House of the Dragon Star Reveals Unconventional Way They Auditioned for the Show

Emma D’Arcy became a household name almost overnight in 2022, thanks to their role as Rhaenyra Targaryen in the record-breaking HBO series House of the Dragon. D’Arcy only appeared in the second half of the first season, taking over the role of Rhaenyra after a significant time jump, but their impact was immediate and it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that they will be in serious contention for some acting awards.

After seeing House of the Dragon‘s first season, it’s hard to imagine anyone but D’Arcy playing Rhaenyra. That said, the audition process was apparently a very difficult one, and it took D’Arcy quite a long time to land the role. During an acting roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter, D’Arcy broke down the intense and lengthy round of auditions that led up to landing the part.

“I wrote a pros and cons list during the auditions process,” D’Arcy explained. “The big one on the cons list was loss of anonymity, but probably that was a way of writing self-hate or something. Then I auditioned [via self-tape] for three months during the pandemic after losing a year of work, so in some ways, I think my hands were tied. Halfway through the process, the then-showrunner, Miguel Sapochnik, called to ask me if I owned a wig. A proper person would’ve asked someone who does hair for advice.”

“I had a bag of hair in my color from another job, and me and my partner, we literally stuck it to my head, which took about two hours every time I self-taped,” they added.

After all of those tape auditions, D’Arcy had to participated in a four-hour, in-person audition, which was probably even more nerve-racking than recording the tapes.

“At the end of that, I did a four-hour in-person audition, and then I didn’t hear anything,” D’Arcy said. “I feel like, by the end of three months, I had taped every scene in the show. Because they took a punt on me, I guess, in that I couldn’t bring an audience. I just remember that it was good for a while and then it was awful. And then after a few hours, they said, ‘Great, you can go home and get drunk, we’ll be in touch.’ Then Miguel came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘Can we do one more?'”

In addition to D’Arcy, the roundtable included Jennifer Coolidge, Jennifer Garner, Dominique Fishback, Melanie Lynskey, and Clare Danes.

House of the Dragon Season 2

It took HBO less than a week to renew House of the Dragon for a second season, after the series premiere delivered massive numbers and proved that there was still a lot of life in the Game of Thrones franchise. Production on Season 2 kicked off this spring, though it could face some challenges as it continues.

The ongoing writers’ strike prohibits any actual writing work from being done on shows and films, causing most ongoing productions to be shut down. Scripts can’t be altered or even touched up by writers until the strike is over. House of the Dragon began production on Season 2 around the time the the strike began and has yet to shut down. That could change as filming for the season goes on. As of right now, the second season is expected to arrive on HBO next year.