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SYFY WIRE House of the Dragon

'House of the Dragon' star says Velaryon armor looks cool, but wearing it is a 'walking torture chamber'

The crabs were CGI, but the pain from that armor was 100 percent real.

By Josh Weiss
Steve Toussaint House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 3

The man-eating crustaceans in House of the Dragon are CG. The pain of battle, on the other hand, is 100 percent real, minus the death and mutilation. Jumping two years into the future, Episode 3 of HBO's first Game of Thrones spinoff explored the tactical follies of Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Corlys "The Sea Snake" Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) as they attempt to rid the Stepstones of Prince Craghas Drahar, aka the "Crabfeeder" (Daniel Scott-Smith) a heavily scarred despot who enjoys nailing his enemies to posts and allowing them to become snacks for scavenging sea life.

"He's a nasty character. So as an actor, it's a dream," Scott-Smith, told Entertainment Weekly. "It's nice when you have details, as well, but it's also nice when it's a completely open book. That gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the character, which, on a creative level, was incredible for me and I think for the directors, as well, because we could play with it and build our own version of Crabfeeder."

Just when all hope seems lost, King Viserys (Paddy Considine) agrees to send aid to the weary soldiers, but ever the stubborn mule — or in this case, dragon — Daemon doesn't want a victory with his brother's help. Mounting a solo mission that borders on suicide, he helps pave the way for one last epic battle with Drahar and his men. The tide (pun intended) begins to turn at last and the breakaway allies who conspired against the wishes of the Iron Throne win the war.

While it's a pretty awesome set piece on which to end your episode, the actors weren't exactly comfortable while in the midst of filming it. Appearing on the most recent installment of EW's West of Westeros podcast, Toussaint admitted that he didn't take fellow co-stars Fabien Frankel (Ser Cristen Cole) and Graham McTavish (Ser Harrold Westerling) seriously when they complained about having to wear heavy armor for hours on end.

"And then when I finally had mine on, I was like, 'Oh my God, I finally understand what you mean! Ooo, it hurts!'" he recalled. So there were things to adjust and also underneath the armor, I'm wearing this very heavy tunic It's very heavy and very thick, and there were thick gloves that you wore. When we were rehearsing the fight scenes, I was dressed pretty much as I'm dressed now: just in a T-shirt and shorts or whatever it was. And so, it was easy ... but once we had all of that stuff on — and, of course, the armor isn't real metal, it's some sort of hard plastic — your movements are suddenly incredibly restricted, it's very heavy. It became something of a torture chamber, a walking torture chamber. Hopefully, it'll look good anyway."

Toussaint also explained how Corlys feels more at home on the battlefield than he does on the king's small council. As a man who built his own house from the ground up without the help of riches or royal connections, he likes to be in the trenches and get his hands dirty. "I think the joy — if that can be the word — in slaughter for him, is that life is simpler here. 'Here's somebody coming at me with a sword, I have to take him down or he'll take me down.' That's it, I don't have to think about anything else."

The first three episodes of House of the Dragon are now available to stream on HBO Max. Shortly after the series was picked up for a second season, it was announced that Miguel Sapochnik would vacate the roles of director and co-showrunner. Luckily, fellow Thrones veteran Alan Taylor will step up as director and executive producer.

Looking for some fantasy content to tide you over? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.