House of the Dragon viewers have mixed reactions to Rhaenrya and Alicent's recasting

Emma D'Arcy in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 6. Turn back now if you've yet to catch up with the Game of Thrones spin-off.

House of the Dragon has played it fast and loose with time so far, but as the story jumped forward ten years in episode 6, it kind of reintroduced Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower. To ensure the actors appeared closer to the characters' ages, the latter half of the first season will now see them played by Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively – and viewers seem to have mixed reactions to the recasting.

"I genuinely don't understand why they're recasting the House of the Dragon characters. I know there's a time skip, but Milly Alcock is 22 playing a 13-year-old when the show starts," one confused fan asked on Twitter (opens in new tab). "Why can't she play a 28-year-old?"

"House of the Dragon recasting everyone is such a brain dead decision. Some aging makeup [and] CGI would have been fine. I'm no longer invested in these characters," wrote a harsher critic (opens in new tab). "Recasting half way through due to time jumps is just lame," penned another (opens in new tab). "Story doesn't feel cohesive and now I’ve lost all interest. Goodbye House of The Dragons.

Some were happy to admit that D'Arcy and Cooke slid into the roles well, however, with one Twitter user tweeting: "Recasting of House of the Dragon wasn't as bad as I thought. Enjoyed this episode a lot still. Thought the replacements still did fantastic."

"It's easy to see the difference the better actors make on the new Game of Thrones House of the Dragon series. I immediately loved the show that much more after tonight's episode," argued another (opens in new tab). Check out some more reactions below...

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House of the Dragon's latest installment – aptly titled 'The Princess and the Queen' – partly explores the growing tensions between Alicent and Rhaenyra, following the birth of the latter's third child. Realizing her stepdaughter's kids are a threat to hers when it comes to inheriting the Iron Throne, Alicent uses the fact that Rhaenyra's children are all dark-haired as a means to prove that they are not her white-haired husband Laenor's, and that they should have no regal standing. As expected, Rhaenyra isn't best pleased by her former friend's accusations of adultery.

D'Arcy and Cooke aren't the only new "kids" on the block in it, either. Laena Velaryon, who was played before by Savannah Steyn and Nova Foueillis-Mose, is now being portrayed by Nanna Blondell, while John Macmillan takes over from Matthew Carver and Theo Nate as Laena's brother and Rhaenyra's spouse Laenor.

House of the Dragon is set to continue on Sunday, October 2 on HBO in the US, and the following day on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK. To ensure you never miss an episode, keep up to date with our House of the Dragon release schedule.

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.