The House Of The Dragon Cast Opens Up About Riding ‘The Dragons’ On Set, And It Sounds Totally Unglamorous

A dragon's face on House of the Dragon.
(Image credit: HBO)

On House of the Dragon, it's not easy task for anyone, including members of the Targaryen family tree, to ride a dragon. They are uncontrollable, yet loyal creatures who can destroy anything in front of them when its rider says “dracarys.” While they are dangerous yet elegant creatures in the fictional world of Westeros, in real life dragons don’t exist, the cast has to ride a machine. Now, the HOTD cast has opened up about the process of filming the scenes with dragons, and it sounds pretty unglamorous. 

The show is not easy to film. In the HOTD's first episode, we saw the brutal birth scene as well as Daemon and the king's guard torturing people in King’s Landing. Then later in the season, there was a scene in a brothel where the extras were “69ing for 12 hours,” according to Milly Alcock. None of these scenes can be easy to film, and the stars have opened up about how difficult some of them can be. However, another difficult aspect of playing these characters must be having to play pretend on a machine that will eventually look like a dragon. Matt Smith, who plays Daemon Targaryen, explained in an interview with BBC his frustration over the dragons in a funny way, saying: 

The bucking bronco… they’re firing like wind and rain at you. And you got a blonde wig. And you’re in armor. And you’ve been up there for nine hours. And you’re like, ‘Get me down, I want a sandwich.’

Eve Best, who plays Rhaenys Targaryen, confirmed that they would be up on the rigs for full days. She was sitting in this interview with her on-screen husband Steve Toussaint, who plays Corlys Velaryon, who hilariously encouraged Best to impersonate the sound the dragon machine makes. She then did it, and noted how she was kind of disappointed by the sounds the dragons on set would make. 

[makes a screeching noise] Because it makes noises! It makes a sort of noise. I thought, I was a little disappointed because it doesn’t actually look like a dragon. It’s a sort of stumpy thing. But then it does make these kind of amazing noises so you do get the dragon.

So, it’s on the record, from much of the cast, that filming these dragon scenes is not nearly as cool as it looks on screen. Between the mechanical noises, being up there all day, and as Milly Alcock said in the interview, having leaf blowers blown in your face, all of it doesn't sound too fun. However, it looks fantastic. 

We’ve got some pretty epic dragon scenes so far on HOTD. From young Rhaenyra saying “dracarys” to her dragon for the first time to light her mother’s tomb on fire, to Daemon and Laena Velaryon flying their dragons together, there have been some extremely exciting moments on screen. Personally, I think knowing how much work they have to put in to pull this off makes it even cooler. 

To see more dragons and family drama on House of the Dragon, you can watch the newest episodes on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO or with an HBO Max subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.