Turns Out Lighting 'Thousands' Of Candles In The Background Of House Of The Dragon Scenes Had Unintended Consequences

 Alicent lights a candle on House Of The Dragon.
Credit: HBO Max

House Of The Dragon is the type of show you should definitely pay close attention to, but for me, sometimes that close attention drifts from the foreground to the background. That’s the consequence of having really elaborate and beautiful set design and also, of having candles everywhere. I’m a big time candle guy, and this show literally has thousands. It turns out they’ve caused some unintended consequences too.

Set Decorator Claire Nia Richards recently sat down for an interview with TV Line to talk about all those candles, and apparently, the actors have mixed feelings about them. There’s, of course, the danger element given all the long hair, wigs and chemicals near open flames, but there’s also the temperature element. Thousands of lit candles in a combined space are collectively pretty hot, which the actors discovered while shooting a key scene in Season 1. Here’s how Richards described it…

We do have to be very health and safety-conscious. When we did Season 1, I was really excited about designing all this flame around us because it felt that’s what the show needed. My first initial encounter with people thinking, ‘Oh my god, they’re crazy’ is when the actors in the small council scene said that they were absolutely boiling, that they just couldn’t take the heat. I was like, ‘Oh, no!’

In order to improve things for the actors in Season 2, the crew was able to add in some high-end extractor fans. That allows them to suck out all the fumes to make everyone a bit more comfortable. It reduces how much everyone feels those gases and flames and keeps people from “boiling.”

A little heat, however is actually a good thing for the actors. It’s a slippery slope, of course, but a lot of the show is shot in Watford, England, which can make the sets a little drafty and cool, especially during the spring and fall months. That’s why, despite the candles sometimes getting too hot, Richards thinks they ultimately would rather have them around. Here’s a portion of what she said…

...We generally shoot from April to October and the studio sets can get a bit cold. They’ve got the lighting on around them, and artificial lights sometimes almost blasting through the windows, so even if they’ve got the candles on, they can get a little cold. I think they still like the flames all around them to keep warm.

I know my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m just a lowly viewer, but for the record, I am absolutely pro thousands of candles in the background of every shot. I’m happy for the actors that the show is finding ways to make them more comfortable, but mostly, I’m still enthralled with how amazing the set design looks every week. The candles really help brighten up the show, and they feel really on theme, as they blend danger and beauty very well.

On a related note, if you’re a Game Of Thrones fan who still hasn’t forgiven the show for the final season and isn’t watching House Of The Dragon in protest, that’s your loss. Everyone involved has really delivered so far, and this most recent episode was widely praised as the best so far of the spinoff series. You should consider getting on board. If you do, just make sure you take the occasional glance to the background and admire the candles.