House of the Dragon: Millie Alcock on how she learned to act in the high Valyrian style


Millie Alcock, who played the young Rhaenyra Targaryen in the TV series “House of the Dragon”, recently discussed what it’s like to act in a completely invented language, in this case in high Valyrian). Together with the hosts of the podcast “House of the Dragon” Jason Concepcion and Greta Johnsen, Alcock discussed the role of the “punk princess” of Westeros, as well as the third episode of the series “Second Name”.

The House of the Dragon has recently taken its place in the cultural spirit of the time. The show’s ratings have been excellent for HBO, and the companion podcast “House of the Dragon” comes along with the series when it airs. Every week, co-hosts Concepcion and Johnsen interview actors from the series as they discuss the newest episode. In the third episode ​​​​Alcock was the chosen guest.

Concepcion notes in this episode that in addition to learning an English accent (Alcock is Australian), Alcock had to naturally speak Valyrian. Rainira often talks to her uncle Damon (portrayed by Matt Smith) in Valyrian, and also commands her dragon Syrax using Valyrian commands. Alcock noted that the process was actually quite fascinating.

Alcock stated that the process was like “learning a song in another language,” explaining that she would first perform the scene in English before it was presented to her on a printed sheet with a phonetic reading. She was also presented with an audio recording of the dialogue, and by the time she was ready to speak, Alcock says it was like “autopilot.” After Concepcion joked that she must have been talking gibberish by the end of the take, Alcock jokingly agreed and said it happens every time.

The Valyrian in the Dragon House was handled exclusively. Although Rhaenyra Alcock is similar to Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys, it is clear that the latter learned Valyrian with a different accent compared to the former, since Daenerys grew up in exile, and not among the Targaryens in Westeros. Expert linguist David J. Peterson, who works as a consultant for the show and has transformed Dothraki and High Valyrian into proper languages, has carefully thought out the language differences that will be present in the world of Westeros.

Taking as an example the funeral scene of Queen Emma Arryn and Prince Balon from the House of the Dragon from “Heirs of the Dragon”, it becomes clear that Rainira speaks Valyrian differently than in “Game of Thrones”. Rainira pronounces “drakari” with foreign intonations, rolling the “r”, while Daenerys speaks with an English accent. It is such small details that make the world of Westeros seem habitable.

“House of the Dragon” airs on Sunday at 21:00 Eastern Standard Time on HBO.


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