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Star of the HBO series “House of the Dragon” Milly Alcock Addresses Misogyny

Although House of the Dragon places women at the center of its narrative, this does not mean that it ignores the effects of patriarchy, misogyny, and violence on women.

Writer George R. R. Martin has previously defended the program against sexism charges by arguing that “history” is more “misogynistic” and that his use of historical events may give his work a sexist appearance to some viewers.

Star of the HBO series “House of the Dragon” Milly Alcock Addresses Misogyny

In a Newsweek interview, Milly Alcock, who plays Rhaenyra Targaryen when she is younger, also discussed how misogyny is portrayed in House of the Dragon.

Alcock stated that the themes of misogyny and patriarchy were essential to explore, citing the friendship between her character and Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey, later Olivia Cooke), and the way its fallout leads to the Dance of the Dragons in Martin’s books.

According to Alcock, who spoke to Newsweek, “I think [their friendship is] really central to the main themes of the show, which are patriarchy and misogyny.” “Because in the end, despite how complex their relationship is and how much internalized misogyny these two women must battle, the choices made by men lead to the end of their friendship.

And because they don’t live in the modern world that we do, they don’t have a word for that or a comprehension of what [their] struggle is, which ultimately underlies everything in the show.

Rhaenyra and Alicent were once close friends, but their relationship was strained when Rhaenyra’s father decided to make Alicent his second wife. In Martin’s books, the two later developed a rivalry when Alicent attempted to challenge Rhaenyra’s claim to the Iron Throne and believed that her eldest son should rule instead.

House of the Dragon also depicts violence against women in various ways, but its first episode stands out for it when King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) forces his wife Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke) to undergo an unnecessary cesarean section, which leads to Aemma’s death.

The Princess Rhaenys (Eve Best) being passed over for the throne in favor of her male cousin, and Rhaenyra later having to deal with her feelings as the people of Westeros believe she won’t be a capable ruler, are all less overtly violent ways in which the show addresses the lack of faith in women as leaders.

When asked about the treatment of its female characters and its violence against women, Alcock responded, “I think that the show isn’t trying to recontextualize Westeros into this suddenly very feminine landscape, because it’s not, and it won’t be.”

Alcock continued, “I think that it’s done a wonderful job of being honest about the pain that these women suffered, and in the end it makes the audience empathize with that. “And I think that is a stronger narrative than kind of not paying respect to the amount of pain [they have] experienced and disregarding that these women were kind of put into place and had to deal with [that pain],” she continued.

Rhaenyra has me “captured,” but I don’t like the scenes where she’s riding a dragon.

In the first half of the season, Rhaenyra is portrayed by Alcock; however, when the character reaches adulthood, Emma D’Arcy will take over.

She spoke about how much she loved playing the dragon rider, saying: “I think that we see her ultimately completely transformed into this adult throughout the series. She’s an incredible character, she’s very lovable in the way that she moves throughout the world.

I was impressed by her courage and intelligence, and I must admit that I was a little intimidated to play such a role because I didn’t want to mess it up.

Although Alcock enjoyed playing the Targaryen, she didn’t enjoy the scenes in which she would be performing what they do best: riding dragons.

Alcock admitted that filming the scenes in which Rhaenyra rides her dragon, Syrax, “wasn’t my favorite because you’re alone, you’re alone on a sound stage, kind of hoisted into the air and bopping about trying to figure out what to do with your face.”

It was an odd experience, and I won’t ever do it again. Alcock remarked that it resembled a kid’s ride in some ways. Not even a ride, you know, those little coin-operated machines outside some malls? That’s how it was.

Alcock preferred learning High Valyrian, one of the languages used in Martin’s books and the preferred language of the Targaryens.

“I always compare it to trying to learn a song in a foreign language; in the end, you just want to know it and learn what we say in English. I had a lot more fun with that than I did with the dragons, she said.

Rhaenyra’s and Emma D’Arcy’s Taking Over: On Crafting Her Own Narrative

When her father, King Viserys I, decides to name her as his heir rather than his brother Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), Rhaenyra is a teenager in the film in which Alcock plays her.

Throughout the course of the season, the program follows several years before jumping ahead in time when Emma D’Arcy assumes Alcock’s position.

Alcock had her own way of referring to the episodes while creating the show in order to capture how Rhaenyra experienced her adolescence.

Alcock claimed that the titles she gave each episode were “accurate depictions of the hormonal landscape that occurs in adolescence.” “Tragedy came first, followed by betrayal, rage, lust, and acceptance. I kind of re-entered each episode in this way, asking myself, “What was her basic emotional state within that?”

“In [episode] one, her life falls apart because she was a part of a terrible tragedy. In episodes three and four, she’s just angsty as f**k. In episodes five, she sort of learns how to play the game, but by her own rules.”

Alcock continued by acknowledging that she and her successor, D’Arcy, “didn’t talk” because the showrunners did not want the actors, Carey and Cooke included, to influence one another’s interpretations of their roles.

I’ve seen Emma and Olivia’s performance and I think that they’re phenomenal. They bring such a nuance to it and awaken the maturity that I couldn’t have translated onto the screen, Alcock said. “[We] just had to trust that that was the right decision to make,” he added. Therefore, “I think it kind of benefited us in a way that we didn’t have to think about anything that came [after],” adding that “the casting was just incredible,” made it possible for us to focus solely on our performances.

Alcock believes that even though D’Arcy is taking over the role, she would be open to returning to the show, so it’s not necessarily the end for her.

When asked if she would consider playing the character again in the future, Alcock responded, “If they would have me, I’d love to come back. I adore Rhaenyra, and I adore the cast, and I adore the way that they’ve told this story.” But I’m aware that Emma will carry on Rhaenyra’s story for the upcoming season or whatever.

I don’t want to detract from that performance in any way, you understand what I mean? I guess I have to let her go.

Sundays at 9 p.m., House of the Dragon is broadcast. HBO and HBO Max’s ET.

Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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