House of the Dragon wasted no time in establishing the many conflicts that are roiling the Seven Kingdoms. However, one of the greatest threats to King Viserys Targaryens' rule is mostly playing out in the background.
House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood have some spoilers in the following articles.
In the series' premiere, we learn that Viserys has a minor wound on his back from sitting on the Iron Throne. It mysteriously refuses to heal. In fact, it is spreading. In the same episode, Viserys receives a second cut from the throne, which similarly becomes infected, which results in the amputation of two of his fingers.
The fact that Viserys' wounds will not heal is more symbolic than anything as routine as bacterial illness. The importance of being cut by the Iron Throne has deep roots in Targaryen history and Game of Thrones legend, dating back to the creation of the thrones.
What does it mean to be cut off from the Iron Throne?
Aegon I Targaryen, Visery's ancestor, created the Iron Throne from a thousand broken blades he had taken from his foes in Game of Thrones. The ironwork monstrosity, as George R.R. Martin referred to it in Game of Thrones, was designed with the intention of causing severe discomfort.
Aenys son of Aegons succeeded his father, but was later murdered by his brother, Maegor, who infamously used his iron thrones. Six years after Maegors brutal rule, his nephew Jaehaerys Targaryen raised banners against him. He chose to spend the night brooding alone on the Iron Throne when one of Maegors many wives discovered him dead in the seat with one of the thrones blades pierced his neck and his
Maegor's death is based on several theories, including that he committed suicide or that Elinor murdered him. Many people believe that the Iron Throne is the reason for his death. This is what spawned popular belief that the throne chooses who is worthy or not of ruling Westeros and that those who are deemed undeserving suffer injury by its blades.
Does everyone who is cut on the Iron Throne die?
No, or at least not as a direct result of their wounds.
Daenerys Targaryen's paranoid father Aerys II Targaryen was commonly known as King Scab because he cut himself so often on the Iron Throne. However, the Mad King's death occurred at the end of Jaime Lannisters sword.
So, while being cut by the Iron Throne may imply unworthiness of a king or queen, the Iron Throne isnt a supernatural judge, jury, or executioner that decides the ruler itself. That being said, anyone who sits on the throne is already at a higher than average probability of death. If they are not a fit ruler, those odds increase exponentially.
What does Viserys' separation from the Iron Throne mean?
Viserys' decision to name Rhaenyra his successor or to wed Alicent Hightower only stokes further outrage.
Viserys first defeat on the Iron Throne occurred at an unknown time, but the timing of his second injury is of particular significance, coming immediately following his decision to remove Daemon from the line of succession. This decision is one of the key decisions that ultimately lead to the first Targaryen civil conflict. It might also be another way to reinforce Daemon's view that Viserys is a weak king capable of shouldering the burden of his own power.
Viserys is less concerned about his health than with political machinations and the devolving stability of Westeros. However, Viserys has already lost two fingers due to his removal from the Iron Throne. Only time will tell how much he will pay for his kingship.