House of the Dragon is expanding its cast for Season 2. We’ve learned from Deadline that four new additions will journey to Westeros in time for the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war that started the downfall of House Targaryen. Actors Simon Russell Beale, Gayle Rankin, Abubakar Salim and Freddie Fox have been cast in supporting player roles that Fire & Blood readers will recognize. 

Simon Russell Beale, known for playing Ferdinand Lyle in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful and, most recently, Dionysus in Thor: Love and Thunder, will take on the role of Ser Simon Strong. Simon is the great-uncle of Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) and the Castellan of Harrenhal. 

Gayle Rankin is known for being Sheila the She-Wolf in Netflix’s GLOW and Queen Victoria in The Greatest Showman. She’ll portray Alys Rivers, a bastard of House Strong, a healer, a rumored “witch queen” and the lover of Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell). 

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Abubakar Salim recently played Father in HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves and voiced the role of Zanror in The Legend of Vox Machina. In House of the Dragon, he’ll play Alyn of Hull, a sailor in the Velaryon fleet from Driftmark who served in the Stepstones war. He also has a brother, Addam of Hull, who has yet to be cast. 

Lastly, Freddie Fox portrayed James ‘Spider’ Webb in Apple TV+’s Slow Horses and recurred as King Hugo in Hulu’s The Great. He’s poised to take on the role of Ser Gwayne Hightower, the son of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and brother to Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke). 

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House of the Dragon Season 1 ended with Aemond killing Lucerys Velaryon (Elliot Grihault) above Shipbreaker Bay, right after Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) was crowned queen on Dragonstone. His death spawns the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons as the final shot of Rhaenyra shows she’s ready for war. 

The season will see the return of cast members Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, Ewan Mitchell, Tom Glynn-Carney, Phia Saban, Matthew Needham, Harry Collett, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Jefferson Hall and Rhys Ifans. Season 2 is currently in production, with a premiere date of sometime in 2024 on HBO Max. 

My only gripe with the above new casting is that Gayle Rankin looks too young to play Alys — she’s supposed to be a woman in her 40s. That said, she’s a terrific actress, and makeup exists for a reason. Other than that, I’m excited to watch these actors breathe life into these book characters. 

What are your thoughts on this crew joining House of the Dragon? Sound off in the comments below!

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Melody McCune
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