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‘House of the Dragon’ Star Paddy Considine Details How His Personal Loss Inspired King Viserys’ Tragic Decline

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Paddy Considine has played cops, ex-cons, priests, architects, struggling actors, union organizers and rock band managers. But when his agent told him that Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik wanted him to play King Viserys I Targaryen in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel series, “House of the Dragon,” he couldn’t quite believe it was real. “I said, ‘Who’s turned this down?’ Because I’m cynical that way,” he says. “My agent was like, ‘I assure you, they’re just coming to you for it.’” Part of Considine’s disbelief was due to his feeling that the industry at large had only ever seen him as the working-class striver he made his name playing in the 2000s, in films such as “In America,” “My Summer of Love” and “Cinderella Man.” “I felt like I couldn’t break free from it,” he says. “I was happy to act.

But I just felt like I was capable of so much more than what I was being given to play with.” In Viserys, Considine felt he could finally showcase the full breadth of his talent.

The first season covers 20 years of in-fighting and betrayal within the Targaryen dynasty, as Viserys defends his decision to name his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock in the first half of the season, Emma D’Arcy in the second half) as his heir to the Iron Throne, rather than his younger brother, Daemon (Matt Smith), or his children by his second wife, Alicent (Emily Carey in the first half, Olivia Cooke in the second).

That battle grows even more difficult after Rhaenyra’s children are fathered by a man who isn’t her husband, an unvoiced scandal that Viserys refuses to acknowledge.

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