Emma D'Arcy

Emma D’Arcy is a non-binary actor and theatre-maker who studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art.

Emma’s leads as Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon, HBO’s prequel to Game of Thrones, alongside Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine and Matt Smith. House of the Dragon is available to stream in the UK on NowTV. Following their sensational performance, Emma was nominated for the 2023 Golden Globes Best Television Actress award. Season two is airing now.

Their screen credits include Wanderlust for Netflix/BBC, Truth Seekers and Hanna II for Amazon Prime, Wild Bill for ITV and Philippa Lowthorpe’s feature film Misbehaviour. They produced and starred in the BIFA-nominated short The Talent by Thomas May-Bailey, which has been brilliantly received on the 2024 festival circuit.

Emma appeared in Mothering Sunday, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2021, alongside Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Josh O’Connor, and Odessa Young.

Emma’s stage credits include The Crucible at the Yard Theatre, Against at the Almeida Theatre, A Girl in School Uniform (Walks Into a Bar) at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Mrs Dalloway and Callisto: A Queer Epic at Arcola Theatre. They led in Bluets at the Royal Court Theatre, alongside Ben Whishaw, in mid-2024, and will play the lead in The Other Place (after Antigone) at the National Theatre, alongside Tobias Menzies and Nina Sosanya, in autumn 2024.

Emma is @emmaziadarcy on Instagram. They are repped by Clair Dobbs at CLD Communications for publicity.


Reviews for House of the Dragon S2 ahead of the wide release on 16 June

“…D’Arcy and Cooke remain in a league of their own.”
“while [Smith’s] scenes with D’Arcy are limited, they’re mesmerising when they happen.”
“It’s rare for a talent like this to exist in a performer so early in their career, and their performance gets even better when they share the screen with Matt Smith..”
“D’Arcy and Smith command the screen with a magnetism unfounded in most recent onscreen couples. They work together like two masters of their craft, and it leaves you wanting more.”
The Wrap – “‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Review: War Makes the ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Even Better” by William Goodman
“…a breathlessly exciting and gripping tale.”
“…utterly compelling and expertly crafted television.”
“…D’Arcy and Cooke remain electric and magnetic to behold…”
“By going smaller, the world of “House of the Dragon” feels bigger and more live…”
“… feel(s) much more expansive, alive and vibrant…”
The Daily Beast – “‘House of the Dragon’ Rebounds in Its Shocking, X-Rated Season 2” by Nick Schager
“…takes true flight from the outset of its superior and stirring second season…”
“…a gripping portrait of the eternal hunger for wealth, pleasure, power, and supremacy.”
UPROXX – “‘House Of The Dragon’ Is Back For More Dragons And More Drama In Season 2 — Is It Still Good?” by Josh Kurp
“House of the Dragon quickly proved itself a worthy successor to Thrones… It exists on its own terms; it’s possible to enjoy the high-budget soap opera without prior knowledge of Westeros.”
Decider – “‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Review: The HBO Hit Channels the Shock and Horror that Made ‘Game of Thrones’ So Addictive” by Meghan O’Keefe
“House of the Dragon Season 2 is still an incredibly-produced, brilliantly-acted journey to an intoxicating fantasy world…”
“… showrunner Ryan Condal has managed to bring the shock and horror that made Game of Thrones so addictive to House of the Dragon in Season 2.”
“For fans of Westeros — its incestuous soap opera, lavish world-building, and theatrical tragedy — House of the Dragon Season 2 delivers everything you love and then some.”
Collider – “’House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Review: A Bigger, Bloodier Return That Could Overshadow ‘Game of Thrones’” by Therese Lacson
“… based on the first four episodes provided for review, it has the potential to overshadow even the more popular flagship series.”
“… the animation and design of the dragons are still breathtaking, with each given distinguishing features, roars, and even personalities.”
“… the highlight is actually Tom Glynn-Carney, who manages to make the easily hateable Aegon into someone you might pity or even have empathy for.”
“The season is full of unexpected twists…”
“With so much complexity and visual impact, House of the Dragon simply might just be the best fantasy television show of the decade, and more than lives up to the legacy of this franchise.”
Mashable – “’House of the Dragon’ Season 2 review: A tragedy written in fire and blood” by Belen Edwards
“The first four episodes made available to critics are certainly, by definition, spectacular.”
Screen Rant – “House Of The Dragon Season 2 Review: HBO Promised War, But You’re Not Ready For How Good It Is” by James Hunt
“…returns strong, beginning The Dance of the Dragons with exciting character interactions and smart plotting.”
“Tom Glynn-Carney’s King Aegon II [delivers] a terrific performance, and I was shocked by how much I liked Aegon in the first four episodes.”
“The other standout is, less shockingly, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen… [who] take[s] things to new heights this year.”
“…the spectacle here, in terms of dragon action specifically, rivals anything in Game of Thrones…”
SlashFilm – “House Of The Dragon Season 2 Review: Game Of Thrones, But Moreso In This Terrific Second Season” by Jacob Hall
“The new episodes of ‘House of the Dragon’ are terrific…
“…that perfect blend of slow-burn intrigue, massive action, and skeevy behavior that walks a fine line between feeling soap operatic and strangely historical.”
“… it’s most impressive that a show this expensive and told on such a large scale can feel so intimate…”
“If you like dragons and battles and shocking acts of brutality, you’re in for a treat. And if you like quiet, whispered conversations in castle corridors, you’re going to have a real good time.”
Inverse – “House of the Dragon Season 2 is the Reigning Champ of Prestige TV” by Lyvie Scott
“With an action-packed return, House of the Dragon doubles down on everything that worked in its inaugural season.”
“… though it’s still slow to unleash the bloody battles fans have been waiting for, a game cast and transfixing tension allows this season to burn much hotter than its predecessor.”
“House of the Dragon is always at its best when it gives its heroines time to shine, and Cooke and D’Arcy — alongside Best and Sonoya Mizuno, relishing her role as the White Worm — never drop the ball.”
“The same has to be said for their male co-stars: there’s not a weak link in the whole ensemble…”
“Quiet character drama proves just as riveting as a bloody betrayal…”
“We finally get the chance to spend time with a fully-realized cast, and House of the Dragon settles into a satisfying, compelling groove.”
AwardsWatch – “‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Review: HBO’s Biggest Drama Brings Summer Heat with Blood-Soaked Targaryen Mayhem” by Tyler Doster
“The series understands its own ability to create an atmosphere of unbreathable tension within its interpersonal conflicts and heavily leans into it, some of the most important moments of the show being the quietest.”
“… HBO’s biggest drama finds solace in its ability to confidently provide entertainment while creating a fully-realized depiction of familial strife.”
“Emma D’Arcy is magnetic in Rhaenyra’s grief and rage, a performance that solidifies D’Arcy as a star of their generation…”
“… it’s an incredible feat of storytelling that will stun audiences.”
Slant Magazine – “House of the Dragon Season Two Review: Fiery, Bloody, Yet Surprisingly Restrained” by Aaron Riccio
“…set the stage for a much stronger second season for House of the Dragon”
“This quieter, slower, but just as bloody season allows the show’s characters to develop…”
“Glynn-Carney prevents Aegon II from being too similar to Joffrey, rendering the character with, yes, despotic tendencies, but also a compassion born of wanting to be well-liked…”
“…splash[s] the screen with vivid, graphic, and often intensely intimate battle sequences, but in a way that consistently, vividly, and often poignantly advances the plot.”
FandomWire – “House of the Dragon Season 2 Review — An Epic Masterpiece Filled with Spectacular Set Pieces” by Ricky Valero
“… the writers don’t waste any time, as the first episode knocks you straight on your ass with some bold and daring writing that leaves your jaw on the floor.”
“Top to bottom, this cast does not miss.”
“Everything below the line (costumes, production, sound, etc.) is remarkable. The world they build within this series is a true spectacle in each episode.”
“Despite how great season 1 of House of the Dragon was, season 2 only raised the bar.”
“… out on one of the best shows on TV…”
Business Insider – “’ This is the ‘House of the Dragon’ you’ve been waiting for — or at least, the beginning of it” by Palmer Haasch
“Season two is the beginning of the payoff”
“Emma D’Arcy’s vulnerable, razor-sharp performance as Rhaenyra continues to be riveting…”
“Aegon (a delightful Tom Glynn-Carney) preens and buckles under the pressures of ruling”
“…certainly delivers on sweeping spectacle…”
“… hesitancy translates into a greater degree of restraint when it comes to actually throwing the
dragons on screen, and makes the moments where they do come into the fray all the more impactful.”
Paste Magazine – “House of the Dragon Remains the Fantasy Equivalent of Reality TV in Largely Entertaining Second Season” by Elijah Gonzalez
“… impressive production value, great performances, memorable gaudiness…”
“… most pivotally, as the fourth episode kicks into gear, the show finally makes good on the previous table-setting to bring this tale in an exciting direction that bodes well for what’s to come.”
“… House of the Dragon’s production value, performances, score, and just about every other aesthetic element are impressive…”
TV Guide – “House of the Dragon Season 2 Review: The Game of Thrones Formula Isn’t Fresh, but It’s Still Effective” by Liam Mathews
“Emma D’Arcy is a standout performer…”
“… Mitchell commands the screen in every scene that he’s in.”
“… it’s still the grandest TV available”
“…thrilling and emotionally affecting…”
Looper – “House Of The Dragon Season 2 Episode 1-4 Review: An Agonizingly Slow & Seductive Start” by Audrey Fox
“If you liked the first season, you’ll undoubtedly find much to appreciate in the latest offering of ‘House of the Dragon.’”
Gamespot – “House Of The Dragon Season 2 Review – Better Shape, With Room To Grow” by Megan Vick
“House of the Dragon has the earmarks of what made its flagship show so popular–great story, great performances, and watercooler moments you’ll want to break down…”
Roger Ebert – “House of the Dragon Returns with a Captivating Yet Convoluted Second Season” by Kaiya Schunyata
“… Emma D’Arcy is a force to be reckoned with when they are on screen. The actor portrays sorrow so intensely it’s hard to look at them, yet you cannot take your eyes away.”
“… Matt Smith…continues to make Daemon one of the most captivating characters in the series.”
“D’Arcy and Smith command the screen with a magnetism unfounded in most recent onscreen couples. They work together like two masters of their craft, and it leaves you wanting more.”
“… Glynn-Carney plays each side of this character excellently.”
IndieWire – “‘House of the Dragon’ Review: Season 2 Brings the Fire Early, but Struggles to Generate Any Real Heat” by Ben Travers
“The premiere is quite a cunning little saga…the kind of satisfying set-up that’s better once the dominoes have fallen.”
“There are a handful of promising new or expanded characters…”
“The collective joy of having a shared Sunday nightTV experience is rare these days, and ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 should be able to maintain our cumulative interest.”
New York Post – “‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 has more murder and sex — wastes Matt Smith: review” by Lauren Sarner
“Villainous brothers Aegon and Aemond are standouts – the actors seem to be having a blast chewing scenery…”
“…the season is full of gasp-worthy developments that will grab your attention…”
“…remains a bloody good time and still feels like Event Television.”
Rolling Stone – “‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2 Repeats Same Thrills — and Mistakes — as Season 1” by Alan Sepinwall
“… some fiery performances by Cooke, Emma D’Arcy (as Rhaenyra), Eve Best (as Rhaenys), and a few others.”
“D’Arcy and Cooke are both excellent…”
“The good news, for people who were happy with what HotD offered last time around, is that this is the same show as before, even a bit better in some areas.”
The Standard – “House of the Dragon season 2 review: a roaring, blazing return to the world of Game of Thrones”


Emma will star opposite Kayla Meikle (ear for eye), and Ben Whishaw (Cock, James Bond, This is Going to Hurt, Paddington) will star in an adaptation of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, which runs from 17 May — 29 June. The story, adapted for the stage by Margaret Perry (Paradise Now!, Porcelain, Collapsible) and directed by Katie Mitchell (Little Scratch, Anatomy of a Suicide), is about depression and desire, pleasure and pain, and a person possessed by an obsession with the colour blue.

Emma D’Arcy said: “This production of Bluets combines some of my all-time favourite artists with my all-time favourite colour. I’m a huge fan of Maggie Nelson. If anyone can translate her work to the stage, it’s Katie Mitchell and Margaret Perry. And I’m delighted to be a part of David Byrne’s first season at The Court! What an adventure.”

'Emma D'Arcy is the moment'

Emma’s look at the 2023 Golden Globes delights and stuns, while also expressing that their nomination ‘implies that the space for trans people and gender-nonconforming people is getting bigger all the time.’

‘I’m also doing trans because I’m wearing some trousers and a skirt at the same time. And nothing says non-binary like wearing both a skirt and trousers.’

British Vogue – Emma D’Arcy Makes An Outstanding Debut At The 2023 Golden Globes

People – Emma D’Arcy Says Golden Globes Nod Came After They ‘Stopped Pretending’

Independent – Emma D’Arcy praised for ‘stunning’ Golden Globes look: ‘My jaw is on the floor’

Golden Globes

House of the Dragon wins best Drama Series at the 2023 Golden Globes

Golden Globes

Emma has been nominated for Best Television Actress award at the Golden Globes 2023. This follows their winning the #1 IMDB Breakout Star award 2022, and #2 for IMDB’s Star of 2022.

Emma D'Arcy's GQ interview

GQ – ‘one thing is clear: the series has gone out on a high note’

Reviews for HOTD finale

The New York Times – ‘The episode was a showcase for Emma D’Arcy, who was brilliant throughout’

The Telegraph – ‘an electrifyingly restrained Emma D’Arcy’

Esquire – ‘D’Arcy’s ability to balance anguish, gentleness and determination has been one of the best things about this season’s second half’

Indian Times – ‘Powerful, poignant’


Sunday Times Culture

As the final episode of season one airs, a round-up of great reviews for Emma in HOTD and their interview with the Sunday Times


Reviews are in for HOTD

The Times – ★★★★★

The Guardian – ★★★★

BBC – ★★★★

FT – ★★★★

The Telegraph – ★★★★

Daily Mail  – ★★★★

NME – ★★★★

Evening Standard – ★★★★

Empire – ‘Emma D’Arcy is excellent’



London Premiere

Emma’s Red Carpet look at the HOTD premiere, London

Entertainment Weekly

Read Emma’s interview with Entertainment Weekly here ahead of HOTD’s Aug 21 launch.

House of the Dragon teaser

The official teaser for House of the Dragon has been released. The long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel releases on HBO Max on 21 August.

First look photos of HBO's House of the Dragon

Emma is seen here for the first time in their role as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen alongside co-star Matt Smith (as Prince Daemon Targaryen) in first look photos in House of the Dragon. The HBO original series is coming to screens in 2022.

Emma D’Arcy in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon

“Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. The king’s first-born child. She is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything…but she was not born a man.” HBO

The Crucible Reviews

Reviews for The Crucible at the Yard Theatre are in!

  • “For her part, D’Arcy is riveting. The complexity of thought she transmits in each minute facial movement extends beyond what we’ve come to expect from normal human expression. Her face is a canvas, at once painted with acute realism from within by a mind in full mastery of empathy and beheld from without by her audience, transfixed. Ever searching, never still and heartachingly human. She is the partner whose heart you’ve broken. She is the mother desperate to protect her children. And she is, unequivocally, Goody Proctor.” The Upcoming
  • “Dunne’s John and Emma D’Arcy’s Elizabeth Proctor share a tender chemistry, which warms up a show that sometimes feels too calculated. D’Arcy also plays one of the agitating locals in a clever doubling that reminds us that we all carry aspects of other characters inside.” The Guardian
  • “Emma D’Arcy has an intimate power as Elizabeth Proctor, and there’s a later quiet intenstity to Sorcha Groundsell as Mary Warren” The Arts Desk
  • “Caoilfhionn Dunne plays the leading role of John Proctor, and both she and Emma D’Arcy, who plays Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, shine in this production.” What’s on Stage
  • “Caolifhionn Dunne does a magnificent turn as John Proctor, having delicious chemistry with Elizabeth (played by Emma D’Arcy).” Broadway World
  • “Emma D’Arcy is equally compelling as Procter’s wife Elizabeth.” Evening Standard
  • “Emma D’Arcy is equally good as Proctor’s wife Elizabeth, coldly prim initially, then rock-hard and resolute when accusations of witchcraft are flung at her” The Stage
  • “Imaginative staging, with nice use of sound and lighting, invites us to ponder modern parallels. For a country divided against itself, The Crucible is a sobering reminder of the ease with which people can allow themselves to be deceived.” Hackney Citizen

Reviews for Mrs Dalloway

Reviews for Mrs Dalloway at the Arcola are in:

  • “D’Arcy is sharp and suggestive in her shape-shifting between many roles” Time Out
  • ” Emma D’Arcy is a powerhouse in several roles, turning on a coin: as Septimus’ Italian wife Rezia, her face becomes red and blotchy with concern, and as soon as she’s Clarissa’s sullen, quick-speaking daughter Elizabeth we laugh before she even speaks.” Exeunt Magazine
  • “Yet while these two are the key figures, the most striking performance comes from Emma D’Arcy as Septimus’s frustrated, vulnerable wife Lucrezia.” Evening Standard
  • ” Emma D’Arcy as Septimus’ wife Lucrezia and other characters darted through the piece, offering pointed and sharp lines and movements that brought energy and pace to everything.” The Reviewers Hub
  • “This is a creative and sophisticated production on all fronts, well crafted and beautifully delivered.” The Spy in the Stalls
  • “Mrs Dalloway is an enthralling, brave piece of theatre.” Love London Love Culture
  • “This adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel is presented with stylish simplicity and theatrical flair.” British Theatre Guide
  • “The five-strong cast gracefully flit between their array of different characters.” The Stage

Mrs Dalloway

Emma will be playing Rezia in Mrs Dalloway at the Arcola.

Wanderlust on BBC One

Emma has been cast in the BBC One series Wanderlust. Starring alongside Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh, this series will air this Autumn.

Reviews in for 'Against'

First wave of reviews are in Christopher Shinn’s new play Against, directed by Ian Rickson at the Almeida Theatre.

The press on Emma and Against:

  • “Emma D’Arcy’s nuanced performance as Anna, one of Luke’s vulnerable disciples, makes it hard to believe she is a new name in theatre.: 4 stars, Kate Kellaway, The Observer
  • “What makes it worth sticking with are the performances from a cast who often play multiple roles with conviction and passion.: Sarah Crompton, What’s On Stage
  • “[Whishaw’s] quiet energy is well supported by the rest of a large ensemble cast lots of praise to Emma D’Arcy some marvellous moments of wry humour and acute emotional insight. It’s one of the best examples of new writing at present on the London stage.” Aleks Sierz, The Arts Desk
  • “A fantastic and fascinating ensemble elevates the script. Excellent work, too, from Emma D’Arcy” Tim Bano, The Stage
  • “An excellent cast fills in the blanks of Shinn’s characters. Emma D’Arcy is superb as the awkward college student deeply affected by Luke: Marianka Swain, Broadway World
  • “There are plenty of amusing digressions, especially satirical interludes featuring idealistic college student Anna (Emma D’Arcy) having tense tutorial sessions with her narcissistic, painfully PC creative-writing teacher” Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

Emma D'Arcy rehearsing for 'Against'

Emma D’Arcy joins the cast of Ian Rickson’s Against.

Emma will play a supporting role in the production, at the Almeida, from the 12th of August to the 30th of September.

'A Girl In School Uniform (Walks into a Bar)'

Following successful runs at the Leeds Hub and West Yorkshire Playhouse, A Girl in School Uniform (Walks into a Bar), returns to the West Yorkshire Playhouse for a limited run in April 2017.

'Too Much Love'

Emma D’Arcy stars as the lead in music video Too Much Love for Domino records’s Little Cub. The video, directed by Lily Rose Thomas, can be seen here.

'Callisto: A Queer Epic' transfers to London

Following a successful run at Edinburgh Fringe 2016, Callisto: A Queer Epic transfers to the Arcola Theatre for a week-long run.

Emma D'Arcy in 'A Girl in School Uniform (Walks into a Bar)'

Emma D’Arcy will star in A Girl In School Uniform (Walks into a Bar) at the Hub in Leeds and then at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this September.

Reviews for 'Callisto: A Queer Epic'

Emma D’Arcy stars in Callisto: A Queer Epic, at Edinburgh Fringe 2016.

The press on Emma and Callisto:

  • “Ingenue Tammy, played charmingly by Emma D’Arcy…” 4 stars, Louise Jones, Broadway Baby
  • “Eight actors play multiple parts and personalities that cross every boundary imaginable, and each does so with great skill and sensitivity…[an] exceptional cast with an eye toward invention, pushing boundaries, and tugging heartstrings.” 5 stars, Theatre Eddys
  • “The acting from Forward Arena is magnificent.” 5 Stars, Zander Bruce, Scots Gay
  • “The performances…were uniformly brilliant” Gemma Scott, ThreeWeeks
  • “The cast tackle it with confidence”, Sally Stott, The Scotsman
  • “Sharp, slick, precise” 4 Stars, Alexander Hartley, Theatre Bubble
  • “Despite the serious subject matter, the cast are able to inject some levity, making this a stellar performance.” The Broad UK

Emma D'Arcy at Edinburgh Festival 2016

Emma D’Arcy will be performing in two productions at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.

Callisto: A Queer Epic and Children and Animals are both directed by Thomas Bailey, and are playing at the Pleasance Dome from 3rd – 29th August.

Reviews for Emma D'Arcy in 'Clickbait'

Emma D’Arcy played Kat in Milly Thomas’ Clickbait, directed by Holly Race-Roughan.

The production ran at Theatre503 from 19th January – 13th February 2016.

The press on Emma in Clickbait:

  • “Kat, vividly played by Emma D’Arcy” Sally Hales, Exeunt
  • “Emma D’arcy…emerges with…acting credit” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Emma D'Arcy praised for performance in 'Pillowman'

Emma D’Arcy played Michael in Martin McDonagh’s Pillowman, directed by Thomas Bailey, at the Oxford Playhouse.

The production received glowing reviews, with Emma singled out for particular praise in several publications.

The press on Emma in Pillowman:

  • “The show’s finest performance comes from D’Arcy…whose writhing, fidgeting, drooling, shrieking portrayal of Michal is simultaneously endearing, amusing and incredibly annoying. It takes real skill to not present a mentally disabled character in a cliched, arguably offensive way, and D’Arcy deserves enormous credit for her ability to steer clear of this trap without leaving Michal’s fundamental characteristics behind.” – Fergus Morgan, Reviews Hub
  • “Emma D’Arcy’s performance was nothing short of virtuosic.” William Aslet, Oxford Student
  • “the acting…is first-rate throughout. Bowman and D’Arcy’s long scene charting the explosive, changing relationship between the brothers is riveting” Giles Woodforde, Oxford Times
  • “Emma D’Arcy’s performance as Michal is a masterclass in physical and verbal control” Benedict Morrison, The Oxonian Review
  • “D’Arcy’s performance is troubling and uncomfortable to watch, but the audience is compelled to keep watching. Michal’s dark nature and playful sense of humour offset each other throughout, and D’Arcy treads that line skilfully.” Stage Talk Magazine