Audiences were just getting confident in their knowledge of who was who in House of the Dragon when Episode 6 came as a bit of a rude shock. The series has been slowly skipping ahead in time — a year here, two years there — covering from Rhaenyra being 13 to her coming of age at 17. But then the series jumped again, this time an entire decade, leading both Rhaenyra and Alicent to be recast with older actors. This begs the question: Will the young Rhaenyra and Alicent actors return to HOTD at some point? Perhaps in flashbacks?
Warning: Spoilers for House of the Dragon Season 1, Episode 6 follow. A lot happened between Episodes 5 and 6 in House of the Dragon’s first season. Viewers went from Rhaenyra’s wedding day to the birth of her third child in the blink of an eye. Alicent’s 2-year-old Aegon was a teenager; his sister instantly went from an infant to a young lady. Even Daemon had two children who didn’t exist previously after marrying Laena when no one was looking.
For viewers, it was a startling change and, for some, an unsettling one. After all, they just got to know Young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Young Alicent (Emily Carey), and both were developing serious fanbases ahead of the coming power struggle. Now, they’re just tossed aside for new leads. Fans immediately wanted to know whether the younger versions would be back at some point to help fill in the gaps the show skipped over.
When asked about it by Variety, showrunner Ryan Condal admitted no hard decisions had been made yet: “I mean, look, I don’t know,” he said. According to Condal, the writing team is currently working on Season 2, and thus far, Young Rhaenyra and Young Alicent “are not a part of the story that we’re telling, yet. That’s not a thing that we’re doing right now.” That means the series has moved on, and Alcock and Carey are currently not on the roster to come back.
However, Condal is adamant that he’s a “never say never” kind of guy. Just because Game of Thrones barely did flashbacks — preferring to use Bran “seeing the past” to accomplish the very few that did exist — House of the Dragon is a different show. You never know what might happen. “There are things that we haven’t fully sorted out,” Condal said. “I’m not closing the door on anything.”
One thing fans can be relatively sure of is that the time jumps forward should stop after this. Condal promised that when the show hits its stride in Season 2, “the storytelling becomes fairly in the rhythms of the original Game of Thrones series.”
House of the Dragon Season 1 continues with new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO max.