Paddy Considine said King Viserys made a grave mistake in becoming king in the first place
Warning: This post contains spoilers for season 1, episode 8 of House of the Dragon.
House of the Dragon star Paddy Considine thinks King Viserys I Targaryen made a fatal mistake.
On Sunday night, The Hollywood Reporter published excerpts of an interview conducted with Considine, 48, last spring in anticipation of his character’s eventual death due to a disease that plagues King Viserys through the entirety of House of the Dragon‘s first eight episodes.
As Geeta Patel, episode director for Sunday’s “The Lord of the Tides,” confirmed to Entertainment Weekly on Sunday, audience witness Viserys’ death in the waning moments of episode 8. Considine, for his part, told THR that he found Viserys’ death “very noble and dignified” and likened the character’s disease for “a form of leprosy.”
“He’s just dying a slow and horrible death. By the end of it, he looks like an old man. He’s not! He’s a young man. He’s only so many years older than his brother, Daemon [Matt Smith]. But it’s aged him,” Considine told THR. “And it’s a metaphor for what power does to people, even though he doesn’t use it for his own personal gain. He doesn’t get drunk on the power, he’s responsible. But the demands of being a king take their toll on the physical body.
“So it was interesting playing that decline in him. He’s just trying to do good,” he added. “He gets to say a few words before he leaves, which I was grateful for.”
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Viserys’ final scene — in which he mistook his wife, Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) for Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and spoke to her about a secret Targaryen family prophecy that led Alicent to mistakenly believe Viserys wants their son Aegon II (Tom Glynn-Carney) to ascend the Iron Throne rather than Rhaenyra — paved the way for House of the Dragon‘s central conflict: the fabled Dance of the Dragons.
“The only mistake he made was becoming king,” Considine told THR. “He should have said, ‘No, give it to Rhaenys. I don’t want it. I’m going to fly some dragons and have a good time with the ladies in nefarious places of town.’ “
“The Lord of the Tides” depicted Viserys’ last-ditch efforts to persuade his extended family to cooperate after years of grievances against one another forced a rift that divided the family into two camps: Rhaenyra, Daemon and their children versus Alicent, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and Alicent’s children with Viserys, who would have otherwise inherited the Iron Throne if it were not for Viserys’ decision to make Rhaenyra his heir.
As Considine considered his character’s regrets, he told THR he did not think Viserys was capable of fully loving his children with Alicent.
“Viserys doesn’t hate his children,” he told the outlet of Aegon II and Aemond (Ewan Mitchell). “He just doesn’t love them the way he loves Rhaenyra. Because Rhaenyra’s mom Aemma [Sian Brooke] is the love of King Viserys’ life.”
“In a way, he’s responsible [for Aemma’s death] because he was so dogged about wanting a male heir, and there were several failed pregnancies, and he feels greatly responsible for pushing her to have a child so many times. That’s his big regret,” Considine added. “That’s part of the reason he chose Rhaenyra as his heir — there’s a bit of guilt there.”
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Viserys’ death primes the Targaryen dynasty for a war that Considine described to THR as “total mayhem.”
“It’s like everything Viserys worked hard to prevent happening, happens,” he said. “It’s absolute destruction and mayhem and madness.”
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House of the Dragon airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.