House of the Dragon Actress Olivia Cooke Blames 'Bad Parenting' for Alicent's Villainous Turn

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House of the Dragon Episode 6 kicks off with a significant 10-year time jump along with Olivia Cooke's arrival to embody a grown-up version of Alicent Hightower, a role previously played by Emily Carey from the premiere until the fifth episode.

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Despite the constant foreshadowing of the character's eventual villainous turn, Alicent was defined as gullible and as someone who genuinely cares for the well-being of her childhood best friend, Rhaenyra. However, when Episode 6 premiered, the audience saw a massive transition in Alicent, who suddenly became a cruel and stone-hearted queen.

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In a recent interview with Collider, House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke was asked about Alicent's turning point and where her priorities actually shift, which the actress entirely blames on bad parenting. Check out her response below:

"It’s incredibly bad parenting. Alicent has been groomed, from a very early age, solely to further her father’s political ambitions. When Alicent is used as a pawn, she’s a child. She doesn’t know any better. When she’s used as a pawn in Otto’s plan, it really drives a wedge between Rhaenyra and Alicent, that chasm only grows bigger and wider, as the series goes on."

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For a daughter who was forced to marry King Viserys (Paddy Considine) at the age of 18, it's not surprising to see Alicent wildly evolve into a cold-blooded character as she continues to secure her power. Aside from that, Alicent's villainous traits are also rooted in her motherly qualities, desperately wanting his son, Aegon II, to inherit the Iron Throne.

Is Alicent really the main antagonist of the Game of Thrones prequel? At this point, it's still hard to figure out considering how the series is filled with various grey characters. More importantly, Alicent only turned her back on Rhaenyra after the Targaryen heir lied to her about her sexual activities, prompting the queen to fully embrace her Hightower heritage. Nonetheless, Alicent and Rhaenyra's rivalry has just started, and we can certainly expect more as the Dance of the Dragons brews.

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House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO Max.

Also read: House of the Dragon: Olivia Cooke Explains Why She Disagreed with Alicent's Initial Characterization