Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was its most shocking to date, featuring the jaw-dropping and surprising end of one of the series’ driving forces on the other side of the world – Viserys Targaryen.
In the episode, titled “A Golden Crown,” the young dragon prince met his end at the hand of warlord Khal Drogo and his Dothraki henchmen, who didn’t take kindly to the white-haired, unseated royal, threatening the life of the Khal’s wife – Viserys’ sister, Daenerys Targaryen.
Like it was in George R.R. Martin’s book, the scene was an unexpected and shocking twist, as Viserys finally got his crown – a boiling mess of gold, poured on his head – an act that snuffed out the young prince’s life.
There was a moment before Viserys met his end where he seemed almost likable, when the Khal finally agreed to make good on his promise to help the prince retake the Seven Kingdoms, and it was down to actor Harry Lloyd, who brought to life the entitled, exiled, ruthless – and inexperienced — prince, throughout the first six episodes.
“No actor believes in baddies; everyone does something for a reason, and that’s why I felt, to do the part, I had to know exactly why he had to do this. So the reasons had to be pretty big if the actions are so traumatic that he takes,” Harry told Access Hollywood of Visery’s final moments.
“It was always very clear why he was doing it and why he had to hit his sister and why she annoyed the hell out of him, and that’s why I love the scene just before the ‘Crown’ scene, which is reported in the book, but you never see it because Daenerys isn’t there – the scene between him and [Ser] Jorah – where you see [Viserys] try and steal the eggs and they give [Viserys] this incredible speech,” Harry continued.
“When I first read it, I was like, ‘He would never say that, he would never confess his feelings to Jorah! But I think that it really worked, where you see that he’s under a huge amount of pressure. He doesn’t necessarily want to, but he knows that he’s gotta do it and to see that before him going off and getting drunk and stumbling into the tent, I think is really interesting,” he added.
Like the scene earlier in the season where Cersei Lannister attempted to bond with Catelyn Stark (as Bran Stark was clinging to life) by sharing the death of her first born, Harry pointed out that “Game of Thrones” doesn’t let viewers firm up their judgements about characters.
“I love the fact that they don’t let you sit comfortably with anything, but that moment when he thinks he’s gonna get [the crown]… he’s like a little boy. And I think that’s how it felt, because suddenly, it was all very simple,” Harry said. “But I remember actually thinking about how to play it and on the day, when you do suddenly get it and Khal Drogo stands up, you’re thrilled, but… I remember feeling at the time very awkward because I’ve still got my sword to your belly, so suddenly you’re a little bit — you’re thrilled, but you’re also slightly embarrassed… He’s also aware of how awkward it is.”
Shot over two days, the actual “Golden Crown” scene was filmed using a host of special effects and props.
Harry explained he had a “gold molded kind of silicon hat,” and some of the burning effects were put into his costume.
“I also had these fantastic [packs]… They look like they’d been made by Boy Scouts. There was this incredible kind of smoke pack on my front!” he explained.
Click HERE to watch Harry explain how the episode was filmed!
Although he had only seen a rough version of the episode when he spoke to Access, Harry said he was looking forward to seeing the special effects on his character’s hair.
“I really want to see that wig go up in flames,” he laughed, referring to the famed Targaryen white hair, which the natural brunette sported throughout his run on the show.
Harry said he doesn’t expect to return to the show for Season 2, but a few recent occurrences in the first six episodes have left the door open.
“I remember them saying at the beginning there were going to be no dreams, no flashbacks, but we have seen a couple of Bran’s dreams, so I don’t know,” he said. “They can always ask me.”
Still, if Viserys is gone for good – or at least through Season 2 – Harry is moving on with a smile.
“I was never too upset about [it ending]… I always knew that was the part,” he said. “It was nice to play someone beginning to end — and also the fact that it is such a death scene. I’d rather have a death scene like that than seven series of any character. If you’re gonna go, you might as well go like that!”
Harry will next be seen later this year on the big screen in Meryl Streep’s “The Iron Lady,” playing a young version of the former British prime minister’s husband, Denis Thatcher.