Doctor Who Was a Harder Job Than House of the Dragon, Says Matt Smith

House of the Dragon star Matt Smith compares his most recent role to starring in Doctor Who. The actor has received plenty of praise from critics and audiences alike for his portrayal of Prince Daemon Targaryen in the Game of Thrones prequel series on HBO. His character has experienced serious growth on the series, going from the chaotic and unpredictable brother of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) to a much more measured and capable character who was able to make amends with Viserys before his brother passed away. Despite still exhibiting problematic behaviors, Daemon has become a fan-favorite on House of the Dragon, largely due to Smith’s charismatic portrayal.

Before starring on House of the Dragon, Smith enjoyed an electric run on Doctor Who, serving as the Eleventh Doctor from 2010 to 2013 after taking over the role from David Tennant. Currently, Jodie Whittaker serves as the Thirteenth Doctor, with her regeneration into the next Doctor set for this week’s episode, « The Power of the Doctor, » which will launch the series into its 60th Anniversary special, in which Tennant is confirmed to return, though now as the Fourteenth Doctor. While it is unknown if Smith is set to reprise his role at any point in the future, he did return for the 50th Anniversary special, titled « Day of the Doctor. »

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Smith compared his run on Doctor Who with his current turn on House of the Dragon. Despite House of the Dragon’s international following and immense popularity, Smith finds the role easy compared to starring as the Eleventh Doctor, which had much more pressure attached for him. He added that « everyone who leaves Doctor Who will forever miss Doctor Who, » hinting at his potential willingness to return as the Doctor. See his full quote below:

« The pressure that came with Doctor Who is extraordinary. On this, you’re sharing it with like 10 other actors. Doctor Who is Doctor Who, Hamlet is Hamlet, you know? I was 26 [when I was cast] and I don’t know if I’ll ever feel pressure like that again. In Britain, anyway, the focus on that job is enormous. [“House of the Dragon”] is a huge global franchise, or so they tell me, but I just go to work in a studio in Watford and try to get the lines in the right order. I think that everyone who leaves Doctor Who will forever miss Doctor Who, because it doesn’t get any better. He is the most glorious character. To live with the idea of being able to time travel is f—ing amazing. It’s limitless. It’s a tough part to leave. »

It may be a surprise, considering the near-unmatched popularity of Game of Thrones leading to House of the Dragon

experiencing the largest series premiere in HBO history, that Smith didn’t feel as much pressure while starring on the fantasy series. However, his response implies that, since portraying the Doctor is a legacy that remains long after one’s tenure and has been picked up by so many enviable talents over the years, it’s intimidating to honor what came before while bringing one’s own unique spin to the role. Despite feeling the pressure, Smith managed to strike a perfect balance, becoming one of the fan-favorite Doctors of the modern Who era. The success of the Eleventh Doctor was largely due to his moving humanity as well as the high-energy ways that he used goofy humor and excitement to hide his pain, which still managed to shine through in heart-breaking moments.

Smith’s run as the Eleventh Doctor continued the nuance and complexity brought to the role by Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston and Tennant while making the character more boyish and excitable, which served to make his darker moments even more tragic. His energy was infectious, leading to a legacy that has kept Doctor Who fans clamoring for him to reprise the role. Based on his comments, it seems that he would be open to returning. Whether he appears as the Doctor in the future or not, Smith’s fans can get their fill of his talents by tuning in to HBO’s House of the Dragon.

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