House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke says she disagreed with cutting her ‘animalistic’ sex scene

House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke has said she “slightly” disagreed with the decision to remove an “animalistic” sex scene from the series on the grounds that it lacked character development.

The Oldham-born actor, 30, stars as Alicent Hightower in the Game of Thrones prequel series. It was developed for television by showrunner Ryan Condal, based on the work of author George RR Martin.

In a new interview with Elle to promote the show’s second season, Cooke recalled filming the scene before it was eventually cut.

“It was messy as f***,” she said. “It wasn’t beautiful, and that was really fun to do.”

Describing the scene as “carnal” and “animalistic”, Cooke added: “I think Ryan said we weren’t learning any more about the characters, which I disagree with slightly, but it’s okay. It’s his show.”

Cooke joked that the scene may still appear in the “bloopers”.

Olivia Cooke in ‘House of the Dragon’ (Theo Whitman/HBO)
Olivia Cooke in ‘House of the Dragon’ (Theo Whitman/HBO)

The actor said she worked closely with House of the Dragon’s intimacy coordinator, Vanessa Coffey, and that she had expected even more explicit scenes due to Game of Thrones’ reputation for nudity.

“I thought there’d be way more, and so I’m relieved that when it has been used for me, it’s showing Alicent being pleasured, which is amazing and doesn’t feel gratuitous,” she said. “It feels like we’re telling a story.”

The second season of House of the Dragon debuted on Sunday (June 16) to strong reviews. The Independent’s Louis Chilton gave the first episode four stars, writing: “If Game of Thrones was, in the immortally blunt words of Ian McShane, a series about “t**s and dragons”, what, then, might he call House of the Dragon? It’s another series about dragons – and people behaving like t**s.

“The opulent fantasy spin-off returns to Max (and Sky/NOW in the UK) this month for an eight-episode second outing, opening with the ominously titled ‘A Son for a Son’. The first season, released back in autumn 2022, traversed a tumultuous two decades between its first episode and its last.

“The action this time around, in the four episodes available to reviewers at least, is rather more condensed. We pick up more or less where the finale left off: King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is dead; Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) is king, and young Prince Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) has been murdered by the one-eyed Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) in a sort of dragonback fender-bender.”