Steve Toussaint talks Lord Corlys Velaryon on HBO’s House of the Dragon

by W. Andrew Powell

Two hundred years before the events in Game of Thrones there was another fight for control of the Iron Throne in Westeros, and that’s where House of the Dragon begins.

Succession is everything, to keep the king stable, and when King Viserys doesn’t have a male heir, the Small Council is nervous, while his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen makes it clear she should be the Queen when her father’s time has passed.

Sitting on the Small Council, and one of the King’s top advisors, Steve Toussaint stars as Lord Corlys Velaryon, The Sea Snake. He’s a powerful naval commander, he’s the Lord of the Tides, and he is looking out for himself and his house above almost everything else.

“A character like that is a gift for an actor,” he said. “There was so much to explore in his character. He is an ambitious man, but he’s also a loving husband to his wife.”

“In fact, it’s one of the few relationships, if not the only relationship in the season, which is actually a healthy, loving relationship.”

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon
Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon, and Eve Best as Princess Rhaenys Velaryon

Toussaint’s first scene was with Eve Best, who plays his wife in the series, Rhaenys Velaryon, and she was his favourite scene partner.

“He’s concerned about having his family name go down in history, having its rightful place in history, as far as he’s concerned. One of the things that we discussed when I first met Miguel [Sapochnik] and co-showrunner Ryan [Condal], we didn’t discuss the fact that he was a warrior, the fact that he was a nautical explorer, or any of those things… we discussed the fact that he was a father.”

“He wants the best for his family. He doesn’t always go about it in the right way, he has very strong ideas about what’s right for them. He never asks his children, you know, ‘what do you want?’ That’s not who he is, but that was the motivation for him.”

Among his favourite scene partners on the series, Toussaint was especially fond of working opposite Best, but he also said he enjoyed one particular scene with Matt Smith, who plays Prince Daemon Targaryen.

“He’s plays dark very well. Yes. Enough for us to be concerned about him,” Toussaint said jokingly.

And then there was the action. Toussaint had one battle scene in particular that ended up being more challenging because it was so different from the rehearsals.

“So for weeks I would go to this mock up gym that they had and I would have my huge weapon and basically do these moves.”

“The problem was, once we got to actually shoot the scene, I’m wearing the armour, I’ve got the helmet on, right, there is smoke everywhere. We’re on sand, and the stuntmen are not coming at me like they were supposed to be coming at me in a nice, neat line.”

“And it felt like I was going, [mimes flailing in the air, laughs]. If it looks good, that’s a testament to the director, Greg [], and the editors.”

He didn’t need to worry though because the scene looks fantastic.

Watch the full interview to hear what Steve Toussaint had to share about House of the Dragon, including more of what you can expect from the Sea Snake. He also talked about how he first got into watching Game of Thrones, and how much he wanted to get a part in the franchise.

Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon
Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon

Portrait of Steve Toussaint by W. Andrew Powell/The GATE. All other photos courtesy of HBO.

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