Who Is Emily Carey a.k.a. Young Alicent Hightower in 'House of the Dragon'?

You'll likely have seen Carey in another high-profile role.

emily carey as young alicent hightower in house of the dragon hbo
(Image credit: Ollie Upton / HBO)

HBO's House of the Dragon has introduced viewers to an earlier generation of nobles playing the Game of Thrones. The prequel follows a branch of the Targaryen dynasty, focusing on the looming succession battle that will follow King Viserys I (Paddy Constantine's) death. While the king names his only child, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock (opens in new tab)), as his heir in the show's premiere, upsetting centuries of no-women-rulers precedent, he later has the chance to name a male heir, thanks to his surprise marriage to his Hand of the King's daughter (and Rhaenyra's former best friend), Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey).

HotD's first season is split up into two timelines: one where Rhaenyra and Alicent are younger women, and another where they're both mothers with their own agendas for who should claim the Iron Throne (played by Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke). This coming Sunday's episode is the last before the time jump, so read on to learn more about the talented actress behind young Alicent (odds are you've seen Carey in another high-profile role).

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She grew up in a theater family.

The British actress and model—who identifies as queer and uses she/they pronouns—grew up in a family of theater workers. In a Rose & Ivy (opens in new tab) interview, she said that she would help her grandmother, a former West End wardrobe mistress, pair socks backstage during shows. She was scouted when she was eight and began her career in theater when she was 10, performing in British productions of The Sound of Music and Shrek: The Musical.

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She made her film debut as the young version of Wonder Woman.

After making her TV debut in the British medical drama Casualty, Carey's first film role was playing young Diana alongside Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen in 2017's Wonder Woman. She followed up that role with another franchise, playing young Lara Croft in 2018's Tomb Raider.

Her other pre-HotD roles include starring in the Netflix teen thriller Get Even, playing Anastasia in 2020's Anastasia: Once Upon a Time, and voice work in the films Where is Anne Frank and Monster Family 2. She also appeared in Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé's 2014 music video "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

She's super active on social media—though she briefly deleted her Twitter during 'House of the Dragon' press.

19-year-old Carey shares her life and candid thoughts with fans on her Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok, all with the handle @TheEmilyCarey. Unfortunately, she did have to briefly delete her Twitter earlier this year, after appearing at Comic-Con to promote House of the Dragon.

"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," she told news.com.au. (opens in new tab) "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," she added. "Even when it's good, there's so many and it's so loud."

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She'd love to come back for season 2.

Though episode 5 is the last for the younger versions of Alicent and Rhaenyra, Carey told The Hollywood Reporter that she would like to come back in the show's upcoming seasons. (HotD was renewed for season 2 soon after the series premiere.)

"It’s been spoken about, conversations have happened, but, in all honesty, I know absolutely nothing and I have no idea," she said. "Of course, I would love to come back. It depends on how it’s received and where they want to take the show next. I’m just going with the flow!"

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.