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SYFY WIRE House of the Dragon

Emilia Clarke says she’s ‘avoiding’ HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’: ‘I just can’t do it’

Why the Mother of Dragons just can’t bring herself to watch the new ‘Game of Thrones’ brood.

By Benjamin Bullard
Emilia Clarke

As Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones royalty Emilia Clarke might’ve completely (and violently) mastered the strange ancestral affinity between the show’s scaly beasts and her dragon-whispering lineage. But her pivotal part in GoT’s infernal finale marks the line where her reptile comfort zone ends. Five months after the HBO launch of spinoff show House of the Dragon, the actor says she hasn’t watched the new series. And despite sharing her excitement as the show prepped for takeoff last summer, it sounds like she still has no plans to.

Speaking recently with Variety to promote her new sci-fi comedy, The Pod Generation, Clarke jokingly begged forgiveness from Game of Thrones fans for skipping House of the Dragon, confessing that it’s simply “too weird” for her to witness a different generation of Targaryens forge their own fiery, yet separate, legacies. 

“No!” she responded when asked whether she’d seen the new show, via Variety. “Can you [forgive me]? …It’s too weird. I’m so happy it’s happening. I’m over the Moon about all the awards… I just can’t do it. It’s so weird. It’s so strange. It’s kind of like someone saying, ‘You want to go to this school reunion that’s not your year? Want to go to that school reunion?’ That’s how it feels. I’m avoiding it.”

RELATED: How VFX sold the illusion of the Targaryens' most devastating weapon in 'House of the Dragon'

Emma D'Arcy in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 10

That sounds like a definite stamp of approval from the Breaker of Chains, even if it comes without Clarke directly witnessing the Season 1 ascent of Targaryen timeline predecessor Princess Rhaenyra (played as a youth in the series by Milly Alcock, and later as an adult by Emma D’Arcy). Clarke gave a big shout out to House of the Dragon co-showrunner Miguel Sapochink, who also directed several Game of Thrones episodes including two Daenerys-heavy installments in the series’ eighth and final season. 

“Love him! Brilliant, wonderful!” she beamed of Sapochnik, who more recently directed a pair of House of the Dragon episodes for the show’s first season. Though he’s since handed the Season 2 dragon-riding reins entirely over to Ryan Condal (who himself co-created House of the Dragon with GoT mastermind George R.R. Martin), Sapochnik is still expected to continue as an executive producer “for the duration of the fantasy drama series,” according to Deadline

No matter who’s in charge (or which Game of Thrones graduates might be watching), House of the Dragon has definitely fired up HBO’s viewership numbers. The spinoff has become the platform’s most-watched series since the 2019 sign-off of the show that inspired it, with the second episode netting a season-high 10.2 million eyeballs, according to another Variety report. While that might yet fall short of the mind-boggling 19.8 million viewers who took in the Game of Thrones series finale almost four years ago, it’s still far ahead of GoT’s first-season numbers — which perhaps makes for a more direct dragon-to-dragon comparison.

Though House of the Dragon’s Season 2 renewal has been locked in for months now, there’s no early word from HBO on when the next batch of episodes might arrive. In the meantime, Daenerys still smolders on with the full Game of Thrones series streaming anytime at HBO Max.

If you’re craving even more Emilia Clarke on the small screen, catch her on Peacock in the 2021 horror anthology Murder Manual.