The official Game of Thrones Convention in Los Angeles this past weekend featured a meeting of kings — and two right foul gits at that: Joffrey Baratheon and Aegon II Targaryen, played by actors Jack Gleeson and Tom Glynn-Carney.
Isaac Hempstead Wright, the man behind Bran Stark, another king of Game of Thrones, was supposed to attend the panel, but he lost his passport. So two of the most hated figures in the Seven Realms found themselves sitting down next to each other, to the enjoyment of the fans.
Glynn-Carney, 27, was eager to do so, as someone relatively new to the fandom of Thrones with his role in the prequel drama House of the Dragon.
"I'd love to hear more about his journey through it all because I know that playing Joffrey is no easy feat," the actor told EW in advance of the panel. "The backlash that came with it and the — I don't know if you could call it negative or unwanted or alternative attention he was given for his betrayal — I just think it's important for people to remember to differentiate between actor and character."
For what it's worth, Gleeson would later tell an audience on stage at the Con that he hasn't had any negative experiences with fans. But Glynn-Carney's point holds true: As Aegon in House of the Dragon — the player who raped a serving girl off camera, fathered numerous bastards, and stole his half-sister's throne — the star has been getting a lot of comparisons to Joffrey.
"There's been a couple of comments thrown about on social media, but I don't pay attention to them," Glynn-Carney said. "It's a compliment to me, if anything, that I'm doing my job, and it's having the impact that is required."
Besides, Glynn-Carney's performance is different from that of the mad kid king of Game of Thrones. Whereas you quickly get a sense of what Joffrey will do — given that choice, he'll always reach for the crossbow to impale a beloved character to a wall — Glynn-Carney is working to make Aegon unpredictable.
"In one of the first meetings I had with Miguel and Ryan," he said of season 1 showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal, "we spoke about Aegon and his unpredictability. I was saying that I really wanted to have him teeing on the edge the entire time. The coin could flip onto any side, and we should never know which way it's gonna go. People will make their own decisions, but I just want to keep that kind of center of gravity."
But Glynn-Carney does find some commonalities between Joffrey and Aegon. "They're unlikable," he said. "They're tortured and have deep, deep issues, which is a lot of fun to play as an actor, but I also see [Aegon] as being incredibly complex. He's not an out-and-out psychopath. I'm not saying Joffrey is, but I see a multilayered character that just has endless potential of pits of vulnerability and empathy and things that we don't see that I think it's important to have at least a flavor of, because it brings the humanity to him, and that's what pulls people in two separate directions."
During his own panel at the convention last Friday, Glynn-Carney revealed that season 2 will start filming in March 2023 and that he's already preparing for the job. "I didn't really get a great run at things [in season 1]," he told EW. "It felt very quick. I was in a few scenes. Season 2 will be a lot more meaty, so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Glynn-Carney added that he's personally looking forward to exploring "the constant battle" within Aegon "between vulnerability and his darkness."
"I think one breeds the other," he said. "I think it's his vulnerability that breeds the darkness. It's the way he copes, it's his security, it's his safety blanket, it's an addictive coping mechanism for him to shut things out and to be cold. I wanna push that further, and I want to see where we can take him."
EW can also reveal an exclusive clip from the special features coming to the House of the Dragon home entertainment release: a behind-the-scenes look at Aegon's father, King Viserys I Targaryen, played by Paddy Considine.
"He was not the most decisive, and his desire to avoid conflict led him to make some decisions that some people might question," says George R.R. Martin, who created the world of Game of Thrones and co-created House of the Dragon with Condal.
House of the Dragons: The Complete First Season will be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on December 20. Watch the clip in the video above.
Subscribe to EW's West of Westeros podcast, which goes behind the making of House of the Dragon and the growing Game of Thrones universe.
A Game of Thrones prequel focusing on the dragon-riding Targaryens.