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Olivia Cooke Carefully Played Alicent To Be Different From Cersei

It's inevitable that characters on "House of the Dragon" would earn fan comparisons to characters from "Game of Thrones." The most obvious between the two HBO dramas based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy world is between Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) and Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), two women who find themselves at the center of a dangerous game for the Iron Throne. 

Both are mothers who put their children above all else, preparing them to ascend to the throne, and both possess a willingness to cross certain moral lines to manipulate any situation or person to their advantage. Viewers got to see more of how Alicent developed into this mother as we see her friendship with Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emily D'Arcy) implode after she is pushed into a marriage to her father, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine). 

In "Game of Thrones," we are introduced to Cersei far past when she's grown comfortable with her sinister nature. "House of the Dragon" concluded its first season with the highest-rated finale since the ending chapter to "Game of Thrones," and Cooke and others are opening up with their own thoughts on the prequel series and its relationship to "Game of Thrones." Cooke addressed comparisons between her character and Cersei and revealed she made sure she was distinguishing between the two women with her performance with some specific techniques.

Olivia Cooke thinks Alicent and Cersei are very different and tried to show it

Olivia Cooke revealed she would deliberately limit the wine she drank as Alicent in scenes, knowing the physical look would only deepen comparisons between her and Cersei Lannister in an interview with Variety. Cersei was often seen scheming over a bottomless cup of wine. 

In the same interview, Cooke said she feels Alicent and Cersei are very different and have different elements motivating their participation in the, well, in the game of thrones. Cooke also revealed Cersei was one of her favorite characters from "Game of Thrones."

"She was one of my favorite characters, because even though she's so reviled, she's motivated by the enduring love for her children. In those parameters, they both will do anything for their children. But I think Alicent is run on anxiety and self-doubt a lot more, and I don't think Cersei has that at all," the actress told Variety. 

She further explained that Alicent is not as sure of each move she makes or terrible deed she commits, more held back by the men in her life than Cersei. It's a notable difference as while Cersei certainly dealt with her fair share of unjust simply due to her being a woman, she was far better at manipulation, controlling numerous men around her, from her own brother and love Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), the once head of the Iron Fleet.