Anyone who’s watched Game of Thrones and its prequel series House of the Dragon knows these fantasy series are typically all about betrayals, backstabbing, and scheming. There’s no time for love and sweetness in the land of Westeros, and if you’re naïve enough to show weakness, you’ll quickly lose your head.
Just ask everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones character Ned Stark. Oh, wait, you can’t because Ned showed Cersei some mercy, and she had his head cut off. It’s that type of TV series. But despite this being the general rule, we get a brief reprieve from the bloodshed every now and again, and House of the Dragon episode 8 gave us a surprisingly sweet moment.
The scene in question saw King Viserys Targaryen burst into the throne room to defend his daughter from those seeking to disgrace her. Usually, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but Viserys is so close to death’s door that he can smell the varnish, and he’s so weak that he finds walking the steps to his throne exhausting.
As Viserys shuffled his way to the Iron Throne, the King’s crown fell from his head and clattered on the ground. Just as it seemed that Viserys wouldn’t make it to the Iron Throne, his brother Daemon Targaryen stepped in and helped him, placing the crown back on his head.
It was a powerful moment that reminded us that despite everything he’s done, Daemon still loves his brother deeply. As it happens, though, Geeta Patel — who directed episode 8 — explained this scene came about because of a happy accident during rehearsal.
“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,” she told EW. “We didn’t stop [filming]. There was a discovery there at this moment. So then the three of us got together, and they were like, ‘We felt this. This felt like the turning point in our relationship.’ It’s just a silent moment.”
Geeta and her crew decided to shoot two versions of the scene. One where the crown fell from Viserys’ head and one where he managed to keep it on. They all agreed, though, that the sight of Daemon placing the crown on Viserys’ head was so powerful they had to keep it in, and it also allowed them to cut a speech Daemon gave later that basically served the same purpose.
“I was so thankful that accident happened,” Geeta finished. “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.'”
If you’re enjoying your return to the world of Westeros, check out our guide to the House of the Dragon cast, or we have a guide to Ser Criston Cole and Larys Strong, two key players in the upcoming Targaryen civil war.