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‘House of the Dragon’ Stars Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy Fire Up London at Season 2 Premiere

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A big dragon head, a lot of flames, cosplayers and stars galore on the red carpet as House of the Dragon celebrated its season 2 U.K. premiere on Monday evening had attendees and the many onlookers ablaze with excitement despite repeated rain showers in the British capital earlier in the day. Of course, the Iron Throne was also there.

Series stars — including Emma D’Arcy, wearing a black and white outfit that drew much attention; Olivia Cooke; Matt Smith; Fabien Frankel; Steve Toussaint; Eve Best; and Harry Collett — descended on London’s Leicester Square, igniting enthusiasm among spectators snapping pictures and taking videos while cheering and screaming. They were joined for the screening of a first look at the second season of the Game of Thrones prequel, led by showrunner Ryan Condal who also attended, along with Sky Studios CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz and Zai Bennett, managing director of content for Sky U.K. and Ireland.

”It was amazing to play” season 1 and exciting to return for more, Frankel told Sue Perkins of The Great British Bake Off fame in a Sky interview on the red carpet that was also shown on a screen inside the cinema.

“I got in okay shape” for sword fighting,” the actor also quipped. Asked about season 2, he shared this about his character Ser Criston Cole’s story arc: “He is going to get out of King’s Landing at some point.”

Several stars mentioned the increase in the number of dragons for the second season.

“Season 2 is a big dragon-swinging contest,” Cooke shared with Sky interviewers when she hit the red carpet to a big ovation, for example.

Smith was greeted with a particularly big reaction and said there are now 14 dragons, a handful more than before.

“What they need is a little bit of group therapy” and red velvet cake, he joked about the characters’ family feuds in a Sky red carpet interview. He called his character Daemon Targaryen “an agent of chaos.”

Emotion is again a key driver for the new episodes. ”Grief,” Smith said when asked about the themes of season 2. “Grief is the catalyst for a lot of the tempestuous Targaryen battles.”

Comcast-owned Sky, the long-time U.K. partner of Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO, once again put on a big show, taking over part of the square and running the red carpet outside the Odeon Luxe cinema. For the season 1 U.K. premiere in August 2022, the company had put up a castle in the center of Leicester Square. Just like then, the cast members in attendance were greeted nearly like gladiators, with much applause and many cheers. 

Season 2 of House of the Dragon continues the story of the House Targaryen civil war, with Rhaenyra (D’Arcy), Prince Daemon (Smith) and their Dragonstone forces facing off against Alicent (Cooke) and her children for the claim to the Iron Throne. The war was kicked off by the death of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) in season 1.

The storylines for season 2 meant that the stars were often off shooting their own individual storylines this year, rather than doing scenes together.

Condal called the London event “the home run celebration,” after a slew of similar outings in recent days. He added: “This is a great one because this is where we make the show.” He then joked that episode 1 will surely end up being “the feel-good episode of the summer.”

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