House of the Dragon Star Details Targaryen-Adjacent Role

The Game of Thrones saga is set to expand this weekend, with the launch of the highly-anticipated prequel series House of the Dragon. Set over a century prior to the events of Game of Thrones, the show will follow an ensemble of characters with some surprising roles to play in Westeros' history, and some unique relationships between each other. One buzzed-about dynamic in the series is set to be between Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy) and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), two young women whose friendship is put to the test amid the political battles of the series. In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Cooke teased the two women's rapport, and how it impacts the larger legacy off the Targaryens.

"[Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower are] best, best, best childhood friends," Cooke explained in our interview, which you can check out above. "And there's a deep, intense love there that can only happen when you have your first best friend and they mirror you so intrinsically, but then they're the complete opposite of you as well. My father, he's the Hand of the King, and his political ambitions know no end. And so when Rhaenyra's mother dies, the queen dies, he sees that as an incredible opportunity and, unfortunately, I'm forfeit."

Showrunner Miguel Sapochnik previously indicated that Rhaenyra and Alicent's relationship would be at the heart of the show, and how it make the narrative much more compelling in the process.

"One day, she said, 'This would be much more interesting if it was about the two main female characters, rather than the male characters,'" Sapochnik told Empire Magazine. "'If you really focused in on the patriarchy's perception of women, and the fact that they'd rather destroy themselves than see a woman on the throne.' That wasn't a perspective I have ever told before. I think it made this show feel more contemporary too." 

House of the Dragon finds the Targaryen dynasty at the absolute apex of its power, with more than 15 dragons under their yoke. Most empires-real and imagined-crumble from such heights. In the case of the Targaryens, their slow fall begins almost 193 years before the events of Game of Thrones, when King Viserys Targaryen breaks with a century of tradition by naming his daughter Rhaenyra heir to the Iron Throne. But when Viserys later fathers a son, the court is shocked when Rhaenyra retains her status as his heir, and seeds of division sow friction across the realm." Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans star in the series.

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House of the Dragon will debut on August 21st exclusively on HBO.