Paddy Considine, who starred in the House of the Dragon, discusses the actual events that contributed to the intense emotion surrounding King Viserys’ decline in health. The most recent fantasy series on the network, which serves as a prequel to HBO’s enormously popular Game of Thrones, details the beginning of the Targaryen civil war, nearly 200 years before Danaerys’ birth (Emilia Clarke). When Viserys, played by Considine, the King of Westeros, finally succumbs to his illness in episode 8, it leads to the emergence of fresh tensions. Viserys spends the majority of season one of House of the Dragon trying to maintain harmony among his various family members.
Many fans found it difficult to watch Viserys become ill in House of the Dragon, especially since it was the character’s final episode. However, Considine says in a recent interview with The Adam Buxton Podcast (via Collider) that the experience was particularly emotional for him because of a tragic real-world parallel. According to Considine, even a fleeting glimpse of Viserys’ skeletal form at the conclusion of the episode was enough to trigger intense flashbacks to his father’s battle with cancer. Read Considine’s complete response below:
“I didn’t watch episode eight, but my wife had watched it, and my daughter, and they were pretty upset with it. My wife said, ‘Just watch the end.’ Years ago, I’d watched my dad die of cancer and he just went downhill rapidly from being diagnosed to being on death’s door. You know, he became skeletal so rapidly. So, when [my wife] showed me that end thing and my face came up I just burst into tears because I looked the image of my dad when he was dying, the image of him, and it was shocking. It was really, really shocking to me. I’d put so much of my mum’s characteristics into this character, Viserys, but when I saw that I thought ‘That’s my dad’ and it was terrifying. So, it was pretty impactful stuff. The King Viserys character in House of the Dragon, I think that’s probably the greatest character I’ve ever played in my eyes. The story was right. The character was right.”
How The Second Season Of House Of The Dragon Will Continue Viserys’ Legacy
In some ways, Viserys’ reign is characterized by failure. He spent a lot of his time as king settling minor disputes between his various family members, including Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), as they grew older. On his deathbed in House of the Dragon episode 8, Viserys accidentally sparks a bigger feud between the two when he gives Alicent the Song of Ice and Fire while mistaking her for Rhaenyra. The conflict intensifies in the final two episodes of the series, and the final seconds of the finale confirms that the two ex-friends are doomed to war.
In many ways, Viserys’ final error signaled the beginning of one of the most tumultuous and violent eras in the Targaryen family’s history. Rhaenyra and Alicent’s relationship will undoubtedly worsen in Season 2 of House of the Dragon, but a particular scene from Episode 8 of Season 1 raises the possibility that the characters still understand one another on a subconscious level. Alicent and Rhaenyra briefly set aside their differences during Viserys’ last meal with his family, each recalling how close they had been as kids. Viserys’ insistence that his family gets along & Rhaenyra and Alicent’s shared love of the character are largely responsible for this poignant House of the Dragon scene.
Viserys’ involvement in House of the Dragon is over, but his legacy will endure. This legacy includes both failure and steadfast devotion to peace and family. Considine’s character may not have been successful in putting an end to a conflict between his wife and his daughter, but he never gave up trying, and Alicent and Rheanya may still be carrying on his legacy. Viserys’ time on House of the Dragon may have been somewhat brief, but it is clear that the character left a lasting impression on Considine as well as on fans.
Source: The Adam Buxton Podcast (via Collider)