Aegon Targaryen was at the center of the latest episode of House of the Dragon, even if he didn’t have the screentime you’d expect. At the end, he was crowned the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, which means he has power beyond what he’s ready for, or even wants.
“As much of a nightmare as Aegon is and how he plays against any form of rules and discipline, he’s pretty defenseless,” actor Tom Glynn-Carney told The Hollywood Reporter about his character. “He’s so reliant on alcohol that he’s a confused, tangled mess of a man who doesn’t yet know himself. He’s incapable of making decisions that aid him. His entire life, he’s relied on people around him to make sure he’s doing the right thing. But he makes awful decisions, and now those decisions are going to be made on a mass scale.”
"He’s grown up with the idea that he doesn’t want power. And his father didn’t want him to have it. So there’s that resentment, as well. He’s a very selfish person because he wants to escape. I think if he was a modern-day person, he’d leave his family and go traveling around Australia and grow some dreadlocks."
Aegon is, at minimum, a difficult character. We were introduced to him as an adult after he had sexually assaulted a servant girl, after all. At the same time, I saw what Glynn-Carney is talking about, and liked how he played Aegon not so much as evil, but as listless, scattered, and clearly very troubled. I don’t expect him to be a good king, but he could be an interesting character.
And him being a terrible boy king has inspired comparisons to a Game of Thrones character: the famously hatable Joffrey Baratheon. “[Showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik] said if we could make any comparisons to [Thrones characters], that he’s the closest to Joffrey,” Glynn-Carney said. “However, he is not an out-and-out psychopath. He’s much more complex. His decisions are due to insecurities and confusion and rage. He’s just bitterly confused and mentally unwell.”
Yeah, Aegon is not quite right. One of the unexpected ways that manifests is in his hair, which isn’t quite as long and flowy as that of other Targaryens. “That was from discussions Miguel and I had at the start,” Glynn-Carney said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want him to have long, luscious Targaryen locks, because he hates that.’ Like [his character’s brother] Aemond is completely reveling in it. Whereas Aegon just throws it away. He was like, ’Take it off!’ He doesn’t want to be defined by his family. He hates his family because — in his head — they hate him.”
Aegon actor got advice from Game of Thrones vets Kit Harington and Alfie Allen
The first season of House of the Dragon is getting a lot of attention. To prepare himself for it, Glynn-Carney turned to two of the only guys in the world who knew something of what he was about to experience: Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy):
"I spoke to Kit, very briefly, about it. He talked about how the world itself is massive and to remember that you are just a tiny cog of a huge machine — and it’s reassuring to think about it like that. It’s the truth, you know? Without the machine, you’re nothing. And I had just finished a job with Alfie Allen [SAS: Rogue Heroes] and I asked him about his process with [Thrones]. He had a great time. He said he thoroughly enjoyed working with all the cast and creatives. And Alfie said to enjoy it, laugh it up, and use the time to play with it. Especially with this character, there’s a lot to play around with and be a bit mischievous."
We’ll see what Glynn-Carney means when the House of the Dragon season 1 finale airs this Sunday.