What Does the King Suffer From in House of Dragons?

The plot of House of the Dragon revolves around who will succeed King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) as Dragon King, but a succession won’t happen until after the king’s death. The Game of Thrones prequel has been constantly reminding viewers that he’s fighting an illness, so something may happen at any point. In House of the Dragon, however, King Viserys seems to be suffering from some sort of disease. The identity is never revealed on the show, but actor Paddy Considine has explained.


House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel, has made a point since its first episode to demonstrate that King Viserys is unwell. Lesions on his body demand constant attention, and the question of who will succeed him is pressing, probably because nobody knows when the king will die.

Even though his anguish is emphasised in the prelude, King Viserys’ illness is never identified. It’s not surprising, considering the state of medicine in mediaeval Westeros. It’s going to be hard to give specifics regarding Viserys’ condition if the characters don’t know much about it themselves.

But Paddy Considine knows what’s wrong with the king even if the other characters never do. He went into greater detail during a recent interview, revealing the source of Viserys’s rashes and legions.

Paddy Considine Says His Character Has a form of Leprosy

House of the Dragon star Paddy Considine discussed King Viserys’ illness on EW’s West of Westeros podcast. Given the scarring it causes on his protagonist’s skin, it’s hardly surprising that he described it as “a type of leprosy.”

What Does the King Suffer From in House of Dragons
What Does the King Suffer From in House of Dragons

Considine continued by explaining how the sickness is affecting Viserys, pointing out that his character’s degeneration is reflective of his reign:

“He’s suffering from a form of leprosy. He’s suffering. His body is deteriorating. His bones are deteriorating. So, he’s not actually old. He’s still a young man in there. He’s just, unfortunately, got this thing that’s taken over his body. It becomes a metaphor for being king and the stress and strain that it puts on you, you know? And what it does to you physically. What it does to you mentally.”

Viserys’s stress level is likely increasing as a result of all the fighting for his throne. Even if he survives, he probably won’t be able to participate in the real battle for the Iron Throne. This may begin shortly. After all, we’re about to experience yet another time leap on House of the Dragon, and the sneak peeks at episode 5 paint a bleak picture of Viserys’ future.

‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 5 preview teases Viserys’ Death

King Viserys has made it to the midpoint of Season 1 of House of the Dragon despite his leprosy. The promo for Episode 5 of House of the Dragon, though, makes it seem like the character is going to die shortly. This is old news, but it still sounds ominous as we enter the second half of the season.

Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) warns his daughter, “Prepare Aegon to rule,” before abandoning King’s Landing by saying, “The king will die.” And if his successor is Rhaenyra, there will be war.

The show is moving in that direction, with an upcoming episode dedicated to The Dance of the Dragons. When exactly King Viserys will die from his illness is unknown. How his plot develops is something we’ll have to watch out for.

New episodes of House of the Dragon air on HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT every Sunday.

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