House of the Dragon star initially turned down Game of Thrones (because it had dragons)

House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Paddy Considine is one of the main players in House of the Dragon, HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel show. He plays King Viserys I Targaryen, who tries to hold his court and kingdom together even while his loved ones inch toward open war with each other. King Viserys has an uphill battle, and Considine drew on his personal experience to portray it.

“If anything Viserys was based on my mother, Considine told The Sunday Times. “She was the most powerful woman I knew, for a long time. Until she neglected herself. By the end of her life my mum had diabetes. I adored my mum. But her illness became her comfort zone. It was tragic to see that decline and I put that — plus her kindness and her love — into Viserys.”

Considine is very invested in his character now, but there was a time when he didn’t want to go anywhere near Westeros. When the producers approached him about being on Game of Thrones back in the day (we don’t know what part he was offered), he turned it down outright. “[My agent] said, ‘It’s about dragons,’” Considine remembered. “I went, ‘No thanks.’ I didn’t even read it.”

The House of the Dragon cast on the joy and pain of dragon-riding

It’s easy to forget now, but there was a time when Game of Thrones seemed far from a sure thing, and easy to dismiss as some fantasy nonsense about dragons. After it became a phenomenon, actors like Considine are much more eager to become a part of this world.

And the ironic thing is that House of the Dragon has way more dragons than Game of Thrones. On the original series, there were only three dragons in the whole world, and they spent most of the show too small to ride. In House of the Dragon, there are well over a dozen full-grown dragons present at the very start. That said, Viserys doesn’t really ride any, so maybe that helped convince Considine that this was the show for him.

Viserys’ younger brother Daemon, however, spends a lot of time atop his fierce dragon Caraxes. Actor Matt Smith thinks the two are well-suited for each other. “They’re grumpy, belligerent, sort of cross loners,” he told SlashFilm. “And I think, in many ways, his dragon’s one of the only people that truly understands him. I think that’s why he gets on with him so, like people do with dogs sometimes … there’s a weird, almost like an avatar-ness, to them both.”

That said, apparently Smith didn’t enjoy spending hours on end on top of the dragon-riding rigs they have set up for the actors. Milly Alcock, who plays Viserys’ daughter Rhaenyra, agrees. In the show, Rhaenyra rides the dragon Syrax. “I mean, it’s fun,” Alcock said. “But I go to work because I want to work with great actors, and I want to work opposite great actors. When you’re alone on a sound stage for 12 hours, and you’re on day three, you’re like, ‘Oh, please. Give me something else to do.’ But the novelty of it is something that I will hold dearly to my heart forever.”

Emma D’Arcy, who plays Rhaenyra after she becomes an adult (there will be a time jump partway through the season) seems to have enjoyed the process the most. “It was great,” D’Arcy said. “Very fun, very playful — it was lovely to try and imaginatively animate an inanimate object.”

"I think when they were doing Game of Thrones, it was all manual. So you had this buck which was then operated by people, and now you have the animatronic, and then you have something that looks a bit like an iPad, which is connected to a miniature version. And the director can manipulate that to program a flight path, which is then replicated on the full size buck. It’s unbelievable … and that was all forgotten when I got on it, because suddenly I was on a fairground ride."

We’ll all get plenty of dragon-riding action when House of the Dragon premieres on August 21.

Next. See gorgeous new images from House of the Dragon. dark

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h/t IndieWire