House of the Dragon Episode 8’s most emotional moment was improvised

Viserys and Daemon in House of the Dragon Episode 8HBO

One of the best scenes in House of the Dragon Episode 8 was the result of an “accident” during filming, and the actors improvised.

It feels like we’ve had a reason to say this every week, but Episode 8 really does feel like a major turning point for House of the Dragon. A head rolled, a royal inheritance was settled, and – for a brief moment – the fate of the Iron Throne seemed to be decided.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. The trailer for Episode 9 teases chaos and treason in King’s Landing, so enjoy the peace while it lasts.

Article continues after ad

Episode 8 is rather emotional throughout, but one moment stands apart from the rest – and it was entirely improvised.

House of the Dragon Episode 8’s best moment

In Episode 8, Vaemond Velaryon (Wil Johnson) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) stake their claim to the inheritance of Driftmark. In Viserys’ (Paddy Considine) absence as a result of his illness, Otto (Rhys Ifans) and Alicent (Olivia Cooke) imply their support for Vaemond prior to the hearing.

However, before it goes too far, Viserys returns to the court to “sit the throne” one last time, limping and wearing a mask to cover his hollowed-out eye socket.

As he walks up the steps, surrounded by rusty swords, he stumbles and his crown falls onto the ground. When someone tries to help him, Viserys insists he’s fine as he wants to do it on his own – until he turns and sees Daemon (Matt Smith) holding the crown.

Article continues after ad

Daemon helps him up the steps, and as he sits on the throne, he puts the crown on Viserys; his brother, his king.

House of the Dragon Episode 8 director explains how the scene was improvised

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Episode 8 director Geeta Patel opened up about the “accident” that saw this scene unfold the way it did.

“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. We didn’t stop [filming]. There was a discovery there of 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. And then we thought to ourselves, ‘We have the dinner coming up where Daemon’s gonna then give a speech. Are we gonna undercut that moment?'”

Article continues after ad

This speech was filmed, but it didn’t make the final cut. “We decided to shoot it both ways with the crown falling off and with the crown not falling off,” Patel continued.

“Every time the crown fell off, all of us just caught our breath and at the same time we thought, ‘Will we have anywhere to go by the time we get to the dinner?’ And funny enough, in the edit we discovered that the moment was actually the crown falling off, in my mind at least.

“Then when you got to the dinner, it was more of an aftermath moment. It was more about the dinner when Daemon gives that speech, there’s too many people in the room almost for that to be the emotional moment.

Article continues after ad

“I was so thankful that accident happened, 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.”

House of the Dragon Episode 9 will be available to watch on October 16 in the US and October 17 in the UK.