HBO's House of the Dragon ended the first season with two powerful factions (and dragons on each side) on the verge of war, but the seeds of conflict were first planted by King Viserys before his death. Although Viserys made some decisions that seemed pretty shortsighted as they were happening for viewers, actor Paddy Considine’s performance was so strong that it guaranteed a long list of standout moments. The star has opened up about Viserys’ unforgettable final scene, which got so real that he was physically injured.
Viserys finally died in Episode 8 after slowly rotting away from what seemed to be the Westerosi version of leprosy (not to be confused with greyscale from Game of Thrones) for most of the season. He had a moment with Alicent that convinced her that he’d changed his mind about his heir, then seemed to see a vision of his late wife Aemma in the moments before his death. (The show changed the sequence from the book in some interesting ways.) Paddy Considine looked downright frail and truly unwell in those last scenes, and explained to Complex how the sequence affected his own health in real life:
Was this accidental reverse method acting?! Apparently, even Paddy Considine’s body was convinced by his performance to the point that he was nearly passing out due to low oxygen levels. The actor also shared that he'd seen his father pass away from cancer and had “been around that kind of sickness and watched that kind of suffering,” and wanted to put those experiences “to use in some way.” Viserys has the relatively rare distinction of being a character in HBO’s Game of Thrones universe to die a natural death without murder or violence involved.
The actor also mentioned a hip injury, although that wasn’t due to filming Viserys’ final moments in bed before dying. Part of what seemingly led to the king simply running out of energy to live was taking his final stand for Rhaenyra and walking up to sit the Iron Throne one last time and protect her. Considine shared what about that scene resulted in his injury, saying:
It’s no wonder that Paddy Considine felt a physical toll from performing Viserys’ final walk to the throne over and over again! The king was leaning very heavily on a cane, which would have been great for somebody who needed the assistance, but wasn’t good for the hip of somebody who didn’t need it. It’s no wonder the crown fell off in rehearsal and led to the touching moment between Viserys and Daemon! Knowing that Considine suffered a real-life injury just makes me hope all the more that he gets some award recognition for Episode 8.
Sadly, Considine crushing his performance doesn’t take away from the fact that his time on the show is over, and Viserys’ two branches of the Targaryen family tree are about to go to war, with Aemond drawing first blood by leading Lucerys Velaryon to his death. Rhaenyra ended the season ready for fire and blood, and that doesn’t bode well for the Greens.
Fans are expected to be waiting until 2024 for the second season of House of the Dragon, but the full first season (complete with Paddy Considine delivering powerhouse performances as King Viserys) is available streaming with an HBO Max subscription. If you’re ready to plan ahead for a TV season without any Targaryens or dragons, check out our 2023 TV premiere schedule!
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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