‘House of the Dragon’: Why KIng Viserys Being Cut by the Iron Throne is More Important Than You Think

The Iron Throne has played a central role in Game of Thrones. Not only are the opposing houses fighting for control of it, but also because it looks incredible. In Episode 1 of House of the Dragon, King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) cuts himself on the Iron Throne. While it’s easy to write this off as him simply slicing himself accidentally on one of the blades, the moment means more than the show’s letting on. 

‘House of the Dragon’ features a different Iron Throne than ‘Game of Thrones’

Paddy Considine as Viserys Targaryen and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon
Paddy Considine as Viserys Targaryen and Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen | Ollie Upton / HBO

The Iron Throne was built by Aegon Targaryen, who built the mighty chair out of the weapons of his vanquished foes after he conquered and united the seven kingdoms. While both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon feature the same throne, fans have noticed a slight difference in design. 

The Iron Throne in House of the Dragon is higher and more cluttered with swords, while the Game of Thrones version has a much simpler design. This is closer to the original design described by George R. R. Martin. In a blog post titled “The Real Iron Throne,” Martin described the throne as “huge, hulking, black and twisted, with the steep iron stairs in front, the high seat from which the king looks DOWN on everyone in the court.”

What does King Viserys cutting himself on the Iron Throne in ‘House of the Dragon’ mean?

While the Iron Throne is the most powerful seat in Westeros, it isn’t comfortable. It’s jagged, uneven, and has many sharp edges. After scolding Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) in the Throne Room in episode one of House of the Dragon, Viserys slices his finger on one of the edges. While this seems trivial, the people of Westeros believe that if someone is cut by the Iron Throne, they are unfit to rule the realm. 

According to Time, this legend was started after a Targaryen ancestor – Maegor the Cruel – was found dead after being sliced by the throne. The Mad King, Aerys II, sliced himself so many times he became known as “King Scab.” In one of Martin’s novels, he wrote a scene where Joffrey Lannister cut himself on the throne. Viserys is nowhere near as cruel as these men, but his indecisive nature could be why the chair doesn’t find him fit to rule. 

Who will take over the Iron Throne next?

In episode 1 of House of the Dragon, Viserys names Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) as his heir. This decision will create tension in the realm, especially with Daemon, as many do not believe women possess the ability to rule. If the people of Westeros find out Viserys has been cut by the Iron Throne, they may also challenge his legitimacy.

The next ten episodes will cover the development of the Targaryen civil war, meaning there will be an internal battle over who is the best fit to rule the realm on the Iron Throne. The first episode of House of the Dragon is now streaming on HBO Max. 

RELATED: ‘House of the Dragon’: George R. R. Martin Reveals How Many Years Season 1 Will Cover