House of the Dragon episode 5 saw King Viserys get a nosebleed and then proceed to faint. In fact, audiences were left with an ominous cliffhanger regarding his health. Fans have been wondering whether the King is dead or not. We can put your doubts to rest because King Viserys is not dead yet in House of the Dragon and will be seen once again in future episodes. However, the show has been pretty vague regarding the King’s illness. This has not stopped fans from theorizing about his ailment. Both fans and Paddy Considine have come up with explanations. So let us explore them.
As seen in previous episodes of House of the Dragon King Viserys has been getting cuts from the blades on the Iron Throne. This has been a sign of the throne rejecting Viserys as King and deeming him unfit. However, what is even more, interesting is that these cuts do not seem to be healing. Instead, they become worse despite every treatment that the maesters administer. In fact, the cuts on his finger resulted in him losing two of them and requiring amputation to stop the infection from spreading to the rest of his hand. While initially fans thought that this was the only thing ailing King Viserys, we now know that’s not the case. Its something much more serious. The King seems to be becoming physically weaker as well which cannot be explained by this theory.
Grand Maester Mellos has been treating the King in every way possible but to no avail. In the first episode of House of the Dragon itself we see the lesions and scabs on King Viserys that have not been reducing despite the maesters’ treatments. Instead, Mellos has been using leeches to give King Viserys some sort of relief. This treatment was seen in episode 5 as well. However, the new Maester Orwyle did suggest medicine in the form of a mixture of herb that he had prepared instead of leeches. But Grand Maester Mellos quickly shut it down. The King has also been treated with maggots to remove the infected skin. And lastly they amputated his fingers to stop an infection from spreading.
During the West of Westeros podcast, Paddy Considine claims that the King is suffering from some kind of leprosy. He offers this as an explanation for the rashes and lesions on his skin. He further goes on to say the following.
“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.”
We already know that his condition is worsening with every passing episode. Otto Hightower himself says during House of the Dragon episode 5 that the King will die soon. Ever since the 3 year time jump, King Viserys has become much weaker and it isn’t just the lesions on his skin that ail him.
Fans think that they have solved the mystery of the King’s ailment. They claim that he is suffering from Necrotizing fasciitis. This is especially when keeping in mind that the King has been experiencing radiating pain all over his body, physical weakness, infectious cuts and blackened scabs throughout. The disease Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare bacterial disease that spreads through cuts, scabs and burns. It spreads quite quickly and can often require a surgical removal of the infected portions so as to stop the spreading. The symptoms of this disease are quite accurate when compared to those being experienced by King Viserys right from the blackened scabs to feelings of tiredness and fatigue. As mentioned before, the show took a similar approach by using maggots and amputation to stop the bacterial infection.