House of the Dragon wasted no time in establishing the many conflicts that are roiling the Seven Kingdoms. But one of the greatest threats to King Viserys Targaryens' rule is mostly playing out in the background.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for House of the Dragon and Fire & Blood.
Viserys suffers a minor wound on his back due to sitting on the Iron Throne, according to the maesters. 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.
The reason Viserys' wounds will not heal is more symbolic than anything as mundane 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 thrones' creation.
What does it mean to be cut off from the Iron Throne?
Aegon I Targaryen, the Viserys ancestor, made the Iron Throne out of a thousand broken blades he had taken from his opponents. In Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin referred to the ironwork beast as Aegon the Conqueror.
Aenys, the son of Aegons, succeeded his father, but was eventually murdered by Maegor, his brother, who had enlisted the help of several hundred houses. He chose instead to spend the night brooding alone on the Iron Throne. The following morning, one of Maegor's wives discovered him dead in the seat with one of the thrones blades impaled through his neck and several other spikes punctured his forearms.
Maegor's death may be attributed to himself or that Elinor murdered him. Many believe that the Iron Throne was the cause of Maegor's death. This is what spawns the popular belief that the throne chooses who is worthy or not of ruling Westeros, and that those who are deemed unworthy suffer the consequences of its blades.
Does everyone who gets 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 often dubbed King Scab because he cut himself so often on the Iron Throne. However, the Mad King was not discovered dead on the throne nor of an infection as he was found at the end of Jaime Lannisters sword.
The Iron Throne isnt a supernatural judge, jury, and executioner that disposes of the ruler itself. That being said, anyone who sits on the throne is already at a greater risk of dying than the average. If they are on the throne and not a fit ruler, the odds increase exponentially.
What does Viserys' being slain by the Iron Throne mean?
Viserys' decision to name Rhaenyra his replacement or deciding to wed Alicent Hightower does not take Viserys' decision to be cut by the Iron Throne to demonstrate that he is not necessarily a great ruler.
The second cut for Viserys from the Iron Throne came immediately following his decision to remove Daemon from the line of succession, which may also be a sign that his poor judgement will only prolong his life, his family, and his kingdom. It might also be another way to reinforce what Daemon taught his brother that Viserys is a weak king who cannot bear the burden of his own power.
Viserys is less concerned about his health than with political maneuvers 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 reveal how much he will pay for his depreciating acts as king.