Rhaenyra isn't afraid of getting a little dirty.
Sure, the princess, played by Emma D'Arcy and Milly Alcock, in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, but that doesn't mean their character Rhaenyra is a damsel in distress. In fact, Rhaenyra is pretty similar to Maisie Williams' tomboy character Arya Stark. "They're both women who don't behave the way that they're expected to," Milly told Entertainment Weekly. "There is that rebellious and cheeky spirit that they both possess, which I think is why people are going to adore her."
According to Emma, Rhaenyra is "obsessed with masculinity" as the princess equates it to freedom. Rhaenyra even dislikes the nickname the Realm's Delight, a moniker given to her by the people of Westeros, because it "implies a passivity, being an object of people's ogling."
But Rhaenyra is so much more than just a princess. Behind closed doors, the character rides dragons and partakes in other activities typically reserved for men.
"It's like she has a doppelgänger," Emma said of the person Rhaenyra is in private. "The doppelgänger is Rhaenyra born male, who has access to all the things that she craves and feels to be hers."
Maisie's character Arya was similarly dismayed by the expectation that she marry a powerful man and act like a lady. Her attitude toward gender roles even had Maisie thinking the character was queer, at least, until she slept with Gendry (Joe Dempsie) in the final season. "So…yeah," Maisie recently told Teen Vogue. "That was a surprise."
The actress previously said that playing Arya was difficult because she was still coming into her own as a woman. "I resented Arya because I couldn't express who I was becoming," she said. "Then I also resented my body because it wasn't aligned with the piece of me that the world celebrated."
So Maisie is excited to leave Arya behind her. As she Variety, "I'm kind of looking forward to watching Game of Thrones—even though it's not Game of Thrones—and experiencing it as a person that's not on it."
House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21 on HBO.