As the action heads up on Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon, battle lines have been drawn between House Targaryen and House Hightower.

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One crucial figure in the HBO series is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the daughter of King Viserys (played by Paddy Considine) and Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke).

Rhaenyra is played by two actors across House of the Dragon's first season - Milly Alcock (young) and Emma D'Arcy (older).

Without further ado, get to know one of the most important players in House of the Dragon below, including what claim Rhaenyra really has for the Iron Throne.

Who is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon?

Emma D'Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Emma D'Arcy as an adult Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen is the daughter of King Viserys I Targaryen and Queen Aemma Arryn.

In the first episode, the character is named the heir to the Iron Throne.

We first meet Rhaenyra as a teenage girl in House of the Dragon, played by Milly Alcock, and then see her portrayed as an adult by Emma D'Arcy.

According to HBO, Rhaenyra is: "The king’s first-born child. She is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man."

Her sex will prove crucial to the central drama when Viserys has to decide upon his heir.

When he was chosen by the lords of Westeros to be the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, Viserys was predominantly chosen because he was a man, and they would rather the Old King Jaehaerys I Targaryen was succeeded by him instead of the next in line by blood, which at that point was his female cousin, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best).

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

This then prompted some discussion about whether Viserys could in good faith claim his only child, Rhaenyra, as the heir.

With the lack of a male heir and growing pressure from the king's hot-headed brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), who is technically the next male heir, Viserys faces a tough decision – and it's complicated even further when his Hand, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), declares Daemon unfit for the role.

This ultimately sees King Viserys elect to name his daughter Princess of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne.

However, will Princess Rhaenyra ever come to sit upon the throne?

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon HBO

Princess Rhaenyra rides on the dragon Syrax from the start of the series.

As for her character, Princess Rhaenyra is strong-willed and bold but also romantic. At the start of the series, Rhaenyra has a close friendship with Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey, Olivia Cooke), is close to her uncle Prince Daemon, and is enamoured by the skilled swordsman Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

The Princess gets a shock in the second episode when her father announces his intention to marry her best friend, Lady Alicent, following the death of Queen Aemma in childbirth.

A conversation with her father's cousin Princess Rhaenys sees Princess Rhaenyra hear a harsh truth: "Men would sooner put the realm to the torch than see a woman ascend the Iron Throne."

Will Princess Rhaenyra see this prediction come true?

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon Ollie Upton/ HBO

In the third episode of House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra is worried she will be cast aside in favour of Queen Alicent's son, Prince Aegon Targaryen.

However, King Viserys affirms that he will stand by her as his heir to the Iron Throne.

Additionally, her father hammers home the importance of a suitable marriage but gives her the chance to choose her own husband.

Just who will Princess Rhaenyra marry?

Who challenges Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen for the Iron Throne?

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen holding baby Prince Aegon in House of the Dragon
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen holding baby Prince Aegon in House of the Dragon HBO

At present, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen faces two key potential issues with her journey to the Iron Throne.

The first is, of course, her roguish uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) who was previously presumed to be the first in the line of succession due to his sex and close familial link to King Viserys.

The second comes from any potential male heirs that King Viserys has with his new queen, Alicent Hightower.

This happens in the third episode when we learn Queen Alicent has given birth to a boy, Prince Aegon Targaryen.

Conversation already shifts to how Prince Aegon could supplant his older half-sister.

Should Rhaenyra be worried?

Who is actress Milly Alcock?

Milly Alcock attends the "House Of The Dragon" Sky Group Premiere at Leicester Square on August 15, 2022 in London, England
Milly Alcock at the House Of The Dragon Premiere. Lia Toby/Getty Images

Milly Alcock is an Australian actress.

Viewers will best know Milly Alcock for her role in the Tim Minchin comedy-drama, Upright, where she played Meg, a youngster who was fairly lost. She will return for season 2 which was filmed from March 2022.

Milly has also had roles in Reckoning, The Gloaming (Starz), Les Norton, Fighting Season and Netflix's Pine Gap.

The 22-year-old was born in 2000 in Sydney, Australia.

She plays a young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.

Who is actor Emma D'Arcy?

Emma D'Arcy attends the "House Of The Dragon" Sky Group Premiere at Leicester Square on August 15, 2022 in London, England
Emma D'Arcy attends the "House Of The Dragon" Sky Group Premiere at Leicester Square on August 15, 2022, in London, England. Lia Toby/Getty Images

Actor Emma D'Arcy plays the older Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon.

They are best known for their role in Truth Seekers in the Amazon Prime Video series starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.

D'Arcy (30) also starred in Amazon Prime Video's HANNA and Netflix's Wanderlust alongside Toni Collette and Zawe Ashton.

The actor is non-binary and uses the pronouns They/Them.

D'Arcy is expected to reprise their role as Princess Rhaenyra in the confirmed second season of House of the Dragon.

Read More:

House of the Dragon premieres on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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