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House Of The Dragon Star Olivia Cooke Praises Emma D'Arcy's Acting In The Birth Scene

Olivia Cooke and Emma D'Arcy spend a lot of "House of the Dragon" Season 1 feuding, so it's a bit of a reprieve to see the two of them actually show affection for each other — whether that's on or off camera. During the show itself, the two actors have quite a few scenes where they proclaim true friendship and loyalty to each other as Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen, respectively. As adults in the show, they may never share a smile but in interviews, they usually can't get through one without laughing at each other.

While their most famous exchange is undoubtedly the one where D'Arcy shared their poison of choice — a negroni sbagliato, with prosecco in it — the duo has appeared in numerous interviews where they've shown respect for each other as artists and human beings. In an interview with Vulture that aired after the Season 1 finale, Cooke and D'Arcy spoke about their favorite scene involving the other actor.

Cooke is a big fan of the first adult Rhaenyra scene

Much has been made about "House of the Dragon"'s traumatic birth scenes — and Emma D'Arcy's in particular, who was introduced to viewers in labor. The scene was an intimate, if grotesque, display of Rhaenyra Targaryen's pride, toughness, and perseverance. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that Olivia Cooke noticed all the work that D'Arcy put into that one. For Cooke, that is her favorite bit of D'Arcy's acting from Season 1.

"Emma, I know you're probably sick to death of birthing people, but your first birth scene was mesmeric," Cooke said. "I have never seen someone pull off a more realistic portrayal of birth. It was so insular, like you were about to set off a rocket inside you. Then just the relief, and the pain as well — you perform pain so f***ing well. It's really hard to do, but you don't overegg it."

In the past, D'Arcy has discussed the birth scenes in "House of the Dragon" and has pointed out the unique acting challenges they've created. While D'Arcy didn't specifically name their first birth scene as demanding, they did admit that they had to consciously differentiate Rhaenyra's second birth scene from the first. Needless to say, Cooke might be right to say that D'Arcy is "sick to death of birthing people."