Emily Carey, the 19-year-old British actress who stars in the hit HBO series “House of the Dragon,” deleted her Twitter account after she was inundated with criticism about “humanizing” her villainous character.
The controversy erupted last month when Carey appeared at Comic-Con in San Diego alongside fellow “House of the Dragon” cast members to promote the “Game of Thrones” prequel.
Carey plays the younger version of Alicent Hightower, who is locked in a battle for succession with her childhood friend-turned-rival Rhaenyra Targaryen. The younger version of Targaryen is played in the spin-off by Milly Alcock.
As in “Game of Thrones,” when viewers sided with either the Starks or the Lannisters, the premiere of “House of the Dragon” ignited a similar dynamic in which fans lined up behind either House Targaryen or House Hightower.
At Comic-Con, Carey made a seemingly innocuous comment about having the “freedom” to portray the young Alicent.
“There were some gaps that we had to fill, so to figure it all out I sort of started journaling, and … managed to come up with some form of backstory, and it proved to be very useful,” Carey said.
“I’ve never had the freedom to create a whole human being like this before. So it was so much fun being able to go so in depth with her.”
Carey then spoke of how “multifaceted” Alicent was and the way it “gave me a deeper understanding” of the character.
“There are so many layers to her. I think lots of people are already expecting her to be the villain of the show, but I think bringing her in younger, there was a lot more to explore,” she said.
But those comments apparently drew the ire of Rhaenyra superfans, who flooded Carey’s Twitter feed with negative comments. Carey was accused of not sufficiently comprehending the source material — George R.R. Martin’s spin-off book “Fire and Blood.”
The fan backlash prompted the star to delete her account.
“I love social media. I’m 19, so I’m all on social media, and I’ve been on social media since I was a kid because I’ve worked since I was a kid so I’m very conscious of things,” Carey told News.com.au.
“Any hate that comes in, it’s just … It’s a person behind a screen. You just have to move on from it,” Carey said.
“But I will say I did delete Twitter [after Comic-Con] because it’s just so loud. Even when it’s good, there’s so many and it’s so loud.”
Carey added: “I love the buzz, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it can be overwhelming, and that’s me being completely transparent.”
At the time of the backlash, Carey wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “I stand by what I said in the panel. Alicent is not the villain, folks. When we meet her she’s a child, a product of the patriarchy. Just you wait and see. Maybe you’ll sympathize.”