3 'House of the Dragon' actors won’t be back for season 2 — here’s why

Paddy Considine, Milly Alcock in House of the Dragon season 1 episode 5
(Image credit: HBO)

Winter is coming — ironically this summer, per series star Matt Smith — with the return of "House of the Dragon" but don't expect to see all of those familiar Westeros faces this time around.

"House of the Dragon" season 2 will further delve into the "Dance of the Dragons" war of succession between Aegon II Targaryen and his half-sister Rhaenyra over their father Viserys I's throne — though Rhaenyra's story will seemingly differ from the book — so it shouldn't come as a shock that fans will be seeing the actors behind those characters in the upcoming season. 

But who won't be rejoining the rest of the cast of the "Game of Thrones" prequel for season 2? Here's all of the "HOTD" casting intel we have so far. 

Who is in the 'House of the Dragon' cast for season 2?

When production on the second season of "House of the Dragon" kicked off in spring 2023, fans got confirmation that many of their season 1 favorites would be returning for the sophomore edition. 

As showrunner Ryan Condol announced in April, per Entertainment Weekly: "We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera. All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies, and riding their dragons into battle. We can't wait to share what we have in store."

At the time of publication, here are the "House of the Dragon" cast members confirmed to return for season 2:

  • Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
  • Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower
  • Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen
  • Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Targaryen
  • Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon
  • Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole
  • Ewan Mitchell as Prince Aemond Targaryen
  • Tom Glynn-Carney as King Aegon II Targaryen
  • Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria
  • Rhys Ifans as Ser Otto Hightower
  • Harry Collett as Prince Jacaerys “Jace” Velaryon
  • Bethany Antonia as Lady Baela Targaryen
  • Phoebe Campbell as Lady Rhaena Targaryen
  • Phia Saban as Queen Helaena Targaryen
  • Jefferson Hall as twins Lord Jason Lannister and Ser Tyland Lannister
  • Matthew Needham as Lord Larys Strong

Which 'House of the Dragon' actors aren't returning for season 2?

As for who won't be returning to "House of the Dragon" season 2, seeing as how we are now exclusively dealing with the stories of adult Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen, the young actresses who portrayed those characters in their youth won't be back: Emily Carey and Milly Alcock, respectively. 

As for whether Carey and Alcock will ever return to "House of the Dragon" as the younger versions of Alicent and Rhaenyra, perhaps in flashbacks, Condal told Variety, "I mean, look, I don’t know." He added that the young princess and her former BFF "are not a part of the story that we’re telling, yet. That’s not a thing that we’re doing right now.”

Graham McTavis as Ser Harold Westerling in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

Also missing from the season 2 cast list is Graham McTavish, who portrayed Ser Harrold Westerling in the show's first season and who we last saw in the penultimate episode of season 1. The actor previously discussed his character's potential season 2 fate with TVLine, “I don’t know where it’s all going, all the rest of it. But I mean, the possibilities are there for any number of scenarios at the moment.” 

The role of Ser Harrold Westerling was greatly expanded from the page, but it's still unclear whether or not he will be back next season. Until then, Tom's Guide will keep you posted regarding all "House of the Dragon" casting news!

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Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is a writer-editor covering culture, food and drink, travel and general lifestyle in New York City. She was previously the Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life, the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York.