House Of The Dragon Star Talks Being ‘Gutted’ Over Exit In Totally British Response To What Happened

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon sitting during House of the Dragon
(Image credit: Photograph by Ollie Upton/HBO)

Not long after the premiere of HBO's latest hit House of the Dragon, it was announced that current co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik would not be returning to the lead the way creatively next season. The cast has started weighing in, including Steve Toussaint, who plays Lord Corlys Velaryon in the Game of Thrones prequel. The actor used a very apt and British verb to describe his feelings over the showrunner leaving, saying he was “gutted.” Considering how much of an impact Sapochnik has had on the show and its cast during the hectic journey of getting Season 1 made, not to mention his GoT work, it makes sense the star would be so sad about it. 

I would agree with the Sea Snake actor on this one. Sapochnik has been at the helm of some of the most iconic episodes of Game of Thrones, including epic installments like "Battle of the Bastards” and “Hardhome.” He’s also seemed to already have the same impact on House of the Dragon, for which he directed the first two episodes, including the much talked about gruesome birth scene. Toussaint recently explained to EW why the showrunner leaving was so sad:

We have this English phrase 'gutted.’ I was like, 'Oh no!' Ryan rang me, because I've been shooting something in Belgium. And so, I got a call from Ryan one night, just saying, 'Listen, this is about to break. I want you to know what's happening and everything's going to be fine,' and so forth. And it's Miguel's decision. So I was disappointed.

Being a part of the creative team behind either series in the Game of Thrones universe is no easy task. Many of the franchise’s stars have spoken about the challenges of filming, including Kit Harington, who was glad GOT was coming to an end in that respect. (But can you blame him? The man was in the frozen tundra most of the time.) Toussaint's House of the Dragon co-star Matt Smith also talked about the challenges of filming, and how the cast kept things light on set to counteract the narrative's heaviness, which was also true for crew members and creatives. Toussaint acknowledged the difficulties that come attached to serving as a director and showrunner for a show on this scale, saying:

While personally, I'm disappointed, because I think he has a great artistic vision, I understand, for the good of his health, he's got to take a long break and recharge himself and decide what else he wants to do next to that. I think the world's his oyster, because he's so incredibly talented.

Miguel Sapochnik will still be involved with the show, to be sure, just in a far less direct day-to-day way as an executive producer. This will leave Ryan Condal as the sole showrunner for the fantasy drama which was renewed for Season 2 after the first episode broke streaming records for HBO

So, while I'm also as "gutted" as a fan can be to see Sapochnik take a step back, it’s good that he is taking care of himself. It can’t be easy being a ruler who sits upon the metaphorical Iron Throne built for House of the Dragon showrunners. Unlike every authority figure on the screen (other than maybe King Viserys), Sapochnik is comfortable with relenting his power, and is doing what's best for himself and the show. 

House of the Dragon airs on HBO every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET, and new episodes are simultaneously available to stream alongside many excellent HBO Max original series

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.