The nominations for the 2023 Emmy Awards have been announced, and while the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon received a Best Drama Series nomination, the cast of the show was surprisingly left out. Despite the series being praised for its well-written characters and compelling performances, House of the Dragon did not receive a single acting nomination.
However, HBO still had success in other categories, with shows like Succession, Barry, and The White Lotus earning multiple nominations in the acting categories. Many fans and critics find it perplexing that actors from House of the Dragon, such as Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, Milly Alcock, Emma D’Arcy, Emily Carey, and Olivia Cooke, were overlooked for their outstanding portrayals. One particular omission that stands out is Paddy Considine, who delivered an Emmy-worthy performance as King Viserys the Peaceful. This snub is seen as a major disappointment for Game of Thrones fans, reminiscent of the impact of the Red Wedding.
The Complex Dilemmas and Tragic Fate of King Viserys Targaryen in ‘House of the Dragon’
Approximately a century prior to the events of Game of Thrones, King Viserys Targaryen the First ascended the throne, delving into the extensive history of the Targaryen dynasty before their overthrow by the Lannisters and Baratheons. King Viserys, also known as Viserys the Peaceful, stands out as a remarkable ruler unlike any we have encountered in the Game of Thrones universe. He possesses a gentle and kind nature, displaying genuine love and care for his wife Aemma, his daughter Rhaenyra, and even his troublesome brother, Daemon.
Viserys Targaryen strives to be a good king, demonstrating a level of vulnerability and humanity rarely seen among leaders in this franchise. He does not embody the debauchery of Robert Baratheon or the selfish tyranny of Cersei Lannister. Instead, Viserys is an ordinary individual with reasonable thoughts and desires, burdened with the responsibility of leading Westeros towards peace and prosperity.
Across the eight episodes featuring King Viserys, he consistently faces nearly impossible choices as a monarch. These decisions bear weight not only on the realm’s safety and preservation but also on the well-being of his own family. The first episode establishes this predicament clearly when Viserys is compelled to make a grim decision concerning his pregnant wife, which some initially perceived as him murdering Aemma, despite it being a choice where at least one life could be saved. As the seasons progress and the years within the show pass, these choices become increasingly challenging, including the repeated exile and reinstatement of his brother, as well as selecting potential wives who are the same age as his daughter.
What intensifies the gravity of these impossible decisions is that Viserys is operating under limited time. Through a cruel twist of fate, a seemingly insignificant cut on his hand, inflicted by the Iron Throne itself, causes Viserys to contract leprosy. As he ages, his body deteriorates, while he desperately attempts to salvage what remains of his beleaguered family. Though he may not achieve that goal in his lifetime, his final moments provide the once-proud king with a tranquil respite.
The Unfortunate Emmy Oversight: Paddy Considine’s Absence and the Imbalance in the Supporting Actor Category
Amidst the ongoing Writers Strike, the significance of strong storytelling and character development seems to be forgotten in Hollywood. However, House of the Dragon defies this trend by combining impeccable writing, exceptional directing, and meticulous production design to portray the aging and illness of King Viserys with great finesse. While all these elements are crucial, the true secret ingredient lies in the talent of the actor behind the character.
Paddy Considine, a two-time BAFTA Award winner, has established a remarkably diverse career, delivering compelling dramatic performances in films like Dead Man’s Shoes and In America, while also showcasing his comedic prowess in Hot Fuzz and The Death of Stalin. In House of the Dragon, Considine harnesses both ends of the spectrum to captivate audiences. As a predominantly dramatic series set in a violent, raunchy, and epic fantasy world, Considine excels in portraying the emotional turmoil experienced by Viserys. Furthermore, his comedic background adds depth and authenticity to the character’s lighthearted and amiable demeanor.
Considine’s greatest strength lies in his brilliant acting choices when depicting Viserys at different stages of his life, facilitated by the show’s significant time jumps. Initially, we meet Viserys as a confident and charismatic monarch, who enjoys a rare popularity among his subjects in the Game of Thrones universe. However, as Viserys ages and succumbs to illness, the once-likeable presence gradually wanes, showcasing Considine’s exceptional range and versatility as an actor.
The omission of Paddy Considine from the Emmy nominations becomes even more disheartening when considering the imbalance in the supporting actor category. Despite the category having eight slots, only two shows are represented: Succession and The White Lotus. Succession claims four nominations with Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, and Alexander Skarsgård, while The White Lotus secures nominations for F. Murray Abraham, Michael Imperioli, Theo James, and Will Sharpe.
There are valid arguments to be made that a significant portion of these nominees could be considered lead roles rather than supporting ones. Additionally, it raises questions about the purpose of having eight slots if they are predominantly filled by actors from just two shows. This decision not only undermines the recognition deserved by actors like Considine but also overlooks supporting actors from other series who delivered commendable performances and were ultimately snubbed.