The game is once again afoot. After a full year and a half with zero Game of Thrones content to be had anywhere, the first official casting for the HBO hit's spinoff series House of the Dragon has arrived. With fans going wild over any confirmation of what the series will be about and when it will be set in the Westeros timeline, these casting details are the first clues for the fan theory machine to feast upon since 2019. But who's Paddy Considine? House of the Dragon's Viserys I Targaryen, first of his name, is a very different character than the Viserys fans met back in Braavos.
Paddy Considine is a British actor referred to as "the best-kept secret in British movies." American moviegoers will probably recognize him as Simon Ross from The Bourne Ultimatum. However, he's been in several other critically-acclaimed films, including The Death of Stalin, Hot Fuzz, and The Girl with All the Gifts. The 47-year-old actor is confirmed to be playing Viserys I Targaryen, whose passing at the age of 52 in 129 AC kicks off the events that lead to the Dance of Dragons.
When HBO revealed House of the Dragon would be heir to HBO's Iron Throne, the announcement said it was "based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood." A sprawling history of the Targaryen dynasty, Fire & Blood is supposed to be a two-volume set, with the first book spanning from 2 BC (Before Aegon's Conquest) through the end of the rule of Aegon III Targaryen in 157 AC (After Conquest). With over 150 years of history to pull from, fans weren't sure where the show would begin.
When fans think of Viserys Targaryen, most think of the unstable older brother of Daenerys — pathetic, angry, and foolish. But the man he was named after was none of these things. Born in 77 AC, Viserys I was a kind man, but not one who could be easily swayed. He also loved a good tourney.
His ascension to the throne was a bit of an accident. His grandfather, Old King Jaehaerys I, accidentally outlived both his first and second born sons, Aemon and Baelon. There was a Great Council in 101 AC to head off a Civil War between supporters of Baelon's son Viserys and those of Princess Rhaenys' seven-year-old son Laenor Velaryon. Prince Viserys was 24 and had heirs. The decision to put him on the throne over Laenor established male primogeniture over all other claims.
Viserys ruled well, but his ascension sowed the seeds that eventually brought Civil War to Westeros. Sadly, Viserys also unwittingly helped this along as well by his own decisions. When none of his sons lived to adulthood, he groomed his daughter, Rhaenyra Targaryen, for the throne, despite the newly established preference for male rulers. That problem was compounded when he remarried, and his new wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
House of the Dragon does not yet have a release date, but most assume it will arrive in April of 2022.