‘House of the Dragon’: King Viserys Actor Explains His Succession Decision in Episode 1

House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel that explores the history of the Targaryen family. The family has had a long lineage of kings and queens as the Iron Throne continues to be passed down from one generation to the next. In episode one of House of the Dragon, King Viserys Targaryen reveals who he chooses as his heir, and the actor, Paddy Considine, explains the reasoning behind this decision. 

King Viserys announces his new heir in ‘House of the Dragon’ episode 1

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Paddy Considine as Viserys Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon episode one takes place almost 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Viserys Targaryen has become the new king but has only a daughter, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), meaning he has no true heir. If the king were to die, his brother, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), would take the throne. During the episode, Viserys’ wife and son die during childbirth, meaning there is still no true heir. 

Many on the king’s council do not believe the brutal and short-tempered Daemon is fit to be next in line for the throne. Viserys then decided to name a new heir after Daemon infuriated the king by toasting his son’s death. The king decides to name Rhaenyra his heir, even though a woman has never ruled. 

Paddy Considine explains why Viserys made his decision

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Considine explains the king’s decision to move away from his brother and toward his daughter. He says that while Viserys is taking a risk by making a woman the next ruler, he truly believes she is suitable for the position, and he isn’t doing it simply out of spite for Daemon. 

“He absolutely understands that Daemon cannot be king and that’s it,” Considine says. “He does not have the temperament. Daemon would burn everything. He’s way too volatile. ‘My next real choice is my daughter and I’m taking a big gamble because she’s female. But I trust that there’s something inside of her, that she has the best of her mother,’ who was the love of Viserys’ life. He feels instinctively that he can entrust her and that she would listen enough to understand what it takes to be a ruler of that kingdom. It’s almost like giving your kid a burden and knowing that on the surface looks like a gift but that it’s a curse. It’s like I’m giving you something that is gonna be the most difficult thing you are ever going have to do in your life. I’m burdening you with all this shit. She’s the only one that he believes in and can trust. I don’t think it’s particularly political and I don’t think it’s to snub Daemon. I just think he believes she’s the one.”

So far, there hasn’t been much of an indicator that Rhaenyra is queen material, but she doesn’t want to perform the role that most women do in Westeros. Targaryen’s are unpredictable, so it’s unclear what side of the coin she will land on. 

The Targaryen civil war is approaching

King Viserys’ decision will have repercussions throughout Westeros and within the Targaryen family. House of the Dragon will cover the events of the Targaryen civil war, which begins with this unprecedented move from the king. It will be intriguing to see how Rhaenyra handles this new responsibility and the upcoming conflict. 

Episode one of House of the Dragon is now streaming on HBO Max. 

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