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The Truth About King Viserys' Illness In House Of The Dragon

If viewers have learned anything from HBO's "House of the Dragon," it's that life in Westeros has never been pretty. There may be dragons and magic in this fantasy land, but tragedy tends to befall most characters. Women are bartered for political gain and many lose their lives while giving birth. Nobody bats an eye when somebody dies a horrible death in the world created by George R.R. Martin, but it's the more subtle afflictions that can be the most disconcerting. From the first episode of "House of the Dragon," it seems obvious that King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is not entirely well — and it isn't just because he has a habit of cutting himself on the Iron Throne.

Viserys seems to fall apart when it comes to matters of state, but why does his body mirror his failing leadership? Covered in sores, the ailing king becomes more and more feeble before our eyes. Being king always comes with a high cost in Westeros — and Viserys' true diagnosis comes with a specific name. Read on to find out more about his serious illness.

The king has a form of leprosy

As the king's condition worsens, it becomes increasingly evident that Viserys can't last much longer in "House of the Dragon." The monarch is so well-intentioned that he has to lose the game of thrones sooner or later. You have to be utterly ruthless to stay at the top of the food chain in Westeros, but in the case of Viserys, it seems as though his body will betray him before any of his allies do. When a king has to put his hand in a bowl full of maggots, the prognosis can't be great. Paddy Considine confirmed as much when he spoke to Entertainment Weekly's "West of Westeros" podcast about what's plaguing his character.

"He's actually suffering from a form of leprosy," Considine revealed. "His body is deteriorating, his bones are deteriorating. He is 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, and what it does to you physically, what it does to you mentally." Viserys certainly has a lot on his plate. With each passing episode, he becomes more and more manipulated by those around him — first by his Hand, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), and then eventually by his own daughter.

Viserys' physical sickness is just the cherry on top of his unstable reign. In this world, kindness and devotion to the realm don't guarantee security or longevity. Whether it's due to political scheming or his body wasting away, it's only a matter of time before he meets his end and the Dance of the Dragons (the name given to the Targaryen civil war that follows his death in Martin's writing) grips the Seven Kingdoms.