‘House of the Dragon’ star tried to make a tyrannical king as human as possible

Paddy Considine Viserys Targaryen House of the Dragon Episode One
Image via Warner Media

The monarchs of Westeros may be renowned for many things, from bravery and battle-prowess to debauchery or even downright insanity but they probably aren’t best known for their humanity. But as the current reigning monarch Viserys I Targaryen on HBO Max’s new hit Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, Paddy Considine says he had to consider the character’s heart above all else.

By the time the events of Game of Thrones take place, the Targaryen name is practically a byword for villainy on the continent of Westeros, the conglomeration of nations and territories the family ruled over for nineteen generations. The last Targaryen monarch, Aerys II Targaryen, also known as the Mad King, was deposed by Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark in Robert’s rebellion due to his cruelty and paranoia years before the show begins. But Considine is endeavoring to show a different face of the infamous House.

Considine recently spoke with Collider about what makes Viserys I a different sort of Targaryen to the ones we’ve seen up to now.

“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.”

— Paddy Considine

Of course, it’s just that sort of sentiment that tends to get one killed in the Game of Thrones. Being a compassionate and thoughtful ruler in Westeros is often as fatal as a crossbow bolt to the guts in that competition, and Viserys’ decisions about who will succeed him on the Iron Throne may have extreme repercussions. For himself just as much as Westeros. If he survives this season, he may have to grow more ruthless in the future.

The first episode of House of the Dragon is available to stream on HBO Max. New episodes will air on Sundays.