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House of the Dragon to Feature Nonbinary Lead Actor Emma D'Arcy

Emma D’Arcy on House of the Dragon

LGBTQ+ representation will be at the forefront of HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series.

House of the Dragon will be centered around the family members within House Targaryen and will cover the relatives’ “civil war” to rule Westeros. The main storyline will involve King Viserys I Targaryen (played by Paddy Considine) choosing a new heir to ascend to his throne.

Among the candidates vying for the position to rule the Seven Kingdoms is the character of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, who will be played by nonbinary actor Emma D’Arcy.

D’Arcy is best known for their work on TV shows like Hanna, Truth Seekers, and Wanderlust. They also starred in films such as 2020’s Misbehaviour and 2021’s Mothering Sunday.

Rhaenyra is the eldest child of Viserys I, but the character happens to be a woman. According to the newly-released trailer for House of the Dragon, many characters question if a woman could ascend to the throne and rule over Westeros. As such, the heir presumptive is Prince Daemon Targaryen (played by Matt Smith), who is the younger brother of King Viserys I, and therefore an uncle to Rhaenyra.

There is no clear indication if a nonbinary actor like D'Arcy was cast as Rhaenyra because the character’s gender identity might come up in the series. It is equally plausible that D'Arcy simply felt comfortable playing a female role and their gender identity will have nothing to do with the performance. In any event, LGBTQ+ representation in the Game of Thrones TV universe is a huge deal nonetheless.

House of the Dragon premieres August 21 on HBO Max.

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