As the action in House of the Dragon well and truly ramps up, there's one character whose actions will prove massive to the action: King Viserys I Targaryen (played by Paddy Considine).

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The King who probably shouldn't have been king in the first place has been responsible for causing the main tension in the series by naming his daughter Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) as the heir to the Iron Throne, breaking years of tradition as she's a female.

Often pictured in ill-health, Viserys hasn't had the easiest of times as the King, but is always desperate to unite his family, whatever the cost.

Need to get up to speed on Viserys? Read on to find out who the character is, his family line, and all you need to know to enjoy House of the Dragon.

Who is King Viserys I Targaryen in House of the Dragon?

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen HBO

Spouses: Queen Aemma Arryn, Queen Alicent Hightower

Children: Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Prince Aegon Targaryen

As the grand title above suggests, King Viserys I Targaryen is the fifth king to come from the Targaryen family and is the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms when we meet him in House of the Dragon.

HBO describes him as: "A warm, kind, and decent man, Viserys only wishes to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy, but as we’ve learned from Game of Thrones, good men do not necessarily make for great kings."

He was chosen by the lords of Westeros to succeed the Old King (and his grandfather), King Jaehaerys I Targaryen – Viserys's father died before he could ever claim the Iron Throne. Jaehaerys was the grandson of Aegon the Conqueror, the man who forged the Iron Throne when he united Westeros, so Viserys is certainly from noble blood.

While Viserys tries to continue his grandfather's hugely successful – and quite peaceful – reign of 50 years, all is not well in his family, as he wasn't really supposed to be the rightful heir to the Throne.

Though Jaehaerys's children were all deceased, his first-born son, Prince Aemon Targaryen, had a daughter, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best), who would technically have had more of a right to the Throne should the proper lineage have played out. She was passed over by the lords for being a woman (though it was disguised as a popularity vote to stop her son Laenor Velaryon, who isn't solely Targaryen blood, from becoming king), and became known as 'The Queen Who Never Was'. And it's safe to say House Velaryon isn't happy to be overlooked.

To make matters worse, King Viserys and his wife, Queen Aemma Arryn, failed to produce a male heir, only conceiving daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock, Emma D'Arcy). Considering the questionable means leading to Viserys's succession, he is insistent the Throne should be passed to a male, which would mean the King's next male relative.

Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen HBO/Sky Atlantic

Enter Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), a hot-headed and possibly mad Targaryen who even Viserys can't stomach on the Throne – but he is certain he deserves it.

On top of that, Viserys faces challenges from House Hightower, a powerful family tied to his Hand of the King, Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), who all have strong ties to the Faith of the Seven.

Matters grow ever more complicated following the brutal death of Queen Aemma in childbirth and then Prince Daemon mocks the late baby son who died too.

After this, Viserys names Rhaenyra as his heir and the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

However, when Viserys chooses to remarry and wed Lady Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey, Olivia Cooke), he ends up having further children, including a possible male heir in Prince Aegon Targaryen.

House of the Dragon has been following the repercussions of this wedding throughout - and it's safe to say it has caused a lot of tensions.

When Alicent gives birth to Aegon, whispers begin to circle King's Landing that he will be the heir, not Rhaenyra; after all, the Iron Throne shouldn't belong to a woman at this time in Westerosi history.

The charge is led by Alicent herself, who conspires with her father, Otto, to get her son on the Throne. Using dirty tactics, she tries to constantly damage Rhaenyra's reputation by suggesting her children are bastards.

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Tensions hit an all time high when Aegon pushes Rhaenyra's children too far, and young Lucerys slashes his face in a brawl, causing Aegon to lose his eye.

Alicent and Rhaenyra, who used to be besties it's worth noting, are well and truly enemies at this point, but with Viserys remaining firm in his decision to name Rhaenyra the heir, there's not a lot Alicent can do... or is there?

In episode 8 of House of the Dragon, Viserys finally takes his last breath, but not before getting confused and telling Alicent about the Song of Ice and Fire prophecy all future kings and queens need to be aware of it. Believing it to be Rhaenyra he's talking to, he tells Alicent that she must unite the realm and that Aegon would be the The Prince That Was Promised. Uh-oh.

Now Viserys is dead, the battle for the Iron Throne will become fierce and nasty - prepare for an explosive end to the series.

Speaking about the future of the series, Considine said to The Hollywood Reporter: “What happens beyond this is total mayhem. It’s like everything Viserys worked hard to prevent happening, happens. It’s absolute destruction and mayhem and madness.”

Who is Paddy Considine?

Paddy Considine attends the "House Of The Dragon" Sky Group Premiere at Leicester Square on August 15, 2022 in London, England.
Paddy Considine at the House Of The Dragon premiere in London. Lia Toby/Getty Images

Paddy Considine (48) takes on the role of King Viserys in House of the Dragon.

Those familiar with Shane Meadows will know Considine often collaborates with him, but he's also known for Peaky Blinders, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and The Outsider.

In 2008, he won the BAFTA for Best Short Film for his project, Dog Altogether.

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House of the Dragon premieres on Sky Atlantic and NOW on Monday 22nd August 2022. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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