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How House Of The Dragon Changed The Lives Of Emma D'Arcy And Olivia Cooke

"House of the Dragon" has emerged as a major success on the heels of its first season on HBO. The "Game of Thrones" prequel series had a lot of heavy lifting to do following the divisive reaction to the last two seasons of the dark fantasy drama but has seemingly managed to dodge the looming sophomore slump that hovered over it.

Based on the novel "Fire and Blood" by George R.R. Martin, the series follows the inevitable decline of the Targaryen dynasty with events that will eventually lead to Robert's Rebellion and the fall of House Targaryen, a pivotal historical moment that is referenced many times throughout "Game of Thrones."

However, to hear it from Olivia Cooke and Emma D'Arcy, who star as the leaders of the two sides of the upcoming civil war, Alicent Hightower and Rhaenyra Targaryen, their lives have made them as famous outside of the series as their "House of the Dragon" counterparts are within the show.

Olivia Cooke says the cast has a lot less freedom now

Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke sat down for a chat with Vulture to discuss their roles on "House of the Dragon" and how the show has changed their lives since the first episode premiered back in August of 2022. Though the two actors are thankful for the success of the series, they've also noticed that the show's popularity has limited their options on a social scale.

"On a really, really basic level, all of us going for dinner and breaking bread with each other and going out and having a dance," Cooke explained. "We can't really do that anymore." The actor explained that too many people notice them when they go out together now that the show is out, whereas when they were making it, they were much lesser known as performers.

"There was a lovely halcyon period where we could do all that stuff and also make an amazing TV show, but having a popular television show and a successful career, unfortunately, some of that does get sacrificed," Cooke went on. Still, she seemed to accept the price of her success on "House of the Dragon," saying: "We'll just have to have house parties instead."

Emma D'Arcy says the show felt small and private during filming

For their part, though they initially seem to dismiss the idea when Olivia Cooke brings it up, Emma D'Arcy eventually conceded that things really had changed for them since "House of the Dragon" had been released to the public. "Because we were making this during the pandemic and this was the first series, there was a small amount of expectation, but essentially, we were making this in secret," D'Arcy explained.

When the actor mentions that things were different before the show came out and points out that they were shooting "House of the Dragon" during the COVID-19 pandemic, it really helps to make sense of how the show felt like a much more intimate event in the lives of the cast and crew before it began airing.

"We knew that it was very specific and that it wouldn't happen again because there would be noise and expectation on series two," D'Arcy concluded. "But there was a vacuum briefly, and that was really special." Well, now that "House of the Dragon" is one of HBO's hottest commodities, it would seem that the dragon is out of the bag for good with regard to the actors and their newfound recognition.