One Of House Of The Dragon's Most Moving Moments Was A Total Accident

This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of "House of the Dragon."

Paddy Considine put in a great performance in last night's "House of the Dragon," bidding the sickly King Viserys goodbye with an episode that was all about the character's painful yet dignified final days. In a world known for double-crossing and bloodshed, it was interesting to see Viserys go out in a non-violent but still excruciating way. Even more interesting? The definitive choices the king made in his last hours, bucking his long-standing reputation as an indecisive ruler. Most memorably, he took to the Iron Throne one last time to settle a dispute about the future of Driftmark.

Only, it wasn't easy for Viserys to get there. The king's progressive illness has hindered him more and more with each episode, and by "The Lord of the Tides," he's not nearly as mobile as he once was. After his full titles are announced, he stumbles his way across the throne room, moving slowly but never letting his kingly expression falter. When a member of the court attempts to help him, he brushes them off. But as he reaches the steps, his crown tumbles off his head, clattering to the ground.

It's a resonant moment, one that could have served as the symbolic kiss of death for his rule if another member of the family picked it up and held fast to it. Yet in a quiet, surprising bit of character development, it's his brother Daemon (Matt Smith) who grabs the crown, and the long-antagonistic prince places it back on Viserys' head when he's finally seated. According to episode director Geeta Patel, this moment was actually a happy accident that came about in rehearsals.

A serendipitous gesture

"When we were shooting that — I think the rehearsal again, the first day — the crown fell off of Paddy's head and Matt picked it up and we just kept going. We didn't stop [filming]," Patel told Entertainment Weekly. "There was a discovery there of this moment." Apparently, an earlier version of the episode included a moment at the dinner table in which Daemon gave a speech, and Patel, Smith, and Considine weren't sure if the moment they'd just discovered would undercut that sequence.

But, she says, "The three of us got together and they were like, 'We felt this. This felt like the turning point in our relationship.'" The filmmaker adds, "We decided to shoot it both ways with the crown falling off and with the crown not falling off. Every time the crown fell off, all of us just caught our breath." Patel says that it was only later, during the edit, that she decided that the moment in which Daemon carries the crown was more emotional than the speech they'd shot. "There's too many people in the room almost for that to be the emotional moment," Patel says of the scrapped speech. Instead, the episode ultimately went with the powerful but silent gesture in the throne room.

Patel says she "was so thankful that accident happened," because it provided a throughline back to the pilot, allowing the two characters one last turning point before Viserys' reign ended. "Hey, I want your crown," she summarizes, "and by the end here I'm gonna put the crown back on your head and I'm gonna help you to your throne." It really was a serendipitous accident, one that resulted in a decidedly unshowy moment that was nonetheless on of the episode's most memorable.