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COVID-19 Protocols Gave House Of The Dragon's Eve Best And Steve Toussaint A Test Run Before Filming

House Targaryen might think itself invincible thanks to its fleet of dragons, but not even the owners of fire-breathing pets are immune from COVID-19. In the summer of 2021, when production was underway for the highly-anticipated "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon," major film sets were operating under strict protocols. Numerous projects, from "A Quiet Place Part II" to "Black Widow," had already experienced severe delays in release (via Variety), and production companies didn't want to take any chances.

To minimize the risk of exposure that comes with traveling to various filming locations, the majority of "House of the Dragon" was shot on a brand new virtual production stage at Warner Bros. Studios in the United Kingdom. This allowed creators to utilize the landscapes of different countries from the comfort of Leavesden (via Variety).

Enhanced technology wasn't the only perk of working in restricted conditions. For Eve Best and Steve Toussaint, who portray Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and her husband Corlys Velaryon, COVID-19 protocols actually helped ease some nerves before the first full day of filming. In fact, a scene between the Queen Who Never Was and the Sea Snake served as an educational moment for the rest of the cast.

A Rhaenys/Corlys scene helped the cast understand how the COVID-safe set would work

Rhaenys Targaryen and Corlys Velaryon are key players in the "House of the Dragon" plot, which sees them hold some hostility toward the crown after Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is selected as King Jaehaerys I Targaryen's (Michael Carter) heir. Unexpectedly, the actors behind these powerful characters were also key players in helping their co-stars adapt to on-set COVID-19 protocols.

In an interview with JOE.ie, Eve Best and Steve Toussaint revealed that a moment between Rhaenys and Corlys was the first thing shot for "House of the Dragon." Therefore, before day one of filming, it made sense to use the two actors as examples of how the COVID-safe set would operate.

"They used our scene as a kind of COVID audition for how the set was going to work in terms of all the protocols," reflected Best. This test run, she said, allowed herself and Toussaint to feel more comfortable in this cautious environment but also in the shoes of their blonde-wigged personas. "By the time actually we got to do that scene, which was the first thing that we then shot, we had a little sort of the flavor of it," said Best.

Of course, no system is perfect, and sometimes a COVID case will make its way through even the tightest barriers. "House of the Dragon" production briefly paused in July 2021 after a cast or crew member tested positive, as reported by Deadline. Thankfully, it was only a two-day shutdown and filming was able to be completed. A little over a year later, the stress of filming at the height of the pandemic paid off, with a whopping 10 million people tuning in for the premiere in August 2022 (via Variety).