‘House Of The Dragon’s’ Tom Glynn-Carney Just Wants Someone To Give Aegon A Hug

Whether you find yourself firmly on the side of Team Green or Team Black, there’s no denying that House of the Dragon’s second season has turned one of the show’s would-be villains into a surprisingly tragic figure worth sympathizing with.

We blame Tom Glynn-Carney.

The young British actor behind Aegon the Usurper feels so sorry for his character, his pity is practically contagious. After taking the reigns of Aegon late in season one, Glynn-Carney has transformed the stunted man-child from a laughable idiot with a mean streak to something more. His Aegon is still terrible, incompetent, too rash to ever lead well, but as the cracks in his very short reign begin to show in season two, a different side of the spoiled royal begins to emerge. Driven by grief, a strong desire to be loved, and a sense of betrayal by those closest to him, Aegon behaves more like a trapped animal than a man sitting upon the Iron Throne this time around. For Carney, that raw edge and unpredictability is what both excited and terrified him coming into season two. The question of what Aegon might do next is one even he can’t answer, a thrilling prospect for a star still finding his footing in his career and pushing his limits on screen.

We spoke with Glynn-Carney about Aegon’s rise to power in season two, the toll filming for over a year took on him, and finally riding a dragon.

Aegon is equal parts dangerous and pathetic this season. Which trait did you lean into more?

I really wanted to find every color possible to his palette. I wanted to make him as intricate and as complex as he deserves, I think. And yeah, we see lots of different flavors. We see a vulnerability to him this time. We see desperation. I think people can call him a villain as much as they want. I think he thinks he’s a tragedy — just a desperately sad story in a physical form.

There are so many Aemond apologists, but who’s repping for Aegon?

This has been the story his entire life. He’s seen as weak, he’s seen as pathetic. Just someone give him a hug for crying out loud!

Aegon certainly has a bigger role to play this season which requires more from you than in season one. Were there any scenes/moments you were unsure about translating from the script to the screen?

Every scene I did, I didn’t know how it was going to pan out, and that’s kind of the way I like to go about playing Aegon. There’s no part of me that wants to have a preconceived idea of how the scene’s going to play. It lends itself to the way he is personality wise. He’s very impulsive. He doesn’t think things through very much, and I always like to catch myself off guard and surprise myself in those scenes. For me, that’s how I find authenticity in a moment. And that just means it’s different every time, and they can just choose which one they like. I don’t deal with the cut.

There’s a transfer of power between Aegon and Otto in episode two. How important was that confrontation in terms of the rest of the season?

Massive. We start to see ’em pull back the reins. We start to see ’em take a bit of control and use his authority and put people in their place when they need to be put in their place. He finds it stimulating.

You finally get to ride a dragon this season. Did you get any tips from your castmates who’ve done it already?

It was actually, surprisingly straightforward. If you’re doing a full day up there, then yeah, you’re going to be tired. We had a lot of sort of strengthening and conditioning work that we’d keep doing, just so we had a pretty healthy baseline in terms of our physical strength and capabilities.

If you could play Aegon’s therapist for a day, what advice would you give him?

Be patient with himself. Stop comparing. Stop being jealous. Give yourself a break and go on holiday.

So much happened off screen between seasons one and two. It took years to film. There were strikes. How did that affect the cast and the vibes on set.

Yeah, you’ve got tunnel vision while you’re making this show and that’s how we like it. I think you sort of buckle down and stay in the zone and stay focused. Try and get as much sleep as you can. It takes its toll, but we all welcome that with open arms. It’s one of those kinds of once in a lifetime opportunities to be a part of a show like this and to play characters like these. We’re all very aware of that, and we’re all very grateful to be in the position we’re in, getting to bring these characters to life and share this fucking cool story with so many lovely fans.

Is there a lesson you’re learned from filming this season that you’ll take with you into the next phase of your career?

That’s a good question. I’m kind of still working that out. I’ve only been doing this [acting] for, well, eight years, really, so I’ve not had a great deal of experience. I feel like the responsibility to play a pivotal part in a project like this takes its toll, stamina wise, and you just need to make sure that you can keep up with the rhythm of everything. But I think taking your breaks where you can get them, surrounding yourself with people you love and trust as you’re doing it, you can be quite delicate in the process. And yeah, stay away from social media.