‘House Of The Dragon’ Shocker: Actor Whose Character Dies During Epic Aerial Battle Calls Final Moment “A Real Surrender” (2024)

SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot details from episode 4 of Season 2 of House of the Dragon on HBO.

War always has its heartbreaking casualties, and the epic battle that ensued at the end of Sunday’s episode of the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon was no exception: fans had to watch a key character perish after a spectacular dance between two dragons.

Damn you, Aemond, and your gargantuan Vhagar!

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Here, the latest denizen of Westeros to meet her maker talks about those final moments, and what she’ll miss most about playing a towheaded royal in a violent world.

DEADLINE: Have you seen the whole episode?

EVE BEST (Princess Rhaenys Targaryen): No, I haven’t seen any of it. I haven’t even seen Season 1. It’s kind of like when you hear yourself on somebody else’s answering machine; you just hate the sound of your voice so much. It’s sort of like that, magnified times a million. Also, because my background is theater, I’m not used to checking back. I’m impressed by a lot of the younger actors who are now so saturated with screens all the time, and they’re comfortable with just going and looking at monitors and being quite objective, which is a great skill. I get too easily distracted and then sort of disgusted. I’d love to watch it. I hear it’s really great.

DEADLINE: There’s a total jump scare when Vhagar goes for your dragon’s neck. I did scream.

BEST: I knew they were doing that. The closest I’ve seen to it is when we were shooting that whole sequence. The director had everything marked out and they created a little cartoon version of the whole sequence so I could see what we were aiming for. I’m really glad it worked.

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DEADLINE: Did they give you artistic license on how you can plunge to your death? Was it your call to put your arms up like that?

BEST: It was my call. I think they wanted a moment of hanging on and then letting go. It felt like a very natural thing, actually. It was sort of a peaceful moment after all that. When we were shooting it, there was a lot of buildup. It happened to be the last thing that I shot. We were doing that whole sequence at the end of the shoot. It was a special day and then [showrunner] Ryan Condal came in and gave a speech. It was so lovely. But it was pressure. I was like, “Please don’t make me cry now. I’ve got to just get on and shoot this very significant piece of film.” Anyway, it was a long buildup because they had to prep the camera for this move, which was quite complicated. I had a lot of time and I was getting more and more nervous. And we did it in two takes! I was like, “No, what?” And the director was like, “No, that’s great. I’m happy.” She lets go literally and spiritually. It was a real surrender.

DEADLINE: George R.R. Martin’s book obviously reveals that your character is not long for this world. Did Ryan let you know in Season 1 that you’re not going to make it past Season 2?

BEST: Yeah, we knew. It was in my contract that I was only there for two seasons. So we always knew that it was going to be finite. It’s sort of the nature of the beast, really. If you sign up for this franchise, there is a very strong likelihood that you will come to a sick end at some point. I just didn’t know the exact details of when, but I knew that it was on a dragon.

DEADLINE: Were you privy to subsequent episodes? I mean, did you want to know what the fallout would be to your death?

BEST At the time I didn’t. I was like, “Well, she’s done.” But after we’d done the read-through and then knowing they were all going back in to read episodes five and six, I was like, oh, I want to know what happens. And I want to know is Corlys [Rhaenys’ husband, played by Steve Toussaint] really unhappy? Is he really upset? He better be devastated. He better be crying a lot.

‘House Of The Dragon’ Shocker: Actor Whose Character Dies During Epic Aerial Battle Calls Final Moment “A Real Surrender” (3)

DEADLINE: Did your character go to her death knowing that she would’ve made a better leader than Viserys?

BEST: Oh yeah. I mean that’s her whole journey. That’s the backbone of this story … the woman being passed over for the sake of the man, the woman who is eminently more qualified for the job. And in fact, when we started shooting, Sara Hess, Ryan’s lead co-writer, straight away said to me, “There’s a lot of Hillary Clinton going on with her.” And that just feels so right. The person who is absolutely clearly the most intelligent, the most expert, the most qualified, the most temperamentally and intellectually suited for this role being sidelined because of her sex, and then witnessing it happening again potentially with Rhaenyra [Emma D’Arcy]. There was such a strong feeling of “not on my watch, not again shall this story be repeated, we have to change it.”

DEADLINE: Can you talk about the significance of Rhaenys’ look?

BEST: In Season 1 she was wearing quite a lot of frocks and it was only right at the end that she changed into her dragon-riding costume. I’ve been told it looked great and actually the boots were very comfortable and that’s my comfort zone, wearing trousers and simple stuff. It was very tight, though. Sometimes I did feel like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. I was very limited in my movement. But it looked good. And if she looks like an ass kicker, then I’m happy with that.

DEADLINE: Are you going to miss how spectacular you looked in the blonde wig?

BEST: I mean, I just wish that I had somebody doing that wig for me in my real life.

DEADLINE: I would always study the edges to see if I saw anything that looked like a wig. You just couldn’t tell.

BEST: It’s so clever. There are a lot of Aryan wigs in this. In Game of Thrones there was just one. But I’m the same as you. I’m like, where’s the mesh? Where’s the line? It’s a very long process, putting it on because I’ve got all of this hair to hide, then they put on a bald cap and then they paint the bald cap. They are brilliant at it. It’s a phenomenal piece of engineering. But it’s blooming uncomfortable as well, let me say. I had a hot head full of metal pins, which we all try to surreptitiously remove. Steve is very good at doing it. The Sea Snake ends up with about one pin at the end of the day. My wonderful and very brilliant hair person had eyes like a hawk. She doesn’t let me get away with anything. So if I take a pin out, she’s right back in with another one just in case.

DEADLINE: I will miss Rhaenys.

BEST: She is a sexy, cool badass. I’m going to miss her, too.

‘House Of The Dragon’ Shocker: Actor Whose Character Dies During Epic Aerial Battle Calls Final Moment “A Real Surrender” (2024)
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