Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen in Episode 8 of “House of the Dragon.” (Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO)
The moving conclusion to a complex relationship in “House of the Dragon” almost never happened.
Spoilers for “House of the Dragon” Episode 8 below!
One of the series’ most powerful moments occurs in the “The Lord of the Tides” episode when a sick King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is helped to the Iron Throne by his estranged brother, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith). Viserys’ crown falls off his head, and Daemon picks it up.
Geeta Patel, who directed Episode 8, told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Sunday that Viserys’ crown tumbling to the ground wasn’t actually in the script. It was just a mistake that occurred on set.
“When we were shooting that — I think the rehearsal again, the first day — the crown fell off of Paddy’s head and Matt picked it up and we just kept going. We didn’t stop [filming],” Patel said. “There was a discovery there of this moment.”
Matt Smith (Prince Daemon Targaryen), Harry Collett (Prince Jacaerys 'Jace' Velaryon) and Emma D'Arcy (Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen) act in “House of the Dragon” Episode 8. (Photo: Liam Daniel/HBO)
In the scene, a very sick Viserys enters the throne room to make an important decision. He is having a difficult time walking and is offered assistance that he proudly rejects. But when Viserys’ crown falls off, he is offered help yet again — this time from Daemon. In a stirring moment that cements the brothers’ love for one another, Viserys allows Daemon to walk him to the throne.
Once Viserys is on the Iron Throne, Daemon places the crown back on Viserys’ head and the two have a silent but emotionally potent exchange. It is the last meaningful moment the two share before Viserys dies at the end of the episode.
The original plan for the conclusion of the brothers’ relationship was for Daemon to deliver a toast at the family dinner later in the episode. Daemon’s speech was later cut for time.
But the actors and director felt there was something really special about the touching but wordless crowning moment. So, the scene in the throne room was shot two ways — with and without Viserys’ crown falling off — and the version that made it to the final cut was the one that aired Sunday.
“I was so thankful that accident happened,” Patel told Entertainment Weekly, “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.’”
This isn’t the only time Smith has delivered a significant but silent performance in “House of the Dragon.” In Episode 3, Daemon portrays a range of strong emotions during a long battle sequence without saying a single word.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.