Fabien Frankel and Ewan Mitchell in House of the Dragon Season 2

House of the Dragon: Matt Smith Confirms “Grief Is the Great Catalyst” of Season Two

Season Two of House of the Dragon will be chock full of grief and trauma, according to the show’s actors. Reactor Magazine attended a press conference where showrunner Ryan Condal and several cast members answered questions about the series’ upcoming episodes. No spoilers were given, of course, but we did get some teasers of how certain characters will behave in season two, as well as confirmation on how many new dragons we’ll see.

Matt Smith, who plays uncle-husband Daemon Targaryen, shared a takeaway he got from his co-star Emma d’Arcy about season two. “Grief is the great catalyst of the season in many ways,” he said, before expanding on how Daemon is impacted by the death of his brother, King Viserys, who was played by Paddy Considine in season one.

“Everything is about his brother, really,” said Smith. “Every single action is often related to him, and I think it allows us to into a version of Daemon which is exposed and honest and he just misses him and he doesn’t know how to communicate that. It’s quite simple, really.”

Fabien Frankel and Ewan Mitchell in House of the Dragon Season 2
Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO

Are you a fan of Ser Criston Cole, the white cloak played by Fabien Frankel? According to Frankel, you might not like him so much in the near future. “Someone said to me at the end of last year […] I hope you’re looking forward to being the most hated character on television!” he said, before clamming up.

Condal talked more about Ser Criston and why he acts like he does. “He’s a self-made man. He got to where he is based on his talents,” said Condal. “He’s embraced that and he wears this white cloak like it’s a millstone around his neck. He’s quite proud of it, but it’s also this burden that he carries and I think […] he’s a deeply interesting character in that way. And definitely now that we’ve moved from peacetime into wartime, it really applies I think, very interesting pressure to his character.”

olivia cooke and ewan mitchell in House of the Dragon Season Two
Credit: Theo Whitman/HBO

And what about for Aemond, the one-eyed son of Alicent Hightower who, as we saw at the end of season one, was responsible—along with his behemoth dragon—for the death of one of Rhaenyra’s sons.

Ewan Mitchel, who plays Aemond, had this to share about his character’s psyche: “He was the only kid in the family who wasn’t given a dragon egg growing up […] and there’s this dynamic that as a person grows, so does the hatchling, and they are very much extensions of each other. And Aemond was different. He didn’t get an egg, and he was bullied for being different. We’ve got the oldest baddest, hardened dragon in the known world in Vhagar. She’s like enormous, she can’t fit within the confines of any castle wall, and that’s like Aemond—he can’t fit in anywhere either. And so they’re able to identify with each other. That idea of standing in the face of adversity, a ten-year-old claiming this behemoth—it’s a tremendous feat of courage and this drive is very evident in that, and going into season two, you’re going to see that drive continue and it’s going to be scary.”

Speaking of Vhagar, Condal also confirmed that we’ll see five new dragons in the upcoming episodes, a nice complement to the smorgasbord of grief and trauma we’ll see as the story unfolds.

Season two of House of the Dragon premieres on HBO on June 16, 2024, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, and will also be available for streaming on Max. icon-paragraph-end

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