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House of the Dragon: Did Viserys die?

House of the Dragon has seen King Viserys slowly succumb to a mysterious illness that the fantasy series has not named yet, but did the not-so-good king die?

Viserys sits at the table in the Red Keep

Is Viserys dead? HBO’s new fantasy series House of the Dragon has taken Game of Thrones fans back in time, to before Robert’s Rebellion and the fall of the Targaryens. It’s a time when the blood of old Valyria is strong, and the House Targaryen’s grip on the Iron Throne seems unbreakable.

Yet despite having more than a dozen dragons at their disposal, the Targaryen’s position is tenuous. All around them, Westeros’s great houses and petty lords plot and scheme to wrest control of the Seven Kingdoms from the House of the Dragon and seize the realm for themselves.

Not helping matters is how sickly the current king is. King Viserys Targaryen is clearly deathly ill; he’s lost fingers, his skin is a map of lesions and scabs, and he’s developed an ominous cough. It seems that the not-so-good king will not live to see old age, which culminated in his collapse at the end of House of the Dragon episode 5. So is Viserys dead?

Did Viserys die at the end of House of Dragon, episode 5?

No, Viserys did not die at the end of House of the Dragon, episode 5. In the teaser for episode 6, we see that Viserys survives long enough to watch his children grow up, but he’s greatly weakened after his fall.

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The king is being pushed around in a wheelchair and seems more infirm than ever. Still, it appears that for now, Otto Hightower’s prediction that the king would not live to see old age was wrong.

King Viserys rests in his chair in House of the Dragon

What’s wrong with Viserys?

In the TV series, Paddy Considine has said that Viserys is suffering from a form of leprosy that’s literally eating him from the inside out. This would explain why his wounds don’t heal and why he’s a few fingers short these days.

“He’s actually suffering from a form of leprosy,” he told the Entertainment Weekly Game of Thrones podcast. “His body is deteriorating, his bones are deteriorating. He is 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, and what it does to you physically, what it does to you mentally.”

Viserys cuts his hand on the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon

How does Viserys die?

In the House of the Dragon book and the World of Ice and Fire, Viserys dies slightly differently. The king does live to old age, but the constant knicks, cuts, and wounds he suffered while sitting on the Iron Throne take their toll, and he passes away after one of his wounds becomes infected.

If you love the land of Westeros, check out our list of the best Game of Thrones characters, or we have a list of the best fantasy movies.