House of the Dragon took no time in establishing the multitude of conflicts that are raging in the Seven Kingdoms. However, one of King Viserys Targaryens' greatest threats is mostly playing out in the background.
The following articles contain spoilers for House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood.
Viserys has a minor wound on his back from sitting on the Iron Throne, as the maesters tending to him note, the cut 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 and results in the amputation of two of his fingers.
Viserys' wounds will not heal, which is more symbolic than anything as simple as bacterial infection. The significance of being cut by the Iron Throne has deep roots in Targaryen history and Game of Thrones legend, dating back to the thrones' creation.
What does it mean to be cut off from the Iron Throne?
Aegon I Targaryen, the Viserys ancestor, created the Iron Throne out of a thousand broken blades he had taken from his foes in Game of Thrones, with the intention of causing extreme discomfort. Aegon the Conqueror explained this in the first A Song of Ice and Fire book.
Aenys, the son of Aegons, resisted his father, but was eventually murdered by Maegor, his brother, who ruled the Iron Throne. Six years after Maegor's notoriously cruel reign, his nephew Jaehaerys Targaryen raised banners against him. The next morning, one of Maegor's many wives discovered him dead in the seat with one of the thrones blades punctured his throat and several other spikes punctured his for
Maegor's death may be attributed to several theories, including that he committed suicide or that Elinor murdered him. However, many believe that the Iron Throne itself was the cause of Maegor's death. This is what inspired popular belief that the throne chooses who is worthy or not of ruling Westeros, and that those who are considered unworthy suffer injury by its blades.
Does anyone who is slain 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 often dubbed King Scab because he cut himself so frequently on the Iron Throne. Rather, his death came at the end of Jaime Lannisters sword.
The Iron Throne isnt a supernatural tribunal, jury, or executioner that decides the ruler itself. That being said, anyone who sits on the throne is already at a greater than average risk of death. If theyre on the throne and not a fit ruler, those odds increase exponentially.
What does Viserys' separation from the Iron Throne imply?
Viserys' decision to name Rhaenyra as his replacement or hedding Alicent Hightower only serves to stoke more outrage against him.
Viserys first death from the Iron Throne was unexpected, although 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 major decisions that ultimately lead to the first Targaryen civil war. It could also serve as a clue that Viserys is a weak king who is unable to bear 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 as a result of his removal from the Iron Throne. Only time will tell how much he will pay for his failures as king.