While readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series continue to wait for updates about when they can expect The Winds of Winter to hit shelves, news related to House of the Dragon continues to emerge, keeping the fire going strong for the HBO Max Game of Thrones prequel. Over the past few months, more information has become available about the show and its cast. A small handful of images were also published, giving fans a brief glimpse at the new characters.
Set 300 years before A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is based on Martin’s fictional history entitled Fire & Blood. Both the book and the show center around House Targaryen and the Dance of Dragons, the brutal civil war that led to the factions of House Targaryen turning against each other, according to Winter is Coming.
Recently, one of the prequel’s leading stars spoke with Collider about the show’s “complex” characters. Olivia Cooke plays Alicent Hightower on House of the Dragon. Her character is married to King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) and the mother to “most of his children,” writes Winter is Coming. Following the king’s death, Hightower believes her firstborn son (by Viserys) should ascend to the throne. However, there is another contender. Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) is Viserys’ eldest child from his first wife, and she believes the claim is hers.
Although Cooke could not reveal too many details about the show’s plot or her character (“I don’t know if I can say anything without really giving it away”), she did admit that her character is “very complex” and that she believes “people are gonna want to see the worst in her,” according to Collider. Cooke also expressed she believes audiences will need some time to “fully understand” her character’s motives.
As a fan of Game of Thrones herself, Cooke is no stranger to complex and “gray” characters. In the Collider article, she stated:
“What’s amazing about Game of Thrones, like we saw in the past series, is that one season, you hate a character, and the next, you absolutely love them and will go to the ends of the earth for them. You just don’t know what you’re gonna get with these characters. They’re so well-written. Such is the human condition, you can do some horrendous things, but then you can also do some wonderful things as well. It’s very complex, and it’s not black and white at all.”
The drastic time difference between the events of House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones allows Cooke (and the other actors) to have a bit of breathing room when it comes to filming and acting. She says, “We’re in the world of Game of Thrones, but you can also put yourself in a different headspace as well and know that, for an actor, you don’t have to necessarily follow on from what anyone else is doing.” However, she still has those moments on set where she thinks, “What am I wearing? What am I doing? This is mad.”
Cooke also teased the incredible, “mind-blowing” artistry fans can expect to see when watching the show. From the sets to the costumes to the small props the characters hold in their hands, Cooke stated everything is “f***ing gorgeous,” adding that so much thought and history went into the creation of these materials.
In short, Cooke summed up her feelings of working on House of the Dragon with this short but sweet statement: “It’s amazing to work on a film, a TV show, or anything where everyone is just so passionate about it.”
As of now, House of the Dragon is coming to HBO Max sometime in 2022.