‘House of the Dragon’: Alicent and Criston Bond Over Hating Rhaenyra

When House of the Dragon jumped ahead 10 years, a lot had changed. Episode 6 of House of the Dragon saw Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), besides being played by new actors, each had multiple children. Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) now seems to be on Team Alicent. Cooke said the character bonded over their hatred of Rhaenyra. 

'House of the Dragon': Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Criston (Fabien Frankel) talk in the hall
Olivia Cooke and Fabien Frankel | Ollie Upton/HBO

Cooke was a guest on the House of the Dragon podcast on Oct. 2. Discussing Alicent and Criston Cole’s bond, Cooke suggested Rhaenyra inadvertently brought them together. New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays on HBO Max. 

Rhaenyra slighted both Alicent and Ser Criston Cole on ‘House of the Dragon’

Alicent and Rhaenyra were friends until King Viserys (Paddy Considine) married Alicent. Criston Cole made love to Rhaenyra, but apparently things soured in the ensuing 10 years. 

“So it’s like when you’re on set or you’re at work and there’s someone that all the time just really gets your goat or does all these horrible things to you,” Cooke said on the House of the Dragon podcast. “Then you find out that another coworker also feels the same way about this person. And then you’re, like, bonded for life in this mutual hatred. So many friendships can flourish on that one piece of commonality and Rhaenyra is that to them. From that point of just such pure hatred and mutual hurt and heartbreak, things do flourish.”

Alicent literally lashes out against Rhaenyra

In episode 7 of House of the Dragon, Alicent unleashed her rage on Rhaenyra. When their kids scuffled, costing one of Alicent’s sons his eye, she demanded an eye for an eye. Viserys stepped in and put a stop to that, but Alicent grabbed a knife and cut Rhaenyra.

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It just feels like she was backed into a corner for so long. She’s also been emboldened by Larys and Criston Cole, her allies who they’re hermetically sealed in their disdain towards Rhaenyra and the whole regime. So when it’s so obvious that Viserys is going to choose Rhaenyra and throws the threat of that being treason for what I’m saying or what my boys have said, I think that’s when she just breaks. It’s just piled on top of her for so long that I don’t even think she realizes she’s grabbed the knife and is chasing towards Rhaenyra until she slices her. It’s just pure id at that point and adrenaline. And the huge amount of guilt and confusion and sorrow for what she’s just done and the disgust at what she realizes she’s now capable of, which Daddy loves. 

Olivia Cooke, House of the Dragon podcast, 10/2/22

Alicent hasn’t dealt with her feelings of betrayal

Cooke said she could relate to Alicent’s feelings of betrayal. She had spats with friends over far less than kingdoms.

“Sometimes your first fledgeling friendships are really romantic,” Cooke said. “No matter what your sexuality is, you’re playing at dynamics and roles and learning how to care for another person and they feel like an extension of you. You’re so codependent that when you’re broken apart… Those friendships just seemed so wrought with raw emotion that you don’t have a handle on because literally your frontal lobe hasn’t closed yet.”