As this season of House of the Dragon sets up the wars to come, a feeling of peace is briefly granted to the ailing King Viserys (Paddy Considine) in “The Lord of the Tides.” For the first time in years, his entire family descends on King’s Landing to grapple over control of Driftmark—resulting in some, uh, spicy moments mixed with something almost as surprising: earnest grace.
Those moments played out spontaneously, according to episode director Geeta Patel, who spoke about the sequence to Entertainment Weekly.
In the scene, we see Daemon (Matt Smith) helping his brother Viserys up the stairs to his throne, which the king allows even though he wanted to fight through the pain of his condition to make his way on his own. “Daemon helps Viserys up the stairs to the throne ‘cause Viserys is so weak, he can’t make it himself,” Patel explained. “First, a soldier comes up to Viserys, and Viserys shakes him away and says, ‘No, no, no. I can do this myself.’ He has the pride. And then another person comes to him and he thinks it’s a soldier and it’s actually his brother. When we were shooting that, the crown fell off of Paddy’s head and Matt picked it up and we just kept going. We didn’t stop [filming]. There was a discovery there of this moment,” in what became the most moving scene in last night’s episode.
Patel continued that after that spontaneous take, she talked to Considine and Smith about keeping it, “They were like, ‘We felt this. This felt like the turning point in our relationship.’ It’s just a silent moment. And then we thought to ourselves, ‘We have the dinner coming up where Daemon’s gonna then give a speech. Are we gonna undercut that moment?’ We decided to shoot it both ways with the crown falling off and with the crown not falling off.” Ultimately, the silent moment proved more impactful. “Every time the crown fell off, all of us just caught our breath and at the same time we thought, ‘Will we have anywhere to go by the time we get to the dinner?’ And funny enough, in the edit we discovered that the moment was actually the crown falling off, in my mind at least.”
Smith’s dinner speech as Daemon ended up being cut for time but Patel clarified, “It was more of an aftermath moment. It was more about the dinner when Daemon gives that speech, there’s too many people in the room almost for that to be the emotional moment. I was so thankful that accident happened, that the crown fell off because it proved to be, at least for me, quite a heavy moment and quite a turning point for a storyline that had started in the pilot: Hey, I want your crown and by the end here I’m gonna put the crown back on your head and I’m gonna help you to your throne.”
House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.
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