There will be “some rumbles” when ardent fans of Game of Thrones watch its prequel House of the Dragon, says actor Paddy Considine, who promises that the upcoming series will honour its parentage.
Considine said he knew what he was getting into when he signed up to play Viserys I Targaryen, the king of the Seven Kingdoms, in the much-anticipated show based on George RR Martin book Fire & Blood.
The expectation around House of the Dragon was something he tried not to think about, added the British actor.
“There’s no denying there’s massive expectation about it. I understood that getting into it, you can never predict how successful something’s going to be. You can only hope but sometimes these things work, sometimes don’t.
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“I’m not walking into something that hasn’t already been established. I’m fully aware of the impact this has had culturally and how big it is around the world. All I can hope for is that people enjoy it and feel like it’s faithful enough because there are fans of the books and not just the show,” Considine said in a virtual roundtable interview.
House of the Dragon follows the history of House Targaryen set 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and the events narrated in Game of Thrones, the epic fantasy drama which ended its eight-season run in 2019.
The multiple award-winning actor said he hopes the show, set to start streaming in India on Disney Plus Hotstar from August 22, satisfies fans of the books as well as of the original series.
“I hope we can satisfy both. But there are going to be some rumbles. But it’d be naive of me to not think there’s massive anticipation for it,” he added.
Besides its scale and storytelling, Game of Thrones was popular for the sudden killing of several fan-favourite characters, sex and gore. The show was based on George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
Paddy Considine said the pilot of House of the Dragon ticks all those boxes.
“There’s sex, gore, and killings… Episode one fulfills every one of those criteria. There’s a lot of death, fire, blood, mud, snot. All of it,” he said.
What attracted him to the 10-episode series, which will air in the US on HBO, was that it was not a “reinvention or spin-off”.
“It’s a slightly different world we’re entering, but it’s not an unfamiliar world in the way they shoot it. It’s not a spin-off. It’s the continuation of the story, but we go back in time. Hopefully it will work,” he added.
The 48-year-old actor said he had bought the Game of Thrones DVDs, which remained sealed and gathered dust on his shelf for a long time. He didn’t watch the show for years, saying “sometimes you are just not in the mood for things”.
“I had friends who were telling me how amazing it was, I should watch it. And even that annoyed me. I’d begrudgingly watch it. But when I did, I was surprised. As the series went on, like everybody else, I got sucked in with the quality, quality of the performances and the kind of shocks as well.”
The bloodbath in the much-discussed ‘Red Wedding’ episode and the track of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and The Hound (played by Considine’s friend Rory McCann) are among some of his many favourite moments from Game of Thrones, he said.
“For me, the ‘Red Wedding’ was a massive turning point. I’d never seen anything like that on television. Like if that was like The Sopranos or something you would have expected to be something like that to possibly happen. But the fact that it was in this fantasy, it just gave everybody this sense that nobody’s safe within this world,” added the two-time BAFTA Award recipient.
In the trailer of House of the Dragon, Viserys is seen having a difficult time choosing his heir to the Iron Throne between his younger brother Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and his firstborn child Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy).
Calling Viserys as an interesting blend of a king who wants to keep peace and a man not corrupted by power, Paddy Considine said he “fought” on behalf of his character because he didn’t want to play him as a pushover.
“He wants to be a peaceful king, (but) he’s perceived as weak. He’s actually a tragic man, who’s just lost the love of his life. He understands the implications of being the king. He’s aware Targaryens are feared because of their arsenal – dragons.
“He understands that without those dragons, the Targaryens wouldn’t be anything. Just because he’s a good man, it doesn’t mean he’s not smart. He’s not a pushover, he’s a dragon and we need to see that too. So, I fought for that to be in it as well.”
Like other characters in the show, Viserys also undergoes a journey, said the actor, adding the character is hiding “a massive secret” that will bear implications on the history of Westeros, home to the Seven Kingdoms.
“He is basically cursing his daughter because that (The Iron Throne) is a cursed seat. I can’t reveal but he goes on a journey. Believe me whether or not he gets evil, it will be revealed,” said Considine.
Ryan Condal is attached as the showrunner on House of the Dragon along with Emmy winner Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed Game of Thrones episodes such as ‘The Battle of Bastards’ and ‘The Winds of Winter’. Sapochnik has directed the pilot and additional episodes in the show.
Olivia Cooke, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans round out the cast of the series.