As the first season of House of the Dragon comes to a close, the stars of the series have been reflecting on the spinoff that has effectively become its own hit show, regardless of the source material. While the show will return for a second season sometime in the next few years, one member of the cast is pretty relieved to get a little time off.
Olivia Cooke portrayed Alicent Hightower, the conniving former childhood best friend of Rhaenyra. While preparing for the role, Cooke says she never could have guessed just how massive (and intense) the fan feedback would be. In a new interview with Deadline, Cooke explained that she is ready for some much-needed time off after the first season frenzy:
“I don’t think anything could have prepared anyone for this. It’s mad. I think I’ve had a bit of willful ignorance about how it would change my life. I think maybe in like three months time, it’ll probably die down. But when I’m on the tube, I definitely feel people’s eyes and … there’s the odd comments. then you do kind of start to feel monitored and I’m like, ‘Oh God, what am I wearing today?’ They take pictures and suddenly, you’re in a cloud of paranoia. I’ll just be happy for it to be over. It has been strange.”
Even though she was not ready for the amount of commentary, Cooke says that she will be more prepared for next time after the break between seasons. The second season is expected to begin filming next summer, and things will hopefully slow down by then. “I think maybe next time it comes out I’ll be a bit more prepared for it. But it’s a prolonged period of anxiety, this 10 weeks of an episode coming out and another episode coming out.”
As for Alicent, Cooke says that she was never really the villain of the show, despite what everyone on the internet seems to think. “I never played her as a villain. I know she makes morally questionable decisions and her reactions can be quite uncouth, to say the least. But I have to believe in what she does in order to play her with absolute honesty and truth,” Cooke added.
Cooke continued, “I think sometimes the internet discourse can be a bit too black and white. I read a tweet that I think summed it up really well: It’s not who’s good and evil, it’s who’s your favorite war criminal.” While that does sum it up really well, it’s probably for the best for Cooke and the rest of the cast to lay off Twitter during the new season. It has a tough track record.