Tuesday July 23rd, 2024
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An Early Look at 'House of the Dragon' Season 2 With Steve Toussaint

OSN invited CairoScene and SceneNowUAE to Dubai for an early peek at the new season!

John Bichara

An Early Look at 'House of the Dragon' Season 2 With Steve Toussaint

'House of the Dragon', the prequel series to 'Game of Thrones', has shaped up to be a worthy successor to the infamous fantasy series, immersing viewers almost everywhere into George R. R. Martin's dark world of political intrigue, fantastical threats and unflinching violence. After the first season's absolutely brutal finale in late 2022, during which House Targaryen - the noble family whose power is backed by their powerful dragons - was split into two opposing factions, we only had just enough time to breathe before we were invited by OSN to get an early look at the next season in Dubai's luxurious Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel. And there to watch it with us was none other than Steve Toussaint - aka Lord Corlys Velaryon the Sea Snake himself!

On our way to Zabeel Saray's theatre, we were greeted by a red carpet flanked by unfurled banners representing the two factions at the core of the series: the green-and-gold banners of the Greens, led by Queen Alicent and her son, the young King Aegon II Targaryen, and the black-and-red banners of the Blacks, led by Queen Rhaenyra, who was named the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, and her cold-blooded uncle, Prince Daemon. In the lobby, we were greeted with what can only be described as a dining hall fit for queens at war, with the intimidating Iron Throne looming in the corner (and yes, of course we took a few selfies on it). Just a few hours before the regional premiere, we sat down with British actor Steve Toussaint on a smaller (and admittedly much more comfortable) sofa for an exclusive interview.

The stern father to Queen Rhaenyra's husband, the iron-willed Sea Serpent who commands the most powerful navy in Westeros, and the bearer of possibly the best wig on any TV programme, Toussaint's character Lord Corlys Velaryon is a grim and serious force to be reckoned with. By stark contrast, Toussaint's presence was characterised by a large welcoming smile and an amiable energy that immediately puts the room at ease.

"This is my first time here in Dubai," Toussaint told CairoScene. "It won't be my last, I'm having a great time."

Looking back on his performance in the first season of 'House of the Dragon', Toussaint shared his thoughts on the challenges of depicting a figure in such a complicated situation as Corlys is in, balancing his ambitions as a ruler with his love for his family - a challenge that is echoed throughout most of the nobles in the series. "The way you try to portray Corlys is to always remember that he is a father. He is a family man way before he is a sailor or a warrior," Toussaint said. "His ambition is overwhelming, because he's trying so hard to secure a legacy for his family. And if you remember at the end of season one he says, 'I'm done. My ambition has caused the death of my daughter, my son, my brother'. But I also think that you have to balance the fact that he is ambitious and a warrior and, also, dearly loves his wife and listens to what she has to say."

In spite of the individual challenges, Toussaint had a lot to say about overcoming those challenges with the rest of the star-studded cast. When asked about his collaboration with Matt Smith, who depicts the popular (and, some might say, problematic) Prince Daemon, Toussaint said, "So the thing about working with Matt [Smith] is that, not only is he a wonderful actor, he's a lovely human being as well. He's somebody, like a lot of the cast, who is just a pleasure to be around."

Wrapping up his thoughts about portraying a leader like Corlys, and the lessons he learned from the experience, Toussaint said, "Has playing Corlys influenced my views on leadership? Yes, in a way. One of the things Corlys says in this upcoming season, somewhere he says, 'You can not lead if you do not inspire'. And that's true of some of the best leaders in whatever profession, whether that's politics or the military or even the pulpit. If your employees or your followers don't have that inspiration, don't feel like they'll go the extra mile for you, that's detrimental to your leadership."

Just as the interview was wrapping up, Toussaint shared one more grin alongside a teaser for what to expect from the future of 'House of the Dragon'. "I want to tell the audience that while season one was fantastic, season two is extraordinary," he said. "We've raised the bar. Tune in, you won't be disappointed."

Just before the screening, a crowd began to gather in the lobby. Influencers and superfans took turns posing on the Iron Throne while two guards stood at attention on either side of it. Smoke machines billowed theatrically behind them, and fake candles flickered by their feet with all the dark drama that the series is known for. A slim stand with a special camera attached allowed people to become transformed by AI into gallant knights and soldiers, and transferred onto a sensational image under the banners of either the Greens or the Blacks. As attendees were taken in by the special activities, waiters wandered around the lobby carrying themed nibbles and treats like King's Landing Crostini, Hightower Mini Pies and Red Keep Cherry Tarts (as well as Daemon's Driftmark Chicken, for any of you fangirls out there looking to make a rude joke or two).

Soon, the show began. While we can't - and, frankly, won't - spoil any of the details, we will say that if you loved what season one built up to, the first episode of season two promises more of the same. All the tension, tragedy and utter nightmarishness from the last season has carried over seamlessly to the next, and has become the foundation for the story to eventually take on greater stakes at a much, much greater scale. We have no doubt that there will be more than enough dragons, drama and dodgy behaviour to grab our attention and keep it completely enraptured. Season two of ‘House of the Dragon’ will begin streaming on OSN+ starting June 17th.


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