‘House of the Dragon’ Star Matt Smith Was Hesitant About Joining the ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel

Joining the world of Game of Thrones is not a task taken lightly, as many people have high expectations for this franchise. House of the Dragon is a prequel to the original HBO series and introduces a new cast of characters. While it introduces a new story, it’s still in the Game of Thrones world. It’s not an easy world to step into and Matt Smith, who plays Daemon Targaryen, shares his skepticism toward joining House of the Dragon.

Matt Smith plays Daemon Targaryen in ‘House of the Dragon’

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

Smith has a lot of television experience from playing The Doctor for a few seasons of Doctor Who and playing Prince Philip in two seasons of The Crown. Matt Smith now joins the Game of Thrones universe in House of the Dragon as Daemon Targaryen, the brother of King Viserys (Paddy Considine). Daemon is the current Commander of the City Watch of Kings Landing and next in line for the Iron Throne. 

However, Daemon’s violent and spontaneous tendencies get the better of him and cause a rift between him and his brother. In episode 1 of House of the Dragon, Viserys announced he would not be the next heir after celebrating his son’s death. Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) is now next in line for the throne, which might lead to an eventual conflict between Viserys and Daemon. 

Matt Smith was hesitant about joining the series

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, House of the Dragon showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik said they had Matt Smith in mind when casting Daemon. Condal said he became interested in the actor after watching him in The Crown. When asked what his reaction was to the offer, Smith said he was reluctant because it was hard to follow Game of Thrones

“I was in a car park and my agent said, ‘There’s this part in this new show that is a prequel to Game of Thrones.’ And I was like, ‘Ohhh. I don’t know. It’s a tough one, isn’t it? It’s a tough one to follow. Haven’t we seen this before?’ But then [the offer] sort of didn’t go away. Then it came up again, and then I went in for a screen test, and then that was that.”

Fortunately, Smith joined and is already proving to be a highlight after the first episode. Daemon is already set up to be another iconic villain in Westeros, and that’s mostly due to Smith’s performance. 

Smith joined ‘House of the Dragon’ after learning who would play Viserys

Matt Smith told The Hollywood Reporter that he was persuaded to join House of the Dragon after he learned Considine would be in the series. Smith says he is a fan of the English actor and he wanted the chance to work with him. He also found the character of Daemon complex and intriguing to portray. 

“I became aware that Paddy Considine was doing the show as well,” Smith said. “He’d already been offered the role of King Viserys, and I was such a huge admirer of Paddy’s, and I’d always wanted to work with him. So that was a real draw. And then there are so many elements to Daemon. I love the relationship with his brother. He’s a brilliant character because you never quite know what he’s thinking. I liked the ambiguity of that. There’s a ruthlessness in his personality that I thought was really interesting, to see characters who behave that badly. But in many ways, he comes from what he thinks is quite a genuine place.”

House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO Max. 

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