- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
[This story contains spoilers for House of the Dragon, episode nine.]
There’s a new king in Westeros: House of the Dragon’s ninth episode saw the coronation of Aegon II Targaryen, the reprehensible eldest son of Alicent Hightower and the late Viserys Targaryen. As played with punchable petulance by actor Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk), the character is seemingly a perfect storm of un-kingly qualities: Aegon is a selfish addict and rapist with zero interest in leading the Seven Kingdoms.
It’s a character that’s reminding some Dragon fans of another villainous despot: Game of Thrones’ Joffrey Baratheon. The comparison actually came up behind the scenes, too. Shortly after Glynn-Carney was cast in the role, the actor discussed Joffrey (not to be confused with the other young Joffrey in Dragon) with showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik.
“Ryan and Miguel said if we could make any comparisons to [Thrones characters], that he’s the closest to Joffrey,” Glynn-Carney says. “However, he is not an out-and-out psychopath. He’s much more complex. His decisions are due to insecurities and confusion and rage. He’s just bitterly confused and mentally unwell.”
In comparison to Aegon’s apathy, Joffrey was clearly power-hungry and reveled in being murderous and sadistic — a seemingly bad seed from the outset.
“As much of a nightmare as Aegon is and how he plays against any form of rules and discipline, he’s pretty defenseless,” Glynn-Carney says. “He’s so reliant on alcohol that he’s a confused, tangled mess of a man who doesn’t yet know himself. He’s incapable of making decisions that aid him. His entire life, he’s relied on people around him to make sure he’s doing the right thing. But he makes awful decisions, and now those decisions are going to be made on a mass scale.”
“He’s grown up with the idea that he doesn’t want power,” the actor adds. “And his father didn’t want him to have it. So there’s that resentment, as well. He’s a very selfish person because he wants to escape. I think if he was a modern-day person, he’d leave his family and go traveling around Australia and grow some dreadlocks.”
Speaking of his character’s hair, Aegon’s relatively short look (by Targaryen prince standards, anyway) was a deliberate move to show his outsider status.
“That was from discussions Miguel and I had at the start,” he says. “I was like, ‘I don’t want him to have long, luscious Targaryen locks, because he hates that.’ Like [his character’s brother] Aemond is completely reveling in it. Whereas Aegon just throws it away. He was like, ’Take it off!’ He doesn’t want to be defined by his family. He hates his family because — in his head — they hate him.”
Glynn-Carney did have one concern about the role: The adult version of Aegon is introduced after he’s raped a servant girl (a scene that director Geeta Patel discussed in a THR interview last week).
“That’s a harsh introduction for any character,” he says. “There are questions about whether his heart is in the right place, if he’s a psychopath, or if he’s just confused. It’s tricky because, as an actor, you want the audience to be on your side at least a little. But when I start from there, how am I going to get the audience to connect with me — at least a little bit — as I move through the story?”
Before starting production, Glynn-Carney also got some advice from two Thrones veterans: Alfie Allen and Kit Harington.
“I spoke to Kit, very briefly, about it,” he says. “He talked about how the world itself is massive and to remember that you are just a tiny cog of a huge machine — and it’s reassuring to think about it like that. It’s the truth, you know? Without the machine, you’re nothing. And I had just finished a job with Alfie Allen [SAS: Rogue Heroes] and I asked him about his process with [Thrones]. He had a great time. He said he thoroughly enjoyed working with all the cast and creatives. And Alfie said to enjoy it, laugh it up, and use the time to play with it. Especially with this character, there’s a lot to play around with and be a bit mischievous.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day