British actress Olivia Cooke has landed a major role in the new Game of Thrones prequel but this is not her first big part. The 28-year-old has already taken on Hollywood, starring in a Spielberg movie.
Olivia is best known for her appearance in the TV series Bates Motel, which ran from 2013 to 2017. She played Emma Decody, a quirky and intelligent girl with cystic fibrosis who becomes close to main character Norman (Freddie Highmore).
Her appearance in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel is set to be her biggest role to date. House of the Dragon will air weekly from August 21, 2022 on HBO Max and Sky Atlantic with 10 episodes making up the first season.
Her major film break came in 2018 when she starred as Samantha Cooke in Ready Player One, a science fiction film from Steven Spielberg. Samantha, whose avatar is called Artemis, is a key character and love interest of the protagonist Wade (Tye Sheridan).
Before this Olivia appeared in indie flick Me, Earl and the Dying Girl and in the 2014 horror film, Ouija. While Olivia has appeared in other shows and films, the Psycho inspired show is still her most well known performance.
Who is Olivia Cooke?
Born in Oldham on December 27, 1993, Olivia began acting at a young age. She was only eight years old when she joined a theatre group at the Oldham Theatre Workshop.
She picked up roles quickly, starring in adverts and the TV series Blackout instead of finishing her a-levels. In 2012, Olivia appeared in the One Direction ‘Autumn Term’ tour video as a student getting a piggyback from Harry Styles.
The same year she secured an LA agent, which poised her to take on her most famous role as Emma Decody. Throughout her career she has starred alongside the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy, Oscar Isaac, and Samuel L. Jackson.
In her 10 year career, Olivia has been nominated for multiple awards including an MTV Movie and TV Award and a Teen Choice Award for her role in Ready Player One. She also won best actress at the Manchester Film Awards in 2017 for her performance in Katie Says Goodbye.
Who does Olivia Cooke play in House of the Dragon?
The prequel show is set during the Targaryen civil war, hundreds of years before the events of Game of Thrones. Olivia plays Alicent Hightower, second wife of King Viserys I Targaryen, and is a key player in the war.
Intelligent and beautiful, Alicent arrived in the Targaryen court at just 15 years old as the daughter of Otto Hightower. Otto became the Hand to the previous king, securing the family’s place in court.
Olivia's character marries the king after the death of his first wife but this is met with dissatisfaction and rumours from the court. Nevertheless they wed and initially she gets on with Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, the only child of King Viserys I first wife.
Alicent gives birth to four children including future king Aegon II, another two sons and a daughter. She is a key facilitator in the build up to the war as she tries to secure her bloodline’s right to rule over Rhaenyra.
Rhaenyra would be the first queen of Westeros but laws dictated that male heirs take precedent, removing her chance to rule. She maintained this claim, creating tension and an eventually all out civil war with Olivia's character and her family.
This is the time period that House of the Dragon will cover, exploring the time leading up to the war as well as the Dance of Dragons itself. Olivia's part as Alicent is crucial to Westeros lore and should be one of her biggest roles to date.