House of the Dragon: Olivia Cooke on Alicent Hightower and mothering Phia Saban

Olivia Cooke looks at Phia Saban with the intense gaze that every daughter knows all too well – Mom is not happy.

Cooke, 30, and Saban, 25, play queens Alicent Hightower and Helaena Targaryen, mother and daughter, in the Game of Thrones prequel “House of the Dragon.”

Saban just revealed that she and Cooke are real-life neighbors in London and that she even has a key to her on-screen mother’s house.

Cooke has a motherly tone as she asks for her spare key.

“Did you lose it?” she asks Saban in the middle of an interview during a HOTD press tour in New York.

“No!” Saban insists.

Cooke lowers her voice and questions Saban as if she were not sitting in front of a jury of journalists from all over the world.

“Do you have it?” she asks again.

“Yes!” laughs Saban.

Saban turns back to her interviewers.

“Because I want to take a bath when she’s not there… I don’t have a bath!”

She turns to Olivia again.

“Come and talk to me. You can sit on the toilet.”

The couple’s easy familiarity is a stroke of luck, because the explosive second season of the series focuses on the relationship between Alicent and Helaena.

If you thought the series opener, in which Sian Brooke’s Queen Aemma dies after the King orders her to be cut open in a forced Caesarean section, was horrific – just wait.

In the first episode of the second season, which hits Binge in Australia on Monday, the cast takes things up a notch.

After finishing filming another season full of blood, incest and, of course, dragons, Saban and Cooke needed a break.

They went on holiday to Costa Rica and Iceland with several of their colleagues. Iceland was a surprise for Cooke’s 30th birthday.

Saban is known for scurrying between neighboring London houses “in flip-flops,” looking not only for a bathtub but also for an understanding ear.

Although the two are only five years older, the gap between their professional experience is much larger.

Cooke has been a familiar face for more than a decade, gaining her first experience at the BBC before landing the role of Emma Decody in the series “Bates Motel” at the age of 19, which serves as a prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock cult film “Psycho.”

She is also known for her leading role in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.

Saban had a small role in the Netflix series “The Last Kingdom,” but “HOTD” brought her newfound fame and a larger fan base.

“I think I’m quite a mommy to you,” Cooke says lovingly.

The younger actress’s devotion to her co-star is obvious.

“I don’t want to be sentimental…” Saban begins.

“You’re welcome,” smiles Cooke.

“Olivia was so… when it was all scary and I felt like a newbie at times… Olivia was the person who gave me the stability I needed,” Saban admits.

Cooke nods understandingly.

“There’s just so much excitement about it, especially because it’s one of your first jobs,” Cooke says.

“It’s a damn hard job and I think the last 12 years of my life have left me rather disillusioned.”

On screen, the bond between Alicent and Helaena grows stronger as the men around them destroy the empire’s long-standing peace.

No wonder the Dowager Queen favors her only daughter.

She once caught her eldest son, King Aegon II, masturbating from an open window, and later he had to be dragged to the throne, literally screaming and kicking.

Tom Glynn-Carney’s fantastic, wild portrayal of the older Aegon, now married to his sister Helaena in a typical Targaryen pairing, still contains much of the mad intensity that expresses his mother’s despair.

Meanwhile, her other son, the one-eyed Prince Aemond, contributed to the outbreak of civil war after his dragon Vhagar killed Rhaneyra’s son Prince Lucerys at the end of the first season.

Although it was technically an accident that he bit his nephew in half, since Ewan Mitchell took over the role, Aemond has transformed from a bullied little boy to a real villain.

The resulting war forces both the houses of Westeros and the audience to choose whether they belong to Alicent’s Team Green (a nod to Hightower’s green crest) or Team Black led by Emma D’Arcy’s Queen Rhaneyra.

Viewers will remember from the first season that King Viserys, whose final breaths were portrayed by actor Paddy Considine, always insisted that Rhaenyra was his heir, even though he had two sons with Alicent – Aegon and Aemond.

However, on his deathbed, the wandering king told Alicent, whom the feverish king believes to be Rhaenyra, about the prophecy “A Song of Ice and Fire” by Aegon the Conqueror.

The prophecy predicts that the promised prince must ascend the throne to save the kingdom.

Alicent misunderstands his words and thinks that he is naming Alicent’s son, also named Aegon, as heir and is laying claim to the inheritance.

“They (Alicent and Helaena) are trying to have agency. I think they’re trying to have autonomy in this kind of medieval fantasy world, but it’s so hard,” Cooke says.

“You meet all these men who are so hormonal, just breaking away from it and trying to create a legacy and write their name in the history books.

“(They) don’t think about the big picture, don’t think about what’s best for the kingdom.”

Cooke waves her hands as if to indicate the chaos that will reign in international politics in 2024.

“It would just be so much better if women were in charge,” says Cooke matter-of-factly.

“I mean, we’re seeing it now, damn it.”

Once again, Cooke can’t help but recognize the echoes between her real world and the world she pretends to live in.

What other parallels can be drawn between our respective realities, where war and whispering prevail?

House of the Dragon Season 2 begins streaming Monday on Binge, available via Hubbl.

Originally published as House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke explains why women should rule the world

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL