I have no idea how old anyone in ‘House of the Dragon’ is supposed to be

Are the characters 50? 30? 20? Who knows. PLUS: ‘The Acolyte’ and Darth Teeth, a new ‘Penguin’ trailer, and how ‘Blade’ got snagged.

I have no idea how old anyone in ‘House of the Dragon’ is supposed to be
Olivia Cooke and Fabien Frankel in the House of the Dragon episode “A Son for a Son.” / HBO

It’s a hot one out there, huh? Welcome to the latest edition of Popculturology, written in a world where we’re all living in the Twilight Zone episode “The Midnight Sun.”

• • •

I’m going to need to see some IDs

What’d everyone think about the Season 2 premiere of House of the Dragon?

Despite the show doing everything it can to invoke the same level of obsession that its predecessor enjoyed with viewers (I still think it’s hilarious that House of the Dragon straight up uses the Game of Thrones theme song, which is the equivalent of Frasier using the Cheers theme song), House of the Dragon has yet to capture my attention anywhere close to the glory days of Game of Thrones.

We skipped watching the premiere on Sunday night, instead catching up on Monday night. Look, I know that we’re working from George R. R. Martin’s source material, but I don’t know if I can keep watching a show that repeatedly dives into plot points like birth trauma and killing kids. (I can’t award points for cutting back on the sexual violence that Game of Thrones often seemed to delight in when it’s been swapped out for new kinds of violence.)

I’m sure I’m in the majority when it comes to just wanting to be able to enjoy watching the giant CGI dragons fight each other

On a much dumber level, the other issue that’s made it hard for me to enjoy House of the Dragon is that, for the life of me, I can’t remember how old some of these characters are supposed to be in relation to each other.

While the show’s Season 1 time jump aged up Rhaenyra Targaryen, with Emma D’Arcy taking over the role from Milly Alcock, and Alicent Hightower, with Olivia Cooke taking over the role from Emily Carey, many other major characters that interacted with both of the two main characters were not recast. Which has led to some pretty weird juxtapositions.

“I have really complicated feelings towards it,” Cooke told The Times. “If they can create dragons, they could have made me look younger — and then older. Or maybe they should have cast actors in their forties?”

Cooke was born in 1993 while Tom Glynn-Carney, who plays Alicent’s son Aegon II Targaryen, was born in 1995. They’re basically the same age! They’re supposed to be mother and son! Aegon even has kids, making Cooke’s Alicent a grandmother.

The weirdness of the situation is not lost on Cooke.

“And it’s hysterical to play,” she told The Times. “Because Tom is a year younger and I’m, like, ‘Son, come here! Come on to the bosom! It is a strange dynamic that I’m very aware of.”

And then we have Fabien Frankel, who plays Ser Criston Cole and was born in 1994, but was introduced as the character during House of the Dragon’s pre-time jump era. I have no idea how old this guy is supposed to be. Is he ageless? Is this a Melisandre situation?

None of this is fixable at this point. I just have to accept that a 30-year-old is playing the mother of a 29-year-old.

• • •
Charlie Barnett, Dafne Keen and Lee Jung-jae in The Acolyte episode “Day.” / Lucasfilm

The Acolyte goes deeper

While some Star Wars fans are currently up in arms over a cameo from Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi in the latest episode of The Acolyte, there are so many more interesting things about the show that we can be discussing.

When The Acolyte first premiered, I called it good but not groundbreaking. The past two episodes have nudged the show in the right direction.

“Day,” the episode that premiered this week, finally pitted the Jedi against the mysterious Dark Side user we’ve seen in the show’s trailers. (Darth Teeth, as many on social media have dubbed them.) What a cool — and creepy — entrance. Watching the Dark Side user drift down behind Osha evoked the Ring-wraiths in Lord of the Rings or the Dementors in Harry Potter, something more out of a horror movie than what we’re used to in Star Wars.

My only complaint? The episode ending just as Darth Teeth pushed away the Jedi and was ready to engage them. Claire Kiechel, one of the writers on The Acolyte, bravely responded to questions and comments from “fans” on Twitter, shedding some light on how short this episode was and why it cut to black at that moment.