‘House of the Dragon’: What Illness Does King Viserys Have? Paddy Considine Explains

TL;DR:

  • House of the Dragon has alluded to King Viserys’ illness but never named it.
  • Paddy Considine revealed that Viserys has “a form of leprosy.”
  • The preview for House of the Dragon Episode 5 teases Viserys’ death (again).
Paddy Considine as King Viserys in 'House of the Dragon,' which has repeatedly highlighted his illness. In the image, he's wearing his crown and looking at something off-screen.
Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen | Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon is all about the fight for King Viserys Targaryen’s (Paddy Considine) throne, but a succession won’t take place until after the king has perished. With the Game of Thrones prequel regularly reminding us that he’s grappling with a disease, that could happen any time now. But what illness does King Viserys have in House of the Dragon? The show never names it, but actor Paddy Considine offered an explanation.

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From the House of the Dragon premiere, the Game of Thrones prequel has made a point of showing that King Viserys has some sort of illness. He regularly needs lesions tended to, and the matter of his succession is an urgent one — likely because there’s no telling when the king will die.

Despite the prequel highlighting his suffering, King Viserys’ disease never receives a name. And given the medieval medical practices of Westeros, that’s probably no surprise. If the characters don’t know much about Viserys’ ailment, it’s difficult to deliver specific details to the viewers.

But even if the characters never put a name to the king’s illness, Paddy Considine has an idea of what it is. He elaborated during a recent interview, explaining why Viserys is dealing with rashes and legions.

Paddy Considine says his character has ‘a form of leprosy’

During an appearance on EW’s West of Westeros podcast, House of the Dragon star Paddy Considine offered insight on King Viserys’ illness. He referred to it as “a form of leprosy,” which makes sense given the marks it leaves on his character’s skin.

Considine went on to discuss how the disease is impacting Viserys, highlighting that the character’s decline parallels his experience as king:

“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.”

All of the squabbling over his crown probably isn’t helping Viserys with his stress. Of course, he’s unlikely to be around for the true fight for the Iron Throne. And that could kick off fairly soon. After all, House of the Dragon is about to give us another time jump — and episode 5’s preview speaks of Viserys’ future in foreboding tones.

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

Despite having some type of leprosy, King Viserys has made it to the halfway point of House of the Dragon Season 1. However, the preview for House of the Dragon Episode 5 suggests the character will die soon. We’ve heard this before, but it sets an ominous tone going into the back half of the season.

Before leaving King’s Landing, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) tells his daughter to “prepare Aegon to rule,” warning: “The king will die. And if Rhaenyra succeeds him, war will follow.”

With the show poised to cover The Dance of the Dragons, that is where things are headed. However, whether King Viserys will succumb to his illness sooner or later remains a mystery. We’ll have to wait and see how his storyline progresses.

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

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