How Paddy Considine's Parents Influenced His Performance In House Of The Dragon

Of all the characters and performances on display in HBO's "House of the Dragon," perhaps none left quite as memorable of a mark as Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen. As one of the only roles unaffected by the frequent time-jumps sprinkled throughout the first season of the "Game of Thrones" prequel/spin-off (or, at least, one of the only roles that didn't necessitate recasting), viewers got to sit with Considine's performance from the opening moments of the premiere until the character met his untimely end that kickstarted the Dance of the Dragons in earnest.

Much has been said about the actor's performance in bringing to life one of the franchise's most tragic characters with such nuance and complexity — a downward spiral that eventually turned literal when the misbegotten king's decaying physical condition worsened over time. Portraying a woefully overmatched royal figure who's essentially rotting from the inside out couldn't have been an easy task, which only makes Considine's take on Viserys all the more impressive. As it turns out, the actor turned to some heartbreakingly personal inspiration to help fine-tune his performance and make it feel as real as possible.

Unfortunately, as far too many can relate to, that meant looking back to the decline of his own parents in their old age and bringing those details to his work on "House of the Dragon."

'I'd been around that kind of sickness and watched that kind of suffering'

Like its parent series, "House of the Dragon" never hesitated to kill off characters in some of the most brutal ways that creator Ryan Condal and the rest of the creative team could dream up. With King Viserys, however, his demise was much slower and more drawn-out — and more tragic, as a result. In an interview with Complex released back when the character's final episode aired, actor Paddy Considine opened up about how he brought a personal touch to the failing rule of the aged monarch:

"Well, it sounds morbid, but it's true: I had parents that suffered. My dad got cancer, and his decline was really rapid. In weeks, he became like what Viserys pretty much became in the final episode. So I'd been around that kind of sickness and watched that kind of suffering. Some of it's quite horrific, really, to think about that and the awful sounds that my father made as he was in his last days of life. These gargling sounds, fighting for breath, and then also being high on painkilling drugs and things like that."

As one of the most consistently praised elements of the first season, Considine clearly tapped into emotional truths that struck a chord with viewers. According to him, that was the aim all along. "When you've seen something that close up that's so horrific, you're referring to something that's very, very real. That's all I ever wanted to do with Viserys, was imbue him with sincerity ... I've seen suffering and been around it in that way, watching someone die and literally watching that demise. There are things that you can use."

Season 1 of "House of the Dragon" is currently streaming on HBO Max.