‘House of the Dragon’ star admits struggles with complex character relationships

Emily Carey as Lady Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
Ollie Upton/ HBO via Warner Media

Emily Carey shares how difficult it is to represent her character’s complicated relationships in House of the Dragon. She plays Alicent Hightower, daughter of the king’s Hand Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), and the task is more challenging than one might assume.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Carey explained what it was like playing a character so different from herself.

“As an actor, personally, in full transparency, I struggled with Alicent’s relationships with her dad and Viserys. I don’t have an equivalent in real life. I don’t have a dad. And I also have never had a romantic interest — especially not with an older man. So to navigate those relationships and the journeys that those individual relationships go on was super challenging. As actors, we bring a lot of ourselves to the people that we play. I want it to be as grounded and as truthful as possible. But especially when it’s put into a world and dialect you don’t normally speak in, you can feel very far removed from the characters. Of course, none of it’s real and as actors we love to step out of our comfort zones. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun trying to navigate those relationships. But it was difficult at times, I’ll be honest.”

After the death of King Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) wife, her father makes her console the grieving king and that relationship eventually turns into marriage. Alicent is pushed and pulled in many directions because of the men in her life, but it’s Otto Hightower who’s really controlling things to ensure his grandson will become the next king.

Carey’s separation from the role could be helping her in pulling it off convincingly. Alicent starts off the show as innocent. She’s Rhaenyra’s (Milly Alcock) best friend and isn’t shown to have a lust for power. By romancing the king, the character is stepping out of her comfort zone in much the same way Carey is.

The drama is going over well with stellar ratings and an overall positive reaction to the series. Kit Harrington praised the Game of Thrones prequel series and the fandom went wild after seeing Jon Snow’s seal of approval.

All is not yet over for Alicent, however, and things are heating up in the preview for House of the Dragon episode five. Otto is seen being even more desperate to secure Alicent’s son’s succession, and Alicent is looking way more distressed than she ever has. Things are really starting to heat up.