From co-showrunners Ryan Condal (Colony) and Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones), who are also executive producers along with author George R.R. Martin, the HBO series House of the Dragon explores the Targaryen family with all the power, danger, rivalry, jealous, betrayal, murder and love that could either make them invincible or tear them apart. When you throw in powerful dragons, it becomes impossible to know who to trust or where loyalties lie, and the Iron Throne that they’re all fighting for is not kind in its embrace of whoever sits upon it.
Collider got the opportunity to sit down with Paddy Considine (who plays Viserys, the current King and the father of heir to the throne Rhaenyra) to chat 1-on-1 about playing a king in a world like this, why he was so flattered to be offered this role, the eye-catching Targaryen hair, the complicated relationship between King Viserys and his brother Daemon (Matt Smith), what it was like to shoot the birth scene, and how Viserys feels about his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock).
Collider: How do you wrap your head around playing a king in a world like this? Is there an aspect of his humanity that you try to stay focused on, when you take on something like that?
PADDY CONSIDINE: Yeah. I tried to make him as human as possible in this world. I tried to give him as much heart, and imbue him with as much heart and soul as is possible. I thought he was a rarity in this world. That was one of the things that I thought was great about the show, when I read the scripts. There wasn’t this tyrannical character that we’d seen in the past. He wasn’t this terrible ruler. These conflicts are more on a family level. I thought he was different, that’s for sure. I thought it was a great part because of that.
What went through your head, when this project came your way? Were you immediately intrigued and wanted to be a part of it, or did you think about running for the hills because it’s a lot to take on?
CONSIDINE: It was a bit of both. It’s not that you don’t want to take on the role, but there’s a big chance that you’ll lose your anonymity. I’m relatively on unscathed. I move around very stealthily, and I don’t get recognized. I don’t get any of that kind of stuff. My fear was, “What if that changes?” I live a pretty quiet existence, as much as I can. But you equally can’t go into something like this that’s already established and be surprised that there will be global interest in the show. I’d be naive. So, there was a bit of fear. But as far as the role and what I was taking on, I wasn’t fearful of that. You’re always a bit fearful of how you’re going to portray it and how it’s going to work, but I was more flattered that they’d offered the part to me. It hadn’t gone to anybody else. I was the first person they approached for it.
That’s always cool.
CONSIDINE: Yeah. So, I was like, “Really? Why? Okay, fair enough.”
Especially to have somebody think of you as a king, that’s always good.
CONSIDINE: Yeah, but props to them because that’s them thinking outside the box. There are so many people out there that wouldn’t ever consider me for the role of a king, so power to them for thinking outside the norm and thinking that I’d be a good choice. Obviously, Miguel [Sapochnik] saw something in work that I’d done previously, and thought I had the qualities to take on this part. Good on him for taking a chance on me. That’s a really big thing, because people don’t. I remember being offered a series, years ago in England, and the director I’d worked with previously said, “I just don’t think I can see him as a policeman.” I was like, “I’m never going to get the chance, if that’s the case. What do you want me to play? Hoodlums off council estates for the rest of my life? What am I going to do? How am I ever going to get the chance to play a variety of characters, if that’s your attitude?” So, I’m really grateful to them.
You do the hair and makeup test, you go through the wardrobe fittings, and you see the sets, but what’s it like to have all of that come together when you walk on set in the full look, and then you’re surrounded by everybody else like that? Do you always have to take a moment, before you start the day?
CONSIDINE: Not always. When you first see each other and you get your head around it, you have a bit of a laugh about it. We all look the same. Everybody is dressed up to the nines. The one thing you can’t avoid is the Targaryen hairdo. That’s something you’re not getting away with. At one point, I suggested, “What if Viserys has actually got very cropped hair? What if he doesn’t have the long hair and he looks more like Lee Marvin on the throne?” That didn’t go very far, at all. You can’t get out of that one. You’ve got to wear the hair. That’s the deal. It’s House Targaryen, “Come forth, my queen.” I had a lot good time with all of that. Choosing those wigs was a real job. They didn’t just lump it on your head, the first blonde wig they could get their hands on. They really have to consider the tones and how it looks against your skin. Otherwise, it can look a bit green or too yellow, so that was quite fascinating. And then, there were the costumes. I loved all the design. When you get on set, you all look as stupid as each other, so it doesn’t really matter.
What have you most enjoyed about the dynamic between your character and Matt Smith’s character? There’s something so interesting between Viserys and Daemon, which I would imagine we’ll get to see much more of. Full Review
CONSIDINE: Yeah. They’re complete opposites. They’re different creatures. Even though they’re they’re brothers and they’re the same blood, they’re so such polar opposites of each other. In Viserys’ eyes, Daemon is just an irresponsible, attention-seeking younger brother, and a troublesome guy. As long as Daemon’s occupied and Viserys is not hearing his name mentioned, he’s happy. He’s always having to defend him against the council and make excuses for him. He gets away with behavior that other people would be sentenced to death for. So, in Viserys’ eyes, Daemon’s a bit of a liability. He loves his brother, but it’s not the relationship they once had. He loves his brother, but secretly, there’s a part of Viserys that doesn’t like Daemon. That was my secret playing it. I think you always have to have a little secret. If Viserys heard that, in some battle, Daemon actually lost his life, there might be sadness, but also a bit of relief.