The upcoming episode of HBO’s House of the Dragon will now welcome Olivia Cooke as the older Alicent Hightower. Set two hundred years before the events in Game of Thrones, the prequel series will follow the story of the House Targaryen and their fall from grace.
House of the Dragon’s showrunners, Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal, spearheaded the production of the series until the former departed from the show. The prequel was adapted from George R.R. Martin’s novel, Fire & Blood. Like the original series, the characters fight with their lives for the coveted Iron Throne.
How Olivia Cooke Changed Alicent’s Portrayal In House Of The Dragon
Olivia Cooke, who plays older Alicent Hightower, will make her debut in the next episode of House of the Dragon. The recasting was done to represent the ten-year time jump. In her interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cooke revealed that she helped mold Alicent’s character following Emily Carey’s portrayal. Sapochnik and Condal instructed the actress to interpret Alicent as “a woman for Trump.” Cooke decided to go on her own way.
“I just didn’t want to give them any more mental real estate than they already had. So, I tried to find a different route into her, but I could see what they were saying with this complete indoctrination and denial of her own autonomy and rights. I just couldn’t be asked to go down that road.”
The House of the Dragon star also mentioned how Alicent has changed so much over the years.
“You’re seeing her struggle with her womanhood and the power that she does have to play that is completely separate from her husband or her father or even her children. And also just moralistically where she stands when she isn’t listening to her father anymore.”
From A Villain To A Victim Of Injustice
The way Cooke portrayed Alicent is going to show how the character was made into a “perfect vessel for his [Otto Hightower] ascension to power” and how she has been a victim of the patriarchal and misogynistic environment she lives in.
Cooke decided to veer away from the path the showrunners wanted her to tread for personal reasons. The actress said that Alicent was meant to breed powerful men which is her only role in life, and she’s learning to live within the “straightjacket of oppression.” She wanted to show how these injustices affect her and how she “has always had to walk this tightrope for her whole entire life.”
It was indeed important for the actress to show that Alicent is still human. Cooke has no plans of justifying the mistakes that the character will commit in the series, but fans have to acknowledge that Alicent will do everything for her children. Fans will also notice that Alicent in House of the Dragon is more sympathetic than her character in the book.