The battle for the Iron Throne is once again at the center of Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon — and turns out the fight was just as contentious offscreen as on.
“Paddy was so possessive,” star Eve Best reveals of Paddy Considine, who plays King Viserys Targaryen in the HBO series, and took his role so seriously that he kept his fellow actors away from sitting on the throne between shots.
“It was like it was his,” confirmed Steve Toussaint at the show’s premiere in Los Angeles on Wednesday. “At one point I said to him — because my character has a throne too, but it’s nowhere near like that — I said, ‘You can sit on mine if I can sit on —’ and he was like, ‘Nah.’”
Olivia Cooke, whose character becomes the Queen, said even she was restricted from throne access.
“As soon as I saw the Iron Throne in rehearsals I ran straight up to it and plonked my ass on it. But on set, Paddy was quite territorial, so when he wasn’t looking I’d do a quick [sit],” she teased. And although he wasn’t specifically scolding them, “It was just an aura, just a feeling that you got like, ‘OK, maybe don’t go up.’”
Best teased that she finally got her chance to sit on the iconic seat during Comic-Con, where HBO had set up a replica for fans. Toussaint, though, was thwarted by Considine once more. At the San Diego pop-up, “He shifted me again! I was shooting it and then he walked up with that big grin of his and I was like, ‘OK, I’ll leave.’”
House of the Dragon is set 200 years before Game of Thrones and tells the story of House Targaryen, from which Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys and (spoiler alert) Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow descended.
Ahead of shooting, there was some conversation between the old and new casts, as Cooke said she texted with Maisie Williams (who played Arya Stark) and Emma D’Arcy (who stars as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen) had dinner with Clarke.
“Emma gleaned a lot of knowledge from that, and Emilia from what Emma said was really generous,” Cooke said. “And me and Maisie had a few texts — I worked with Maisie when I was 18 and she was like 15, so I’ve known her for a long time.”
Playing the Targaryens also meant the cast were in for those signature blonde wigs and massive, royal sets. Matt Smith, who plays Prince Daemon Targaryen, said when he first saw himself in costume he wondered, “Bloody hell, how am I going to act through that?”
“I was like, ‘How can I act through this blonde wig?’ because all you can see is the blonde wig when you first put it on,” he told THR, adding it took “ages” to apply in the hair trailer. “But it’s like anything, you get used to it and learn to ignore it. It was cool in the end, I’ve got three sorts of distinct haircuts in this, which is lucky because everyone else has just one thing all the time.”
Of her first day on set, Cooke said it was “so surreal.”
“You’re in this costume and you have hair down to here and you’re walking onto the Red Keep, the castle that they’ve built three stories of. And it’s almost like they don’t really know how to make TV or film — they’ve just built the whole thing as one castle. It’s like no, no, you can have separate rooms! [But with the sets] you can do just one big long tracking shot all the way through the castle, it’s amazing.”
House of the Dragon premieres on HBO Max Aug. 21.