House of the Dragon Episode 5 marks the halfway point of the Game of Thrones spin-off. It will also serve as the last time we'll see several actors from the show who've made quite an impact on us viewers.
Don't worry, there's no drama going on behind the scenes. This was all intentional. Episode 6 of House of the Dragon will take place years into the future. Thus, HBO will replace, at the very least, four major characters and a handful of other minor characters with older actors to reflect this.
The two biggest and most prominent changes are with Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent High Tower. Milly Alcock and Emily Carey did a wonderful job portraying teenage versions of Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively. However, for Episode 6 and onwards, Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke will take over. Given Viserys' failing health and Rhaenyra's role as the heir to the throne, D'Arcy will find herself in the spotlight almost immediately. Of course, Emily won't be too far behind as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Speaking of taking over, Laena and Laenor Velaryon will see each character's final actors take their place. John Macmillian will take over as Laenor with Nanna Blondell playing the almost-queen, Laena Velaryon.
In addition to the four aforementioned prominent cast members, several other characters will see significant changes in the back half of House of the Dragon Season 1. Chief among them is Aegon II Targaryen, who will ultimately be played by Tom Glynn-Carney after Ty Tennant has his turn for a couple of episodes. Meanwhile, Phia Saban will join as the adult Halaena Targaryen following Evie Allen's teenage stint. Finally, Leo Ashton will portray the younger Aemond Targaryen until Ewan Mitchell takes over as the character that many see as a crueler and more sadistic Daemon Targaryen, who's been masterfully played by Matt Smith, so far.
Other notable additions to the cast of House of the Dragon include the following:
- Harry Collett and Leo Hart as Jacaerys Velaryon
- Harvey Sadler and Elliot Grihault as Lucerys Velaryon
- Shani Smethurst and Bethany Antonia as Baela Targaryen
- Eva Ossei-Gerning and Phoebe Campbell as Rhaena Targaryen.
House of the Dragon has done an excellent job setting up the imminent and very bloody war. We've already had a glimpse of the gruesome things to come in Episode 5, but the rest of the season should be far more action-packed. However, we might have to wait until next season for the war to reach its fever peak. Until then, we'll have to "settle" for the occasional spectacle sprinkled with a bit of drama and politicking.