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House of the Dragon episode 8: this moving scene was improvised

Episode 8 of Season 1 of “House of the Dragon” did not leave viewers unmoved. A poignant scene between Viserys Targaryen and his brother Daemon was not planned in the script. WARNING ! This article contains SPOILERS for the episode!

House of the Dragon: an emotional episode 8

Ten years separated episodes 5 and 6 of House of the Dragon, six separate the 7 and 8. Thus, after having attended the wedding between Rhaenyra and Daemon, we find them years later, still as welded, and now parents of two children. This further complicates matters for Viserys’ estate.

This eighth chapter relates the last hours of his reign, to his death. An episode in which he appears ravaged by the disease which has devoured part of his face, and because of which he is unable to stand. He nevertheless finds the strength to sit on the Iron Throne one last time, during an audience with Vaemond Velaryon, Corlys Velaryon’s brother. A sequence rich in emotions, especially when Viserys stumbles before arriving on the throne.

Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) – House of the Dragon episode 8 © HBO

This scene from episode 8 of House of the Dragon is representative of Viserys’ state of mind. Even in agony, he wishes to protect his estate at all costs and offer the iron throne to his only daughter Rhaenyra, as he has always wanted. Vaemond Velaryon, wishing to be named Lamarck’s heir, represents a danger for the latter, because he is convinced that his children are bastards. Viserys uses its last gasp energy to condemn Vaemond’s abject words, and the latter is killed by Daemon (who couldn’t stand his calling Rhaenyra a “slut”).

A welcome improvisation

Viserys and Daemon Targaryen Viserys and Daemon Targaryen – House of the Dragon episode 8 © HBO

In the columns of Entertainment Weekly, the director of the episode returned to the filming of this memorable sequence. She confides in particular that she did not want to shorten her painful march to arrive on the Iron Throne:

It took twenty minutes, and it was just the first take. I was advised to cut the scene. I said that was out of the question. This walk is his story. He is in terrible pain, but he is moving towards a goal. He wants to save the kingdom. If we cut the scene to make it shorter, we lose that dimension.

When Viserys (Paddy Considine) ascends the steps to the throne, his crown falls to the ground. Her brother Daemon (Matt Smith) picks her up and hands her over. A gesture that was not planned in the script, but that the director chose to keep:

It was during rehearsals. The first day I believe. The crown fell from Paddy’s head and Matt picked it up. We continued to film. It was a real discovery. When the three of us got together, it was obvious, we all felt that it was a crucial moment in the relationship between Viserys and his brother. Then we tried to shoot the scene without the crown falling on the ground, and it wasn’t as powerful. I’m glad this accident happened. It’s a real twist from the first episode where Daemon wants his brother’s crown. There he puts her back on her head, and helps her to accede to the throne.

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