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What’s Going On With King Viserys’ Health In ‘House Of The Dragon’?

House of the Dragon‘s fourth episode had plenty of steamy moments that made the show live up to its “HotD” abbreviation. Then there was the not-so-sexy visual of King Viserys I getting it on with his wife, (poor) Alicent, while the audience got a good bad look at the open sores on his back. Not only that, but he’s lost fingers, and it’s clear that not even maggots can help cure what ails him. Wounds from the throne are nothing novel in Westeros — King Aerys II, the Mad King, was also known as King Scab for a reason — but Viserys appears to be downright rotting away, so what gives?

Our own Jessica Toomer’s been doing a weekly wound watch, and this week, she notes Viserys’ discolored arm in addition to those missing digits and whatever’s going on with his back. It’s clear that Viserys’ body refuses to heal, and he’s simultaneously struggling to figure out how the Targaryens can hold onto the throne. By the end of the episode, he’s furious with Daemon for putting Rhaenyra’s virtue in jeopardy, a move that appears to be borne from genuine attraction but, even more so, from Daemon’s desire to set himself up for the throne. We obviously know that the Targaryens won’t remain in power, and the throne actually appears to be judging the hell out of the man who’s currently sitting in it. So is the throne, you know, killing Viserys?

Plenty of theories abound. There’s a question of whether the chair’s actually the source of all that ails the king. Sure, maybe he’s got diabetes or gout, or maybe something more magical is happening. Whatever the case, the symbolism is thick, given that the throne may have not only cost Viserys his fingers but caused also the sores on his back. It sure feels like the throne doesn’t want him to be king, and that’s doubly the case since the Targaryens are thought to be more resistant (due to dragon’s blood) to illness, including greyscale and so on. Since this king is growing so very ill, we can presume that there’s hefty foreshadowing going on for his entire house.

Whatever’s going on has led social media to indulge in speculation. One of the more interesting theories: is Otto Hightower a fan of poison, and if so, will the wounds begin to heal now that he’s out of the picture? Let the guessing game begin.

HBO’s House of the Dragon airs on Sundays at 9:00pm EST.