Viserys’ Illness Makes House Of The Dragon’s Timeline More Confusing


Warning: Contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5, and the book Fire & Blood.King Viserys I Targaryen’s illness continues to worsen in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5, and his ongoing disease and survival raises questions over the show’s timeline, and more specifically its many time jumps. What at first seemed like minor suffering due to cuts from the Iron Throne has grown into a more serious condition; though House of the Dragon hasn’t explicitly stated what’s wrong with the King, actor Paddy Considine said Viserys’ disease is Leprosy. That itself highlights the severity of the matter, and it means things won’t be ending well for Westeros’ ruling monarch.

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Making matters worse for King Viserys are House of the Dragon‘s time jumps. The Game of Thrones prequel’s timeline started in 101 AC, where he was confirmed as King Jaehaerys I Targaryen’s heir, before jumping forward to the ninth year of his reign. It’s had a series of smaller time jumps in the episodes since then, ranging from a few months to a couple of years, and that effectively showcases just how Viserys’ illness increasingly takes a toll on him and cannot be healed or stopped, despite the Maester’s best efforts.

That’s only going to become more significant after Viserys collapses in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5, an episode that also saw him suffering a nosebleed and generally looking sick and weak for much of its runtime. King Viserys may not be dead yet, but that fall leads into House of the Dragon‘s biggest time jump yet: 10 years, which will see Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke replace Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, respectively. Given Viserys already appears close to death in House of the Dragon, and it strongly teases him dying, then the idea of him surviving another 10 years (and perhaps more) stretches plausibility somewhat.

House Of The Dragon Has Teased How Bad Viserys’ Condition Becomes

Although Viserys will live on through House of the Dragon‘s time jump, his condition will – unsurprisingly – become far worse than it already is. Yes, despite having collapsed twice in one episode, bled all over a wedding ceremony, vomited, lost fingers, and generally looked like he was making Aegon’s White Walker dream into a cruel irony by turning into a member of the undead, things still haven’t reached peak illness for Viserys. In a brief teaser trailer for upcoming House of the Dragon episodes, Viserys can seemingly be seen looking fragile, with a mask covering part of his face, suggesting the disease has spread even further and is now severely marking his appearance.

Although modern Leprosy is highly treatable with antibiotics, historical forms of the disease would have been more serious due to less advanced treatments or medical understanding, and many who had it were essentially thought of as being dead already. A real life counterpart for Viserys can be found in Baldwin IV, the King of Jerusalum from 1174-1185, who had Leprosy; he died when he was only 24, and by that point had been rendered unable to walk and was blind. Viserys has lived a much longer life, but if things get worse then similar fates may await him before he dies.

When Will Viserys Die In House Of The Dragon?

Despite seeming like Viserys should be dead already, he will live not only for another 10 years, but likely slightly beyond that. In Fire & Blood, the book House of the Dragon adapts, Viserys dies in 129 AC, with the Targaryen civil war The Dance of the Dragons starting properly that same year. House of the Dragon‘s timeline doesn’t follow the book exactly, with some key events happening later on (Viserys and Alicent’s marriage, for instance, comes several years later in the show’s timeline).

Viserys’ illness is another example of this: in the book, it’s in 127 AC that he slips and cuts his hand on the Iron Throne; he loses fingers and suffers a fever and infection, and while it doesn’t kill him, his strength never returns. In contrast, the show is giving him a much more protracted disease, which fits with it fleshing out his character more and making him a more tragic figure. Nonetheless, things should eventually match up. House of the Dragon season 1, episode 5 is roughly around 115 AC, so episode 6 will presumably be 125 AC. That would then allow for a few smaller time jumps in the remaining episodes, meaning Viserys can still die in 129 AC, likely around House of the Dragon season 1, episode 8 or 9.

House of the Dragon releases new episodes Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.

Want more House of the Dragon articles? Check out our essential content below…

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