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Who is the villain in ‘House of the Dragon?’ It’s King Viserys

The “Game of Thrones” spinoff series “House of the Dragon” doesn’t have any stand-out psychos like Joffrey from the original show just yet — but on closer look, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) may just be the HBO Max show’s main villain.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Episode 2 of “House of the Dragon.” 

Set around 200 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” “House of the Dragon,” which has already been renewed for a Season 2, follows the schemes of the silver-haired, dragon-riding Targaryen family, ruled by King Viserys. At first glance, his dastardly younger brother Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) is the more obvious villain. 

On last week’s episode, Daemon went on a rampage killing people who were supposedly criminals under the guise of “cleaning up the city,” visited brothels despite having a wife and showed a brazen disregard for just about every institution. In this week’s installment, Daemon throws what’s basically a tantrum, trying to seize some power for himself after the king exiles him, which cut off his chances of getting the throne. But, Daemon is able to be stopped by his niece Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), showing that he’s got the capacity for reason. He can occasionally do the right thing — or at least, listen to Rhaenyra.

Viserys, on the other hand, seems like the better brother. On the outside, he’s a much nicer guy: He’s friendly, cheerful and is a widely liked King who doesn’t murder his own subjects. In the world of Westeros, this is rare! 

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen sitting at the head of a table looking suspicious.
Paddy Considine plays King Viserys Targaryen on the “Game of Thrones” spin-off.

But, beneath the surface, he’s unwilling to listen to anybody else when he’s set on a course of action – which is much more dangerous in the long run than Daemon’s chaotic antics. 

In the first episode, Viserys essentially killed his wife after he disregarded her wishes and made a medical decision for her, leading to a grisly medieval-esque C-section scene. In this second episode, Viserys decides to take on his daughter’s bestie, Alicent Hightower (Emma Carey) as his new wife. This is creepy because she’s around 18 and he’s around 40 — but it also shows an underhanded selfishness from him.

Choosing Alicent as his wife upsets his daughter, and it also pisses off his powerful ally, Corlys (Steve Toussaint), since King Viserys chooses Alicent over Corlys’ daughter — even though his advisors all tell him that picking Corlys’ daughter would be the more politically savvy move.

Paddy Considine as King Viserys wearing a crown and looking tense.
Paddy Considine as King Viserys.

So, Viserys’ selfish choice of Alicent as his next wife alienates his daughter, and it causes Corlys, one of his most powerful allies, to leave his side and go team up with Daemon. 

Viserys isn’t a psycho like any of the notorious “Game of Thrones” torture-happy lunatics. He’s no Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), a devious schemer like Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), or even a tyrannical ruler, like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Viserys is a seemingly nice guy, which is not the type of baddie that we’re used to from the world of “GoT” — but he may just be the show’s most secretly evil character. 

“House of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. 

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