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‘House of the Dragon’: Milly Alcock is the one to watch at Emmys

“House of the Dragon” is looking to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, “Game of Thrones,” by snagging multiple acting nominations. We’re predicting that Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith will reap Emmy bids for their work on the HBO series but what about the rest of the cast? Among those most deserving of consideration is Milly Alcock, who was a key player in the early episodes of the show as the younger version of Rhaenyra Targaryen before D’Arcy took over.

“House of the Dragon” tells the story of Considine’s King Viserys Targaryen trying to secure his successor, daughter Rhaenyra, in the political game-playing world of Westeros. As Rhaenyra tries to cement her place as the true heir to the Iron Throne, other factions in King’s Landing and beyond seek to take the crown for themselves in this family-saga, war of succession epic that unfolds a century before “Game of Thrones.”

Rhaenyra is the lead character in the show — she is at the center of almost all major points and, as such, Alcock and D’Arcy play a major role in the series. Alcock appears in the first five episodes, ending with episode 5’s “We Light the Way,” when Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) are wed out of convenience and strategy. The show then takes a 10-year time jump in episode six, which is when D’Arcy takes over.

D’Arcy has, rightly so, earned rave reviews for her performance as the elder, more mature Rhaenyra, but Alcock deserves the spotlight shone on her for her charming, youthful, energetic performance. Alcock was able to convey the wide-eyed naivety of Rhaenrya, who was also capable of childish petulance as she tried to earn her father’s love and, ew, her uncle’s (Smith’s Daemon) affection. It’s a full-bodied performance from Alcock that lays the groundwork for D’Arcy to soar. Without Alcock’s performance, D’Arcy wouldn’t have earned the rave reviews she did. And critics agree.

Daniel Van Boom (CNET) claimed: “The shining star of ‘House of the Dragon”s opening episodes is surely Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra. She’s got an enchantingly expressive face — a simple squinting of the eyes or a pursing of the lips can betray the range of emotions that accompany king’s court politics.”

Helen O’Hara (IGN) stated that even in the show’s most talky, slow moments, “excellent performances keep it interesting, especially from Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as they wind up their run before the big time jump.”

The Economic Times proclaimed that “Australian actor Milly Alcock is just outstanding in her role as Rhaenyra, the young princess.” The publication continued: “Her performance in the role is so impressive that it’s sad to think that her character will soon be aged in ‘House of the Dragon,’ where Emma D’Arcy will replace her. So far in the ‘House of the Dragon’ series, the character of Alcock is by far the most entertaining.”

These reviews highlight a key factor of Alcock’s performance — she has made a name for herself with this acclaimed performance in a huge show. The Emmys have a track record of nominating these kinds of break-out stars in the first season of big shows, particularly in the Best Drama Supporting Actress category, which is where Alcock is competing.

HoYeon Jung earned a bid last year for Netflix’s mammoth “Squid Game” (losing to Julia Garner, “Ozark”), Millie Bobby Brown scored a nomination in 2017 for “Stranger Things” (losing to Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”), and Allison Janney won an Emmy for “The West Wing” in 2000. It’s rare that these performers manage to turn their nominations into wins (apart from Janney, who won three more Emmys on the bounce for her role) but it’s the nomination that are the victories here. All were their first-ever Emmy bids and they all came for their respective show’s inaugural seasons — which is exactly the pattern Alcock is hoping to emulate.

Currently, she sits outside of our predicted eight Best Drama Supporting Actress nominees: Carol Burnett (“Better Call Saul”), Meghann Fahy (“The White Lotus”), J. Smith-Cameron (“Succession”), Christina Ricci (“Yellowjackets”), Elizabeth Debicki (“The Crown”), Aubrey Plaza (“The White Lotus”), Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul,”) and, in pole position, the iconic Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”). However, Alcock is behind several other performers also on the cusp of a nomination, including Lesley Manville (“The Crown”) and Alcock’s “House of the Dragon co-star Olivia Cooke.

Cooke could benefit from this same Emmys pattern but Alcock has a slight edge on her co-star as she has proven she has a bit more awards credentials — Alcock was nominated at the Critics Choice Television Awards for Best Drama Supporting Actress. She lost to Coolidge (“The White Lotus”) but this shows that awards voters are already paying attention to Alcock. Are Emmy voters doing the same? We’ll find out.

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

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