excited about the new prequel "House of the Dragon." Taking place some 200 years before the events of the original show, it is an adaptation of George R. R. Martin's 2018 novel "Fire & Blood," a book that chronicles the rise and fall of House Targaryen in Westeros as various factions with the family vie for control of the land.

Like its predecessor, "House of the Dragon" has a cast made up almost exclusively of British and Irish actors. That makes sense considering how the series was filmed in England and it fits with the medieval fantasy setting of Martin's fictional world. While there are many familiar faces in the series, including the likes of Matt Smith and Paddy Considine, there are also a lot of newcomers making their first significant appearances.

However, even some actors who fans would normally recognize look very different from the way they are presented in the prequel show. Whether it's the silver hair that all Targaryens share that alters their appearance or special effects that make them seem older or younger than they really are, the way these "House of the Dragon" actors look in real life may surprise you.

Spoilers for the novel "Fire & Blood" lie ahead.  

Julian Lewis Jones (Boremund Baratheon)

Boremund Baratheon (Julian Lewis Jones) is unlikely to play a major role in the story, as he isn't part of the small council or one of the Targaryens involved in the fight over who should be crowned following the death of Viserys I. A direct ancestor of Robert Baratheon, who eventually leads Robert's Rebellion and overthrows the Mad King Aerys II to claim the Iron Throne for himself, Boremund is the Lord of Storm's End and acts as Lord Paramount of the Stormlands in the series. A close ally of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, Boremund supports her as a candidate to succeed King Jaehaerys but can do nothing to persuade the monarch from choosing Viserys as his heir.

Jones is a veteran of British television, having appeared in a wide array of shows that include "Where the Heart Is," and "Stella." In 2010, he made an appearance in an episode of the historical drama "The Tudors" and had another single-episode role in the "Doctor Who" spinoff "Torchwood" a few years earlier. In Clint Eastwood's film "Invictus," he portrayed Etienne Feyder, bodyguard to South African President Nelson Mandela. Most recently, Jones was part of the cast of "Justice League," playing an ancient king of Atlantis in both the theatrical cut and the director's cut of the superhero team-up blockbuster.

Steffan Rhodri (Hobert Hightower)

Lord Hobert Hightower, portrayed by Steffan Rhodri in "House of the Dragon," is an important figure in Westeros. He is the Lord of House Hightower and rules over Oldtown, one of the largest and longest established cities in the entire kingdom. His story somewhat differs from the "Fire & Blood" novel where Hobert Hightower is a knight rather than the head of his house. He is the older brother of Otto Hightower who acts as hand of the king to Viserys I, which likely gives him a lot of influence.

One of his most famous roles came in James Corden and Ruth Jones' sitcom "Gavin & Stacey" where he played Dave Coaches in a recurring role over the course of the three seasons of the series and its Christmas specials. According to Wales Online, the Welsh actor is also well known for his work on stage, appearing in a number of high-profile theater productions over the course of his career. Rhodri also landed a role in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1" as the Ministry of Magic employee Reginald Cattermole who Ron Weasley impersonates.

Bill Paterson (Lord Lyman Beesbury)

While Lord Lyman Beesbury (Bill Paterson) does not come from one of the largest houses in Westeros, the character still has a notable part to play in "House of the Dragon" as a member of the small council. As one of the few advisors to the king, Beesbury holds a lot of power in the Seven Kingdoms as the Master of Coin. Seemingly taking over the role following Daemon Targaryen's dismissal at the request of Otto Hightower, Beesbury is also the Lord of Honeyholt, a minor region in the Reach near the city of Oldtown.

One of the oldest members of the cast, Paterson is a Scottish actor who has appeared in dozens of television series and movies. Some of his earliest work came in the anthology series "Play for Today," where he played different characters in a number of episodes. He was part of the cast for the Scottish comedy film "Comfort and Joy" and later starred alongside Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson in "Truly, Madly, Deeply" in 1990. That same year, he played the character Mr. Jenkins in "The Witches." Much more recently, he's appeared on Netflix's "The Sandman" and "Good Omens" on Amazon Prime Video.

David Horovitch (Grand Maester Mellos)

In "House of the Dragon," David Horovitch plays Grand Maester Mellos, a member of the small council at King's Landing. According to the official press release for the show, Mellos acts as "a voice of reason and trusted advisor to King Viserys I." This aligns with his character in the book as a moderator who tries to find workable compromises between the competing elements of the small council. As Grand Maester, his role involves providing counsel and acting as a physician to the king and his family, overseeing Baelon's birth and the cesarean section of Queen Aemma Arryn.

An experienced actor, Horovitch has appeared in a wide array of British television shows in a career that has spanned more than 50 years. He is arguably best known for his recurring role in the "Miss Marple" series, where he played Inspector Slack. Horovitch later had a different role in another Agatha Christie adaptation when he appeared in a 1990 episode of "Poirot." Some of his other numerous TV roles include the likes of "Casualty," "The New Avengers," and "Foyle's War." The actor also had parts in "The Young Victoria" and "Mr. Turner," as well as the live-action Disney sequel "102 Dalmatians."

Graham McTavish (Ser Harrold Westerling)

In George R. R. Martin's novel "Fire & Blood," Ser Harrold Westerling, played by Graham McTavish, is only mentioned briefly and seemingly does not have much of a role in the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons or the events surrounding it. In the new television adaptation, though, the Kingsguard is a recurring character. As a sworn protector of King Viserys I and his family, Westerling is tasked with serving as a bodyguard and guide for Rhaenyra Targaryen. He accompanies the young woman almost everywhere she goes and is a great knight known around the Seven Kingdoms.

McTavish is no stranger to action roles, having made regular appearances in both "Outlander" and "Preacher." He's also popped up in a few major movies, having played the dwarf Dwalin in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy and performed in the 2008 film "Rambo." McTavish is also a noted voice actor, lending his vocal talents to a number of video games. These include parts in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," "inFamous 2," and "Star Wars: The Old Republic." His most notable voice role came in "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves," where he voiced the villain Zoran Lazarević. Outside of video games, he has also portrayed Loki in a number of animated Marvel series and films.

Fabien Frankel (Ser Criston Cole)

Unlike many of the other regular characters in "House of the Dragon," Ser Criston Cole, played by Fabien Frankel, is not a lord or member of a distinguished family. His father serves as a steward at Blackhaven, a castle that lies on the border of Dorne and the Stormlands in the Dornish Marches. A skilled knight, he shows his ability in the tournament featured in the first episode where he defeats two Baratheon lords and Daemon Targaryen. In the original novel, Cole is a major figure in the civil war between the two Targaryen factions and poses a threat to Rhaenyra Targaryen and her claim to the throne.

A relative newcomer to the world of acting, Frankel made his stage debut at the Charing Cross Theater in a production of "The Knowledge" in 2017. In a strange twist of fate, Frankel made his film debut in 2019's "Last Christmas" starring Emilia Clarke, who very famously played Daenerys Targaryen in the original "Game of Thrones" TV series. After that, he had a role in the pilot episode of the 2019 "NYPD Blue" reboot and went on to portray Dominique Renelleau in four episodes of the British crime drama miniseries "The Serpent."

Sonoya Mizuno (Mysaria)

Played by Sonoya Mizuno, Mysaria is a former slave who arrives from Essos with nothing to her name. Living in King's Landing, she works as an exotic dancer and prostitute, rising to a place of prominence among the underworld of the populous city. It is here that she comes into contact with Prince Daemon and has seemingly become his close ally and companion. In George R. R. Martin's book, Mysaria goes on to be a prominent figure during the Dance of the Dragons working with Daemon and Rhaenyra Targaryen against the opposing force.

According to The Herald, the Japanese-born Mizuno performed in the Scottish Ballet after graduating from the Royal Ballet School and began modeling when she was 20 years old. Her first film role came in 2014 when she was cast in the Alex Garland sci-fi film "Ex Machina." She went on parts in both "La La Land" and 2017's "Beauty and the Beast" before landing the role of Araminta Lee in "Crazy Rich Asians." By 2018, Mizuno had a regular role as a supporting character in Netflix's cerebral comedy-drama series "Maniac" and also appeared in the music video for The Chemical Brothers' track "Wide Open."

Eve Best (Princess Rhaenys Targaryen)

Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, portrayed by Eve Best, was once a likely contender to rule the Seven Kingdoms and take her seat on the Iron Throne. That all came to a crashing end when the Lords of Westeros and King Jaehaerys chose to pass the crown to Viserys. This led to her becoming known as the Queen That Never Was. Married to the richest man in the land and small council member Corlys Velaryon, she wields considerable influence thanks to her position as a notable Targaryen and an incredibly wealthy individual. In the "Fire & Blood" novel, Rhaenys joins with Rhaenyra in the Targaryen civil war.

Viewers will likely recognize Best from her role in the medical drama "Nurse Jackie," where she played Eleanor O'Hara throughout the first five seasons of the show. The actor went on to have a starring role in the BBC series "The Honorable Woman" alongside the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Stephen Rea in 2014. Best also portrayed the American socialite Wallis Simpson in "The King's Speech" and more recently appeared in the 2018 film "A Woman of No Importance." An extensive theater performer, Best has been nominated for Tony Awards twice for best actress.

Steve Toussaint (Lord Corlys Velaryon)

Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) is the husband of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and one of the wealthiest individuals in all of the Seven Kingdoms. Popularly known as the Sea Snake, he heads House Velaryon and sits on Viserys I's small council as the Master of Ships. Admiral of the royal fleet, he is also related to the king thanks to his marriage with Rhaenys. Corlys Velaryon is a staunch defender of Prince Daemon and goes on to support Rhaenyra in the Dance of the Dragons.

Toussaint, who was born in the U.K. but has Barbadian parents, has been a regular fixture of British television for more than two decades. According to The Guardian, he has appeared in dozens of series but has rarely taken a large role and typically plays supporting characters. He has made appearances in shows such as "Doctors," "The Bill," "Casualty," "Doctor Who," and "Line of Duty." He played Seso in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and had a voice role in the video game "Jurassic World Evolution" and its 2021 sequel.

Rhys Ifans (Ser Otto Hightower)

Despite having no land of his own, as a second-born son and the younger brother of Lord Hobert Hightower, Ser Otto Hightower, played by Rhys Ifans, has managed to become one of the most powerful men throughout Westeros. He serves as hand of the king, making him King Viserys I's most trusted advisor. According to the original book, Ser Otto also serves as hand of the king for Jaehaerys, and supports the decision to appoint Viserys, not Rhaenys, as heir to the throne. Although an ally of King Viserys I, he shows a strong dislike for Prince Daemon and has consistently argued for him to be removed from positions of power and to ensure he does not become king.

Ifans may well be one of the most recognizable faces on "House of the Dragon" as he has appeared in an array of blockbuster films over the last 20 years. His breakout role came when he played Spike in the 1999 film "Notting Hill" and then had a part in the comedy "Kevin & Perry Go Large" in 2000. More recently, he portrayed Luna's father Xenophilius Lovegood in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and then took on the part of the antagonist known as the Lizard in "The Amazing Spider-Man," a role he reprised for "Spider-Man: No Way Home." The actor also had a recurring part in "Elementary" as Mycroft Holmes and was the first singer for the band Super Furry Animals.

Emily Carey (Young Alicent Hightower)

Alicent Hightower is the daughter of Ser Otto Hightower, putting her in a powerful position as an immediate family member to the hand of the king. She is also a close friend to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Having grown up in the Red Keep, she has spent most of her life in King's Landing and is well liked by almost everyone around her. As is the case for Rhaenyra, there are two different actors portraying Alicent in "House of the Dragon" — Emily Carey portrays the young version of the character shown in the opening episodes, and Olivia Cooke plays an older incarnation that accompanies a 10-year time jump.

Having begun her acting career in 2013 in the West End at the age of 9 (via Hastings & St Leonards Observer), Carey appeared in both "The Sound of Music" and "Shrek the Musical." The following year she was cast as Grace Beauchamp in "Casualty" and was credited in more than 40 episodes of the medical drama before she was cast in "Wonder Woman" to play a young Diana. In 2018, she played a young Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider" and most recently was involved in the 2022 movie "The Lost Girls."

Milly Alcock (Young Rhaenyra Targaryen)

Like Alicent Hightower, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is a character who will have multiple actors portraying her as the series jumps forward in time as the story progresses. As the oldest child of King Viserys I, Rhaenyra holds an important position at court and plays a significant role in the overall narrative. With a number of supporters behind her, Rhaenyra is eventually named heir to the Iron Throne by her father following the death of his wife and son. It is this event that serves as the proverbial first steps of the Dance of the Dragons, as a female heir to the throne broke long-held traditions.

Unlike much of the cast, Milly Alcock, who plays the younger version of Rhaenyra, is an Australian actor who began her career appearing in a single episode of the romantic comedy series "Wonderland" in 2014. She followed this up with parts in "Janet King," "High Life," and "A Place to Call Home." In 2020, she played Jenny McGinty in the supernatural thriller "The Gloaming" and had a major role in the crime drama "Reckoning" alongside the likes of Sam Trammell and Aden Young. She was also cast as Meg in "Upright," one of the two main characters who teams up with Tim Minchin's Lucky Flynn as they travel across the Australian outback.

Olivia Cooke (Lady Alicent Hightower)

Although Lady Alicent Hightower is initially a friend and confidant of Rhaenyra, she becomes an adversary as the two grow older. This is largely a result of the fact that Ser Otto Hightower prompts Alicent to enter into a relationship with King Viserys I. In George R. R. Martin's "Fire & Blood," Alicent marries the king and has a number of children with him. Upon the death of Viserys I, Alicent and her supporters usurp Rhaenyra and instead crown Aegon II and put him on the Iron Throne, starting the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

Cooke came to the public's attention in 2012 when she starred in "Blackout," a drama miniseries where she played the daughter of Christopher Eccleston's character Daniel Demoys. She followed this up with a role in "The Secret of Crickley Hall" and was then cast as Emma Decody in "Bates Motel," the horror prequel series to Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." Cooke appeared in more than 40 episodes of the series before starring in "Ready Player One" and "Sound of Metal," alongside a part in the period drama "Vanity Fair." Her most recent role before "House of the Dragon" came in the Apple TV+ series "Slow Horses" where she played an MI5 agent.

Emma D'Arcy (Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen)

After being controversially named heir to the throne by her father King Viserys I, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen becomes a crucial player in the politics of Westeros. She rides a dragon named Syrax and is the only surviving child of her father and his first wife, Queen Aemma Aryyn. Rhaenyra marries multiple times, with her final husband in the novel being her own uncle Prince Daemon, as incestuous relationships in House Targaryen seem mortifyingly commonplace. When Viserys I dies, Alicent Hightower crowns her own son king, bypassing Rhaenyra who had officially been named heir. A massive civil war takes place as the two factions battle to take control of the Iron Throne.

According to her talent agency, Emma D'Arcy, who plays the adult version of Rhaenyra, has appeared on stage a number of times in productions that range from "Romeo and Juliet" to "The Crucible." Their first film role came in Philippa Lowthorpe's comedy-drama "Misbehaviour" with fellow "House of the Dragon" star Rhys Ifans. A year later, they had a role in the movie "Mothering Sunday" alongside actors such as Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, and Odessa Young. In terms of television, D'Arcy has been part of the main cast of both "Wanderlust" and "Truth Seekers," while also making appearances in "Wild Bill" and "Hanna."

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Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen)

Matt Smith portrays Prince Daemon Targaryen in "House of the Dragon." He is a skillful fighter and the rightful heir to the throne according to primogeniture as the king's brother. However, he plays little role in the running of Westeros despite his status, with many on the small council believing that he is reckless and ill-suited to rule. George R. R. Martin's book tells how Daemon went on to rule as King of the Stepstones and later married his niece Rhaenyra Targaryen and supported her in the Dance of the Dragons against his nephew Aegon II.

Before he became an actor, Smith was a promising soccer player and only quit the sport following an injury to his back that thwarted his chances of being signed as a professional (via Metro). Things may well have worked out, though, as he was cast as the Eleventh Doctor for the long running BBC sci-fi series "Doctor Who" in 2010, replacing the popular David Tennant. He played the character for four years before leaving but was almost immediately cast in Netflix's "The Crown," where he portrayed Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to wide acclaim. The role earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination in 2018. The actor has also had roles in "Terminator Genisys," "Morbius," and "Womb."

Paddy Considine (King Viserys I Targaryen)

Unlike many of the Targaryen rulers that fans of "Game of Thrones" recognize, King Viserys Targaryen is not a tyrant or ruthless killer. Instead, he is a rather benevolent monarch who is more concerned with establishing a male heir than anything else. Played by Paddy Considine, the character is chosen to sit on the Iron Throne by the Lords of Westeros when his grandfather Jaehaerys lacks a direct heir. Breaking with tradition, he later names Rhaenyra as his heir in a move that leads to the bloody Targaryen civil war. However, during his reign, the land enjoys a period of peace and prosperity unseen for many years.

British actor Paddy Considine had his breakout role in 1999 when he appeared in the film "A Room for Romeo Brass," which was the start of regular collaborations with director Shane Meadows. Since then, he has been a regular in television shows, films, and more recently, on stage. His performance in "The Ferryman" in the U.K. and the U.S. earned him nominations at the Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards. His most famous television roles include parts in "Peaky Blinders" and "The Outsider," while he has also appeared in movies such as "Dead Man's Shoes" and "The World's End."