House of the Dragon star admits she hated viral Negroni meme

The last time House of the Dragon stars Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy went on a press tour, they gave us the iconic “Negroni Sbagliato” meme.

However, the press tour for the second season revealed that though the Internet loved it, Cooke wasn’t particularly pleased.

In 2022, Cooke and D’Arcy, sat down for an HBO promo for the Game of Thrones prequel series where they took turns asking each other questions. Cooke asked D’Arcy about her drink of choice.

“A Negroni Sbagliato, with prosecco in it,” D’Arcy said, which led Cooke to say in her Greater Manchester accent: “Stunnin!”

The scene went on to become viral almost instantly, even seeing a custom Google Search animatic, much to Cooke’s displeasure.

“I did hate it for a very long time,” Cooke, who plays Alicent Hightower on House of the Dragon, said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“I was in the pub. A woman opened the door for me and she said with a thick Spanish accent, ‘Stunnin’!’”

“I was just like, ‘Oh my God. Over a decade’s worth of work reduced to a single word in my lexicon.’”

“I don’t have anything illuminating to say on it because it’s very hard to know how to react when you become a meme,” D’Arcy, who plays Rhaenyra Targaryen said.

The pair, who play friends-turned-enemies on screen but seem to be great friends off it, are a lot more prepared this time around.

“Honest to God, when we walked on and I saw the chess board, I was like, ‘Well, this is over.’ It’s in my head the whole time,” Cooke said, of the life-size chess board set for their cover shoot.

“I was like, ‘This is torture. We physically cannot do this.’”

“I refuse to do it. It’s just sad how you work for eight months and it f***ing gets reduced to a f***ing TikTok, and that makes me sad.”

The popularity of the meme was spurred on by the clear chemistry the two actors have with each other, which viewers and writer Sara Hess agree elevates the show.

Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy in a still from House of the Dragon (HBO / Sky)
Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy in a still from House of the Dragon (HBO / Sky)

“There’s so many ways that women are written out or just ignored in the historical record," she said.

“Obviously, Fire and Blood is a fictional thing, but if you bring that same thought process to it… that was very interesting to me.”

House of the Dragon’s second season will focus on the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. The season will follow the aftermath of the ending of the first season where Alicent’s son Aemond ends up killing Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys, setting off a fierce civil war.

Season two of House of the Dragon is set to air on HBO from 16 June.

Last year, Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin revealed that he had been given a preview of the first two episodes of the new season of House of the Dragon and thought they were “just great”.

“Dark, mind you. Very dark,” he continued. “They may make you cry. (I did not cry myself, but one of my friends did). Powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching, heart-rending. Just the sort of thing I like. (What can I say? I was weaned on Shakespeare, and love the tragedies and history plays best of all).”

In a four-star review of the first season of House of the Dragon, The Independent’s chief television critic Nick Hilton wrote that the prequel series is “bigger, bolder and bloodier than Game of Thrones”.