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Game Of Thrones Spinoff House Of The Dragon Star Has Already Quit Twitter Over Criticism

Young Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon
(Image credit: hBO)

One of the two most highly anticipated TV premieres of 2022 was unleashed on August 21, as HBO debuted the high-dollar fantasy epic House of the Dragon, which is expanding the network's Game of Thrones franchise in prequelized form. Reactions on Twitter have been seemingly right in line with House of the Dragon's critical reception, in that they're completely all over the place, but one star who likely didn't see much of that hullaballoo is star Emily Carey. The actress' social media account had apparently already been plagued by fans sharing hyper-critical responses to comments she made at San Diego Comic-Con about her character, the younger iteration of Alicent Hightower, causing Carey to delete the platform altogether.

People deleting their social media profiles are basically never fueled by anything good-natured or morally sound, so it's obviously disappointing that Emily Carey wasn't even able to spend premiere week celebrating House of the Dragon's long-awaited arrival with her followers on Twitter. And all because Carey spoke about her character with understanding and empathy, no different from any other TV or film talents. The teen star explained the decision to bow out of Twitter after SDCC, telling News.com.au:

I love social media. I’m 19, so I’m all on social media, and I’ve been on social media since I was a kid because I’ve worked since I was a kid so I’m very conscious of things. Any hate that comes in, it’s just… It’s a person behind a screen. You just have to move on from it. But I will say I did delete Twitter [after Comic-Con] because it’s just so loud. Even when it’s good, there’s so many and it’s so loud.

It’d be one thing if Emily Carey wasn’t very fond of hopping on Twitter, and only did so in the rarest of circumstances, but as a 19 year old celeb in and around Hollywood, she’s certainly not alone in relying on social media to stay in touch with fans while promoting her projects and anything else under the sun. And one can imagine she was extremely hyped up to have House of the Dragon as her next mega-project to so public with, only for those hopes to go sideways.

To her credit, Emily Carey isn’t using this situation as a launching pad to go hard on fan negativity and unwarranted backlashes, and didn’t present things as if downtrodden critics were the only ones commenting. While she obviously doesn’t agree with how certain people reacted to her supportive words for her character, Carey made the arguably wise decision to opt for overarching silence as opposed to striking back on Twitter or denouncing any one particular segment of the Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon fanbase. She even went on to indicate that while she can appreciate the attention that comes with being on such a huge show, the sheer amount of people chiming in can be staggering, even in the best of situations. In her words:

I love the buzz, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it can be overwhelming, and that’s me being completely transparent.

Thankfully, Emily Carey has been able to more fully connect with the less judgmental section of the fanbase, even if she had to excise a highly popular social platform to make it happen. She reflected on the responses that she’s seen outside of Twitter, and says she feels overall as if the House of the Dragon cast has been embraced by millions of fans around the world. 

But what’s really lovely is a lot of fans noticed that I switched off Twitter and have come to me on other platforms that I use more often and have messaged me making sure I’m OK. So I’m definitely feeling the positive vibes from it now, which is really nice. I’m very respectful of the fans in the sense of, we’re stepping into their world rather than they are watching our world. The fans are great. I think, for the most part, we’ve been welcomed in warmly to this fanbase.

While there are no doubt some unruly exceptions, Emily Carey’s critics mostly took issue with how the actress spoke about her younger version of the character Alicent Hightower, who is portrayed in later adulthood by Olivia Cooke. Given the character’s morals aren’t exactly squeaky clean, and that she’s not part of the more fan-friendly House Targaryen, fans were not willing to lend sympathetic ears when Carey spoke at Comic-Con about Alicent not necessarily being the villain that everyone thinks she is, especially at the age Carey is playing her. 

It remains to be seen how Alicent will fare with viewers down the line, and whether or not Emily Carey will find a reason to return to Twitter. Considering how huge the premiere’s viewership was across linear and streaming — which will only grow as more people take advantage of HBO Max’s deep subscription discounts — I can’t imagine things will get any less noisy in the immediate future. So maybe fans would be best to find her on Instagram and beyond, but please remember to be nice.

While waiting to see how things shake out, House of the Dragon airs new episodes on HBO every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET, with HBO Max subscribers also able to stream. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are popping up soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.