Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, which chronicles the Targaryen dynasty, House of the Dragon is the prequel to Game of Thrones. The series chronicles, Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) in the middle of his reign, who is forced to name a successor.
No one seems to be taking the king seriously. However, Considine insists that the king is not weak.
King Viserys is at a crossroads in ‘House of the Dragon’
The Targaryens are thriving in House of the Dragon, but King Viserys has found himself at a crossroads. After losing his wife and infant son in childbirth, he must now name his heir. The Targaryens are a patriarchy, so the king’s younger brother, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), seems like the most obvious fit.
However, Daemon is extremely chaotic. “He absolutely understands that Daemon cannot be king and that’s it,” Considine told The Hollywood Reporter. “He does not have the temperament. Daemon would burn everything. He’s way too volatile.”
As a result, Viserys names his sole living child, Princess Rhaenyra (played initially by Milly Alcock and later Emma D’Arcy), as his heir. However, misogyny runs rampant in Westeros, so this won’t be good.
Paddy Considine says Viserys isn’t weak
Though we’ve only seen Viserys in one episode so far, he appears to be a good king, who wants continued peace, like his predecessor, King Jaehaerys the Wise (Michael Carter). However, many people, including Daemon, his council, and even the Hand of the King, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), perceive him as weak. It doesn’t help that he’s been unable to bring forth a male heir.
However, Considine insists that his character isn’t weak.
“I got annoyed with people that kept perceiving him as weak, like characters in the council and Daemon,” the actor told Shadow and Act. “It got my back up, and as Paddy, it made me angry. Viserys is a dragon too. He’s from the House of Targaryen and might be a good king, but he’s a dragon. The only difference is that he’s not unruly, and he’s not driven by power and chaos. I had to make sure that was very clear. He was a person that you didn’t push too far because there would be repercussions.”
King Viserys’ reign marks the beginning of the Targaryens’ downfall
House of Dragons opens 172 years before the death of the Mad King. The dragon riders ruled the Seven Kingdoms for 300 years. House of Dragons begins about 100 years into the reign. As we know, by the time Ser Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) killed the Mad King, the Targaryens were all inbred and insane and didn’t have any dragons.
King Viserys’ choice to position his daughter as his heir over his younger brother sparks the fracture in the family, eventually leading to the Dance of the Dragons (or the Targaryen Civil War.)
“Here’s the story you’ve always heard about,” creator/co-showrunner Ryan Condal told Shadow and Act. “The Targaryens, at the height of their power with 17 dragons and great wealth and power and influence. They’re unchallengeable. This is that time. So I think it’s a fascinating place to drop in because they’ve just started to turn and decline, but they don’t realize that until it’s too late.”