Paddy Considine, who plays the Targaryen king Viserys I in House of the Dragon, has opened up about filming the hit TV series‘ grisliest scene. During the first episode, Viserys and his wife Aemma (Sian Brooke) are expecting the birth of their first son.
Well, Viseys is. Aemma keeps reminding him it could be another girl, but the king is confident and hosts a grand tourney to celebrate the birth of his heir. Unfortunately, Aemma’s labour is a difficult one, and the baby is breeched. With the maester’s unable to save both the mother and the child, Viserys is called upon to choose between the life of his son and wife.
He chooses his heir, and we get one of the most harrowing scenes in Game of Thrones. Aemma is tied to the bed, and her womb is cut open during what’s essentially a medieval caesarean birth. While we don’t see the entire procedure, the blood and screams we do see imply that Aemma dies in agony, literally having her son ripped from her by the man she loved.
While it was tough to watch the scene play out in the historical drama series, Considine says it was even tougher to perform.
“Those were hard days filming,” he told Insider. “It was tough to shoot. It’s all make-believe, but it was tough. It was very emotional. In fact, it was a lot more brutal and a lot more emotional than it ends up in the final episode. And I wasn’t sure about that when I first saw it.”
Considine praised Brooke, saying that while she was only there for a few days, she had a huge impact on the show. Props to Sian because she was going through the physicality of everything,” he said. “It was a very physical bit of work from her.”
House of the Dragon airs on HBO in the US and NOW in the UK on Mondays. If you want to know more about Westeros, check out our guide to the best Game of Thrones characters or we have a list of the best fantasy movies.