House of the Dragon Season 2: Actor Eve Best Discusses Rhaenys’ Pivotal Scene and that Epic Dance of the Dragons

It’s about time dragons roared in Season 2 of House of the Dragon, with Episode 4 of the HBO show’s sophomore outing delivering big on the show’s strong and steady build-up so far this season. A full-scale dragon war is finally here in Westeros, and there is no turning back now in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel.

House of the Dragon Season 2: Actor Eve Best Discusses Rhaenys’ Pivotal Scene and that Epic Dance of Dragons

The latest episode of “House of the Dragon” marks a significant turning point in the series, featuring an epic dance of dragons that sees Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best) and her dragon Meleys fall during the battle at Rook’s Rest in the final moments of the “The Red Dragon and The Gold.

Rhaenys’ journey throughout the series has been marked by loss and resilience. Passed over for the Iron Throne in favor of her cousin Viserys (Paddy Considine), she endured her fair share of personal tragedies, including the deaths of her children.

In a recent interview about the latest episode of House of the Dragon Season 2 and her character’s journey, Eve Best delves into Rhaenys’ motivations, the emotional weight of her character’s actions, and the conclusion of Rhaenys’ arc.

Filming the Epic Dance of the Dragons

Best describes the practical challenges of filming the intense dragon battle, akin to the experience of riding a bucking bronco. While it all looked like it was one big sequence where all of them were together in the final cut, the actors filmed their scenes individually, each spending weeks on a large, electronic, moving apparatus that simulated the dragon’s movements.

Talking about filming the episode and the complex dragon fights, Best said, “It was a really complicated sequence. And it was two weeks of just me on this — it’s like the size of a small house, really — this big, electronic, moving thing. I’ve been told it’s a bit like a bucking bronco. I’ve never been on a bucking bronco, but I’ve been told that’s similar. It’s got a saddle on the top of it, and you have to go up a flight of steps to get to it. Then you’re strapped into the saddle, and the house starts to move.”  

Addressing how different this experience was from Season 1, she stated, “When we did it in Season 1, it was moving a fair bit, but it never got really, really violent. But this time, there were some complicated moves. It was quite intricate choreography that had to be plotted — all these turns, and she was upside down. So you’re moving around, my legs crushed under me as it’s going around and around. I tell you, it was a very good workout for my thighs and for my core strength. Pilates, eat your heart out.”

Expressing Rhaenys’ Emotional Journey During the Episode

The episode director, Alan Taylor, and Best discussed the key emotional beats that they needed to express for Rhaenys during the battle and wanted to highlight that Rhaenys’ decision to engage in the conflict was a kamikaze mission, a last stand.

Best said, “I felt very strongly that there were these really important beats that we needed to mark. In particular, the knowledge of the fact that it’s very likely a kamikaze mission. It has to be, because effectively, she’s starting a nuclear war, and she has been the one character throughout who’s done everything she can to stop them. Because she’s the one that knows from bitter experience, and all the younger generation are running around, saying “Send in the dragons!” She and Corlys are really the only adults left in the room who know, who’ve been there and seen it — what they’re facing.” 

“The context of nuclear war was very, very helpful, because that’s the equivalent for us. And I knew that when she had proposed herself, that she knew she had to take that responsibility, if anyone was going to have that weight. It couldn’t be Rhaenyra. She had to do it. I think she knows that she has to sacrifice herself for the team,” she further added.

Rhaenys and Corlys’ Relationship

The episode also reveals that Alyn the sailor is Corlys’ illegitimate son, causing some strain in Rhaenys and Corlys’ relationship and adding a layer of personal anguish for the character before her final moments.

While addressing how it affects their relationship, she stated, “It’s absolute agony, and it’s been this secret between them. We talked, Steven and I, and we really felt that they had never, it had never been spoken about. And yet, absolutely, it’s the biggest sword in her heart, obviously. Up until now, he’d been really her rock, the ground beneath our feet. And feeling that suddenly was unstable, feeling this relationship through the presence of Alyn and Addam suddenly rearing its head again, having been so deeply buried by her, never spoken of by him. He’s in complete denial about it, and it’s absolute agony for her. I really felt like her heart was breaking.”

Future Possibilities

Best also addressed the possibility of an appearance in the series in the near future and said much like Milly Alcock, she would love to come back for flashbacks and joked that she would rather prefer to just come back to haunt Corlys and give him a piece of mind.

Did Rhaeyns Make Peace with being “The Queen that Never Was?”

Best said while she doesn’t think it gives her peace, she felt like the trajectory of Season 2 was a kind of “increasing detachment, letting go and letting go and letting go.”

“She just felt like she was getting lighter and lighter until that final moment on the back of Meleys. I think that’s the one moment that she suddenly — she finds peace. Literally, letting go. She’s been carrying all her own stuff, and pretty much everybody else’s too, certainly for Season 2. The weight of this unimaginable burden, and just letting it go”.

She further added, “It was truly peaceful. Whatever it is, whatever you call it. It’s bliss, or connection.”

Source: Variety.

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