It's safe to say that HBO's prequel to Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, is off to a fantastic start. Many people were largely cynical when the conversation about the series first started, and for good reason.
A prequel set nearly 200 years earlier did not instil much confidence after the final seasons of Game of Thrones produced one of the most despised finales in recent memory.
The audience has since had a change of heart, with everyone agreeing that the first season is pretty good. However, Alicent Hightower is a character who has continued to draw ire from fans.
Yet despite Alicent's intriguing origins, there appears to be some severe apathy, if not outright contempt, reserved for her.
Normally, this would be attributed to subpar scripting or a lousy actor playing the part. For example, it's possible that Smith is simply a better actor than Cooke.
And even while the dialogue in the series was on par with the best Game of Thrones episodes, the writing overall was excellent, especially in light of the character journeys and the fact that the plot hasn't truly begun yet.
An excellent illustration of that is the character arc of Alicent. The daughter of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) was someone who meticulously followed all the rules from a young age.
Alicent didn't lose sight of her place and duty despite spending a lot of time in the Red Keep and developing a sisterhood with Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock/Emma D'Arcy).
With Alicent usually being someone who obeyed the rules and Rhaenyra always being the rule breaker, the series made a point to emphasise the disparities between the two.