House of the Dragon Post-Mortem of “Driftmark”


Last night gave us One Wedding and a Funeral, not to mention a stolen dragon, a maimed prince, and a murdered? king consort. In “Driftmark” the rift between Rhaenyra’s Blacks and Alicent’s Greens grew wider and is quickly approaching the point of no return. No doubt House of the Dragon will ratchet up the stakes as we head toward the season’s conclusion, but for now let’s make like Alicent with that dagger and rush into today’s interviews and videos!


Entertainment Weekly brings us a conversation with Matthew Needham in which he shares his impressions of his character, Larys Strong. “I think he’s got a plan. I think he’s got a direction…I think he’s got something he’s trying to achieve. They’ve created this incredible character, this man who acts on the world and makes things happen despite looking like he couldn’t hurt a fly. I think he knows where he wants to go. I think he’s got plans, and he’s had, well, all his life to come up with them. So he’s prepared.”

Larys definitely put some plans into motion with the murder of his family in episode six. Does Needham think Larys commits atrocious acts out of madness? “I don’t think he’s mad. What I love about that scene and what I love doing with Olivia [Cooke] is, as much as it’s a power move and it’s him putting her squarely in his pocket, as it were, there’s also an element of the game. ‘I will do all this, I will get all this blood on my hands, and you are able to plead naivety.’ I wouldn’t say it’s romantic, but there’s an underlying… it’s not erotic, but there’s some sort of frisson there for Larys. She gets to say, ‘I didn’t want this,’ and I know she did.”

In last night’s episode, Larys again offers to commit violence for Alicent by avenging the loss of Aemond’s eye. Needham confesses that there are no limits to how far Larys will go, saying, “Yeah, there’s nothing he won’t do. I don’t wanna speak for the brilliant Olivia Cooke, but that’s an interesting person to have on your side.” What does that mean for the rest of the season? “If I survive, who knows? You’d have to ask the powers that be.” I’m sure Larys has many more dirty deeds up his sleeve before all is said and done.

Head over to EW for more on how Needham fleshed out his character for the series.

Larys Strong House of the Dragon

In a separate interview with TV Line, Needham elaborates on Larys’ powers of observation. “He’s very good at seeing across the lies that we construct around ourselves. He’s been watching. He’s been sitting silently, nobody talking to him, watching people. All of his life, he’s been watching people. There’s the mask that we all wear, and I think he’s very good at seeing through that to who people really are. He can see through the whole matrix, as it were, of the Game of Thrones… the brutalness of it.”

Needham goes on to discuss his character’s fascination with Alicent. “In his head, despite it being a very manipulative relationship, I think there is a sort of sick, weird affection. Again, like with the firefly, the light in the darkness, I think he can see the real her. I think. This is just my own opinion, but I think he can see what she’s capable of, and he wants to draw it out.” He adds, “They’re both outsiders among the natives… I think that’s how he sees himself, and I think that’s how he sees her.”

Read the rest of Needham’s insights here.

Driftmark High Tide, Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson), 1x07 (1)

Speaking of Alicent, Olivia Cooke talks to The Guardian about her reluctance to take on the role. “When I was auditioning, I was definitely like: ‘I don’t know if this is what I want for my life.’ But then I got to see the first two scripts, and it was good.”

Three months later when she landed the part, she remembers, “It felt amazing. But then also, obviously – oh my God. Is my life about to change in a really scary way? And: what have I done?” She should probably ask the stars of Game of Thrones about how that worked out for them. As for that series, Cooke hadn’t even seen it prior to her audition. “I resist things that are popular, but to my own detriment, because it’s really fucking good.”

As for her character, Cooke describes her as “an incubator who’s been indoctrinated to be fine with [the patriarchy], and to know her place within the court.” She adds, “But that’s not to say that she’s not got agency, or power and intelligence – it’s just a really interesting amalgamation.” Alicent is definitely taking back her agency; not only for herself, but for her children. What the consequences will be remain to be seen…

Head to The Guardian for Cooke’s thoughts on her personal struggles and acting career.

In this week’s “Inside the Episode,” showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnikand cast members Leo Ashton, Emma D’Arcy, John MacMillan, Matt Smith, and Paddy Considine reflect on the consequences of Aemond claiming Vhagar and Rhaenyra’s decision to marry Daemon. 

In case you missed it, here is the preview for episode eight: