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Olivia Cooke: ‘House of the Dragon’ Won’t Have ‘Graphic Violence Towards Women’ Like ‘Thrones’

"I don’t think they’d be in their right minds to include any of that any more," says prequel cast member Olivia Cooke.

Olivia Cooke, Sophie Turner on "Game of Thrones"

Olivia Cooke, Sophie Turner on “Game of Thrones”

AP Newsroom/HBO

“Sound of Metal” and “Ready Player One” favorite Olivia Cooke is getting the biggest acting gig of her career so far with HBO’s upcoming “Game of Thrones” prequel series, “House of the Dragon.” Cooke is starring in the series as Alicent Hightower, the daughter of the Hand of the Kind Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) who is described as being “the most comely woman in the Seven Kingdoms.” In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Cookie promised fans that “House of the Dragon” would not feature the kind of violence against women that became a controversial staple of “Game of Thrones” early seasons.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable in being a part of anything that has just egregious graphic violence towards women for no reason whatsoever, just because they want it to be tantalizing in a way that gets viewers,” Cooke said. “I was lucky enough to read the [prequel] script before, and it has changed a lot from the first few seasons [of ‘Thrones’]. I don’t think they’d be in their right minds to include any of that any more.”

“Game of Thrones” came under fire numerous times during its run for depicting graphic violence against female characters. One storyline featuring the rape of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) on her wedding night received widespread backlash from fans against the show’s writers and creators.

Cooke had never seen a single episode of “Game of Thrones” when she auditioned for “House of the Dragon,” but she binged the series soon after landing the role of Alicent Hightower. Given the increased fan anticipation around anything “Game of Thrones,” plus the extreme outrage that greeted the series finale, Cooke told The Telegraph she was a bit nervous to join the franchise.

“I saw too many clips, just being alive at the time, so I knew what was going to happen,” Cooke said about the “Thrones” finale. “What happened with Daenerys, I was ok with it, because I was expecting it, but it’s hard, you know…I’m a bit nervous about the new one. You’re never gonna please everyone, so I’ve just got to not listen to that stuff.”

HBO has yet to announce a release date for “House of the Dragon,” but it’s widely expected to land sometime near the end of 2021 or in 2022. Cooke stars in the series opposite Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Sonoya Mizuno, Steve Toussaint, Rhys Ifans, and Eve Best.

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