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What illness does Viserys have in House of the Dragon?

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King Viserys I’s health is fading fast in House of the Dragon. What is he suffering from? Is this something he died from in the book?

Things aren’t looking good for Viserys. From the very beginning of House of the Dragon, we’ve seen that he’s suffering from some sort of skin condition. All we knew from the start was that it wasn’t greyscale, but there’s not been any indication of what it could be.

It was much worse than we’ve ever seen it during the most recent episode. Even his cousin Princess Rhaenys could feel it through his clothing. He’s also suffering in other ways from it, leading to many fans wondering what exactly is wrong with him. Surely we can look at the books, right?

House of the Dragon: Viserys’s illness isn’t in the books

There is some bad news for those looking to turn to Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin* to get answers. This isn’t something that comes from the book.

Entertainment Weekly has the answer for us, though. Paddy Considine shared that the illness is a form of leprosy. There is no cure for it in the world of House of the Dragon, so the Maesters have to do whatever they can to slow the progress down. Maybe someone should listen to the Maester who wants to use herbs instead of leeches. That might offer Viserys some extra time.

The disease is caused by bacteria. It affects the skin, nerves, eyes, and more. As we see during the wedding feast, Viserys is now bleeding from his nose, which is another problem linked to leprosy. There is no way to save him, and it is likely to kill him.

In the book, it’s not the disease that kills the king. As mentioned, this doesn’t come from the books. Instead, Viserys slices fingers off on the Iron Throne and he dies of what is presumed to be sepsis from the cut.

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What do you think of House of the Dragon so far? Did you realize the disease? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO and HBO Max in the U.S. and on Crave in Canada.