Paddy Considine Breaks Down Those Two Pivotal Scenes In House Of The Dragon's First Episode

The first episode of "House of the Dragon" has aired, and among other things, it introduces us to Paddy Considine's King Viserys — a good man but a not-so-great king.

It was Viserys' complexity that drew Considine to the role and to the "Game of Thrones" universe after he passed on the original "GoT" script over a decade ago. "There's so many characters that are written, and they're just so surface — there's no depth to them," Considine shared during a roundtable discussion I took part in. "I thought there was a lot of depth in Viserys and a lot of tragedy in him. And I thought he was a gift."

Viserys goes through a lot in the first episode and makes some difficult and perhaps unexpected choices that will no doubt reverberate throughout the season. Read on for his take on two of these major decisions below. And be warned!

Spoilers for the first episode of "House of the Dragon" lie below!

'It was a very, very long day and it was very, very emotional'

One of the hardest scenes to watch in the first episode is when Viserys' wife, Aemma Arryn, dies in childbirth along with their baby. Viserys is first presented with the choice of trying to save one over the other, and ultimately chooses his child, who then also ends up dying.

Shooting that scene, unsurprisingly, was intense. "It was a very, very long day and it was very, very emotional," he shared. The choice of choosing his legacy over his wife also haunts Viserys for the remainder of his days. "I don't think he ever recovers from Aemma's death, ever," Considine continued. "And that's part of his downfall really and how he spirals ... he lost the love of his life."

Aemma and his baby son's death also damages Viserys' relationship with his living daughter, Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), and his brother Daemon (Matt Smith). As Considine explained:

"Through losing Aemma, now he's estranged from Rhaenyra, who is without her mother. He's dealing with a brother that was unruly and lawless, who he's always constantly defending and sticking up for ... and then his brother insults the memory of his wife and his dead child."

'It's not a gift, it's kind of a curse'

That move by Daemon results in a tense exchange between Daemon and Viserys, where the King tells Daemon that he's no longer the heir to the throne and that he must leave King's Landing. "[Viserys] was deeply hurt by his brother and his irresponsible, callous behavior," explained Considine. "And I think that he says to Daemon, 'Why do you cut me so deeply? If you are supposed to be my brother and you want to be by my side, why would you do that?'"

Viserys and Rhaenyra also have a long scene (in front of a famed dragon skull, no less!) where the King tells his daughter that she is the new heir to the throne.

"You can see from Viserys' point of view that it's not an easy decision, because what he's effectively handing something to his daughter — it's not a gift, it's kind of a curse," shared Considine. "It's heavy, and that's a difficult thing to pass on to your child."

The scene also serves as exposition, though the details about the myth of a great evil coming from the north dovetails well with the emotional moment between father and daughter, where Viserys acknowledges that being a ruler, well, kinda sucks. "He [names Rhaenyra his heir] out of a sense of desperation a little bit," Considine admitted. "You just try to instill in her how dangerous this seat that everybody craves is actually not what everybody thinks it is."

'Where's Mushroom?'

Considine also takes credit for a cameo we'll see later on in the season. "I'm responsible for Mushroom being in this show," he said, referring to the official court fool who was the "source" of lots of court gossip in George R.R. Martin's "The World of Ice & Fire," the book the series is based on.

"I'm taking that, because I'm looking through [the scripts] and I'm going 'Where's Mushroom? How come he's nowhere to be seen? He's got to be around here somewhere.' [Co-showrunner Ryan Condal] will say it was all his idea, but we managed to squeeze him in somewhere. And that was because of me."

"House of the Dragon" premiered on HBO on Sunday, August 21, and will also stream on HBO Max. The remaining episodes will drop weekly on Sundays.