Paddy Considine has discussed how the “difficult” loss of his father to cancer inspired his House of the Dragon deathbed scene.
The 49-year-old British actor portrays King Viserys I Targaryen in the Game of Thrones prequel, whose health swiftly declines throughout the first season.
By the eighth episode, “The Lord of the Tides”, he’s quite literally falling apart after having lost an eye, half his face, and a majority of his hair.
He eventually succumbs to leprosy in his sleep at the end of the hour.
In a new interview with Variety, Considine opened up about his father’s death from cancer and how watching his “slow decline” informed how he acted out King Viserys’ final moments.
“My father was really fighting,” he said. “The nurses came around, they said he has 24 hours. Then it was three days later, and they’re looking at you going, ‘I don’t know what’s keeping him going.’
“I remember one day looking into his eyes, and I just said to him, ‘Dad…’ – this is very difficult. [Long pause.] But I said, ‘Dad, just let go. Just let go, Dad,’” he remembered.
“And he couldn’t. He didn’t want to let go. You know, this is big stuff, but times in his life, he’d attempted to take his own life. And then when I see him dying, I wasn’t sure if he finally was like, ‘Actually, I really want to live,’ or ‘I am f***ing terrified of dying.’”
Considine admitted that, to this day, he still doesn’t know. “But sometimes when people pass, I feel like they know. It’s like when a dog goes away to die on its own. And I felt that very much with Viserys.”
Speaking about the “strange” experience of playing somebody whose dying, “especially a prolonged death”, he recalled having to be “taken off set and given regular fresh air, because I was nearly passing out”.
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“My oxygen level started to go down,” he explained. “It’s almost like your brain starts to tell your body that you are sick. It’s really quite weird.”
Following its successful 2021 debut, House of the Dragon was promptly renewed for a second season.
However, production is currently on hold because of the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, screenwriter and author of the Game of Thrones books George RR Martin recently confirmed.