House of the Dragon star Paddy Considine reveals he drew inspiration from his mother when crafting his performance as King Viserys I Targaryen. More than three years after Game of Thrones came to a close on HBO, the network is set to return to Westeros for its first highly anticipated spinoff. House of the Dragon premieres this August and plunges viewers into a far earlier era for the fantasy world, hundreds of years before Game of Thrones. The series will explore the history of House Targaryen, including the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.
When House of the Dragon picks up, Viserys is on the throne. However, as anyone who has seen Game of Thrones knows, there are bound to be some changes of power by the time the series ends. The ensemble cast also includes Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans. Whereas Game of Thrones took its stories and characters from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, House of the Dragon will draw from his novel Fire & Blood.
Considine recently sat down for an interview with The Independent and revealed he had some surprising inspiration for how he chose to portray King Viserys. He knew he couldn’t go into the role only viewing himself as a king, instead wanting to take a more human approach. With that in mind, Considine turned to someone very real to him: His mother. He said:
“The last thing you do when you play a king is go, ‘I’m the king.’ All you’ve got to do is be you, a human, and be compassionate. Lose the crown, lose the pomp, lose the bulls***, just play the person. And when I played Viserys Targaryen, I just played my mum, you know. That’s what I played – my mother.
“She was just an anchor for me. I loved her very much. But she was a woman who became very, very sick. She had diabetes. She lost sight in both of her eyes. And she lost both of her legs. She was in a terrible, terrible state. But I think she hid inside her illness, and that made it worse for her.”
“It was a lot for us and everyone around to care for her, whereas she needed to care for herself, too. And that’s what this character does, eventually, you know… he becomes very sick and hides in his illness.”
HBO hasn’t revealed much of House of the Dragon so far, save for some images and an early teaser trailer. As a result, fans are still waiting to actually see what kind of king Considine’s Viserys Targaryen will be. According to Martin’s canon, Viserys is a kind and peaceful king, so Considine’s desire to take a gentler approach to the character makes sense. He is a far different kind of ruler than those shown throughout Game of Thrones, and that makes his reign an interesting prospect. It’s interesting to hear how Considine was able to take something so personal to him – his mother’s demeanor and health struggles – and turn it into a meaningful portrayal of a fictional character.
Considine’s comments just make House of the Dragon more exciting. He has clearly put a lot of thought into his character, and being able to watch his deeply personal performance come to life will make for an enriching viewing experience. Good, strong people don’t always thrive in Westeros, and Viserys has some tricky people even within his own family. House of the Dragon should be a very interesting journey for his character, and audiences will get to see it unfold in just a few months.