Milly Alcock Was 'Eager' to Reprise Role on “House of the Dragon ”but Showrunner Says Keeping It 'Secret' Was a 'Feat'

The 24-year-old actress made a brief cameo on Sunday's episode for an emotional – and intense – scene with Matt Smith (Daemon Targaryen)

<p>Ollie Upton/HBO</p> Milly Alcock in

Ollie Upton/HBO

Milly Alcock in 'House of the Dragon'

House of the Dragon just brought back a fan favorite – and even Daemon Targaryen was surprised by the cameo.

On the June 30 episode, Daemon (Matt Smith) had just arrived to Harrenhal — eager to gain House Strong's support for his wife Rhaenyra's claim to the throne — and his first night's sleep was interrupted by none other than Milly Alcock, who played the younger version of Rhaenyra in the first five episodes of season 1.

Ryan Condal, House of the Dragon's showrunner, said it was "very easy in terms of will" to get Alcock, 24, to return for the cameo and reprise her fan-favorite role.

"We were excited about the prospect. Milly was eager to come back and everybody was excited to have her back," he told Entertainment Weekly.

Keeping it under wraps, on the other hand, was much harder. "I think one of our greatest feats was keeping that a secret all the way through, given the fact that it happened right at the beginning [of the season]."

Related: House of the Dragon Cast: See the Actors Side-by-Side with Their Characters

In the scene, Daemon followed some sort of phantom pull and stumbled upon young Rhaenyra, who chastised him for his recklessness – and for getting Aegon's son, Jaehaerys, beheaded in the season 2 premiere.

"Always coming and going, aren't you? And I have to clean up afterwards," Rhaenyra told him, as she sewed Jaehaerys' head back onto his body, and Daemon got teary-eyed.

Condal told EW that the dream-like sequence served to show that Daemon is "haunted by these people who he had done wrong by in his past, particularly young Rhaenyra."

<p>Ollie Upton/HBO</p> Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon'

Ollie Upton/HBO

Matt Smith in 'House of the Dragon'

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Geeta Vasant Patel, who directed the episode, told Variety that when Alcock arrived on set along with Smith, 41, "the first thing we talked about was their intimacy and how much they trusted each other with each other’s feelings."

The scene allowed Daemon to "actually confront himself and see himself in the mirror," she said, as season 2 is "a level of therapy" for him.

"He’s been running so fast, he’s never really stopped to feel things. When she turns and looks at him, I wanted to make sure that without words he would be confronted because she’s seeing him and knows him," she said of the brief moment between Alcock and Smith. "What Matt did so beautifully is he allowed himself to feel in that moment. I remember being in tears when we were shooting that, because the way that Matt portrayed Daemon’s pain as she looked at him, I felt the remorse and regret — which we don’t see in Daemon very often."

Ollie Upton/HBO Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen in season 1 of 'House of the Dragon
Ollie Upton/HBO Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen in season 1 of 'House of the Dragon

The cameo came as a major surprise given that Alcock and Condal had both previously said that a return was unlikely.

"I don't know. [They] are not a part of the story that we're telling yet," he told Variety following Alcock's final appearance in season 1. He admitted, though, that he was "not closing the door on anything."

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House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

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