how”House of the Dragon” sets up a long-term conflict that will explode House Targaryen moreover, there are already hints that the royal house is struggling to hold itself together. King Viserys I deals with a nasty injury that turns into an illness that plagues him for most of the season. Here’s everything we know about Viserys’ disease and what it symbolizes in the story.

King Viserys’ original injury

At the end of the first episode, Viserys cuts his hand on one of the sharp edges of the Iron Throne (remember, the throne is literally made up of a thousand swords won during Aegon I Targaryen’s conquest of Westeros). By the time the second episode rolls around, it’s clear that modern medicine isn’t helping him enough. His hand is infected and the wizards try some pretty crude treatments to save his fingers, which are clearly rotting.

What happened to the hand of King Viserys?

Over 10 years have passed before the sixth episode, at which point Viserys has lost his entire arm. Although the show never specifically explains what happened to the king’s hand, it can be assumed that it deteriorated to the point that his masters eventually decided it needed to be amputated.

What disease does Viserys have?

In addition to his rotting hand, Viserys has a large gash on his back (and probably elsewhere), has frequent coughing fits, his hair is falling out in patches, and he seems to be aging faster than those around him.

In an interview on Entertainment Weekly’s West of Westeros Podcast Paddy Considine (who plays Viserys) revealed the disease that afflicts Viserys. “He’s actually suffering from a form of leprosy,” Considine said. “His body is deteriorating, his bones are collapsing. He’s not really old. He is still a young man. He just unfortunately got something that took over his body.” It becomes a metaphor for the king and the stress and strain he creates for you, and what he does to you physically, what he does to you mentally.”

The symbolism of King Viserys’ illness

The symbolism of Viserys being cut down from his throne in the first episode seems pretty straightforward. In the books of George RR Martin, the people of Westeros have a superstition about the Iron Throne: supposedly it can “judge” those who sit on it without being really worthy. It is also reportedly built as is, with plenty of sharp edges as a symbol of the caution required of a monarch. Sitting on the throne is a delicate task that requires care and forethought to avoid injury; it is intended as a symbolic warning against impulsiveness in all matters of state.

The consequence of his injury, by these standards, is that Viserys is tried and found helpless. This seems especially accurate seeing as the trauma comes after he makes the decision to let his wife Emma die a painful and horrible death, all in the hope of getting a living son from her. As the injury worsens, it can also be seen as a condemnation of Viserys for not being able to think things through; instead of focusing his efforts on his living heir, Rhaenyra, he listens to the manipulative advice of various council members to remarry.

Considine told Entertainment Weekly that Viserys’ illness is ultimately a metaphor for the king’s plight. “It becomes a metaphor for being king and the stress and strain it puts on you and what it does to you physically, what it does to you mentally,” he said.

How does King Viserys die in House of the Dragon?

By the eighth episode of House of the Dragon, Viserys’ disease had progressed. Half of his face has rotted away, forcing him to wear bandages or a mask, and he’s mostly bedridden due to having to drink poppy seed milk to deal with the immense pain he’s in. After the king defends Rhaenyra’s claim to the throne one last time, Viserys has a final dinner with his embattled family, during which they mostly get along – a picture of what his life might have been like if not for all the political infighting. That night, Viserys dies in his sleep, seemingly calling for his dead wife Emma.

What happens to King Viserys in the books?

In the books, Viserys is not the Targaryen king, most famous for being wounded on the Iron Throne. It belongs of two other kings: his ancestor, Maegor, and his distant descendant, Eris II. Maegor, known as “The Cruel” for his brutal rule, was found dead on his throne, apparently bleeding, and rumors spread that the throne itself had killed him for his violence and indignity. Centuries later, the last Targaryen king, Aerys II (aka The Mad King, Daenerys’ father), was nicknamed “King Scab” for constantly having half-healed gashes on his throne, especially as his madness worsened .

The Civil War in A Dance of Dragons started with a continuity crisis after the death of Viserys, and with his injury, it seems that House of the Dragon is already setting us up for his death. In the book “Fire and blood“, however, Viserys is actually a rare Targaryen who died a very peaceful death, but it remains to be seen if the TV version will keep that plot or make it more dramatic.

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