The House of the Dragon spared no time in establishing the many conflicts that are roiling the Seven Kingdoms. Yet one of the greatest threats to King Viserys Targaryens' rule is playing out in the background.
The following sections for House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood have been spoilers.
Viserys suffers a minor injury on his back due to sitting on the Iron Throne. The wound mysteriously refuses to heal, although it is spreading. In the same episode, Viserys receives a second cut from the throne that becomes infected, which results in themputation of two of his fingers.
The reason Viserys' wounds will not heal 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 by the Iron Throne?
Aegon I Targaryen, the Viserys' ancestor, built the Iron Throne out of 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 extreme discomfort.
Aenys' son Aenys succeeded his father, but was eventually murdered by Maegor's brother, the usurper Maegor. Six years into Maegor's notoriously cruel reign, his nephew Jaehaerys Targaryen raised banners against him. The next morning, one of Maegor's wives discovered him dead in the seat with one of the thrones blades slashed through his neck and several other spikes slashed open his forearms
Maegor's death is alleged to be multiple, including that he committed suicide or that Elinor murdered him. However, many believe that the Iron Throne itself is what killed Maegor. This is what spawned the popular belief that the throne chooses who is worthy or not of ruling Westeros and that those who are deemed unworthy are hurt by its blades.
Does anyone who is cut off from 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 also dubbed King Scab because he cut himself so frequently on the Iron Throne, but his death was not discovered until Jaime Lannisters sword.
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 greater risk of death than anyone who is not a fit ruler.
What does Viserys' being cut by the Iron Throne mean?
Viserys' decision to name Rhaenyra as his successor or to wed Alicent Hightower will only stoke more outrage against him.
Viserys second injury to the Iron Throne occurred at an undetermined time, although the timing of his first injury is of particular importance, following his decision to remove Daemon from the line of succession. This decision could also serve as an indicator that Viserys inexperience will only cause havoc for himself, his family, and his kingdom. Either way, the second cut could be a sign that Viserys will be punished for his actions.
Viserys is less concerned with his health than with political machinations and the devolution of Westeros. However, Viserys has already lost two fingers from his Iron Throne cuts. Only time will tell what he will pay for his failures as King.