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The Real Reason Viserys Keeps Cutting Himself On House Of The Dragon's Iron Throne

Contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon"

King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is a pretty clumsy guy, isn't he? Sure, he's a mighty ruler, the patriarch of Westeros' finest and only dragon-riding family, and an extraordinary builder of scale models. However, the guy can't seem to sit on the Iron Throne without inflicting serious and wildly infectious cuts on himself — which seems like a pretty strange character flaw, considering that the seat is a very central part of his job. After all, pretty much everyone who sat on the Iron Throne in "Game of Thrones" could lounge on it any way they wanted without filleting their muscles or appendages. 

As the people who are familiar with George R.R. Martin's source material may already suspect, there's a reason behind this dramatic change in the Iron Chair's effects on the person who sits on it, and it goes far beyond Viserys Targaryen's personal sitting skills. Here's the real reason Viserys keeps cutting himself on House of the Dragon's Iron Throne. 

The Iron Throne is supposed to be a dangerous thing, and we're finally seeing this in live action

In "Game of Thrones," the dangers associated with the Iron Throne tend to stem from the fact that if you sit on it, several factions will attempt to remove you from it by any means necessary. However, George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series depicts a very different Iron Throne

The throne that was designed by none other than Aegon I Targaryen, aka the Conqueror. Being a tough enough guy to earn a nickname like "The Conqueror" in this universe, Aegon wanted to make sure that whatever rulers came after him would be up to the task. The Iron Throne was created as a combination of a stealth test and a method for weeding the unworthy. It's uncomfortable, sharp, and dangerous, so if you're not as vigilant as a ruler should be, it's very quick to remind you in the shape of a cut or five ... as Viserys seems to be rapidly learning. 

It takes a special person to sit on the Iron Throne

Because of the Iron Throne's inbuilt tendency to cut the ruler who doesn't have their head screwed on right, Martin's lore includes mentions of several kings who didn't respect the throne and paid the price. The most notorious one would probably be one Maegor Targaryen, who was either so bad at sitting that the Iron Throne actually killed him, or was expertly set up to seem so by his enemies. Another name worth mentioning is "The Mad King" Aerys II, who was eventually killed by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), but not before Aerys had injured himself numerous times by slouching on the throne. Even "Game of Thrones" reigning awful king, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), cuts himself in the source material.   

It definitely appears that Viserys Targaryen isn't the kind of guy the throne approves, either. Episode 1 of "House of the Dragon" includes what seems to be an example of correct Iron Throne posture. When Viserys banishes Daemon (Matt Smith) near the end of Episode 1, he's sitting straight as an arrow, wielding a sword of his own and clearly being alert for anything. That's the kind of king that doesn't get cut, you'd assume ... right up until Daemon walks away, and Viserys immediately cuts his finger on the throne. Add that to the infected back injury he sustained before the beginning of the series, and it's not hard to start suspecting that the character might not see the end of the show. 

Why is the throne different than it was in Game of Thrones?

The dangerous nature of the Iron Throne is reflected in its design. It's difficult for a large seat made of swords to be unassuming, but that's exactly what the iconic "Game of Thrones" version is compared to the Iron Throne depicted in "House of the Dragon." This pointy, jutty thing surrounded by scores of blades is not the kind of thing you'd imagine hauling on the convention circuit for fans to take selfies in — at least, unless they're very, very careful fans. After all, the "House of the Dragon" Iron Throne is even dangerous on set, because there are real weapons incorporated in its design.  

Still, while closer to the original than the heavily downtuned "Game of Thrones" one, even this ominous seat is a far cry from the Iron Throne from the books. Per George R.R. Martin's blog, the Iron Throne from the books is an asymmetrical, dragon-sized mountain of bent and tormented blades, as best described in artwork by artist Marc Simonetti. The "House of the Dragon" version still isn't quite there, but its bulky, dangerous-looking design makes it clear that this is a far cry from what came before ... or, chronologically speaking, later. Perhaps someone in the show eventually becomes tired of cutting themselves whenever they sit down on what's effectively their office chair, and commissions the relatively streamlined and presumably more ergonomic version we see on "Game of Thrones."