What's Going On With King Viserys' Arm In House Of The Dragon?

"House of the Dragon" is centered on the fight for the Iron Throne — which is currently presided over by King Viserys (Paddy Considine). The ailing King has a lot to worry about: He lost his wife and newborn son/heir in a day, his daughter and brother are the constant cause of his headaches, and his most trusted advisor has malicious intentions of his own. Then there's the unspeakable disease he suffers from — the scars left behind by a mysterious illness causing his decay. At first, fans presumed King Viserys was suffering from greyscale — the fatal disease from "Game of Thrones" that causes the flesh to turn stiff and dead and leaves the skin cracked and stone-like to the touch.

"House of the Dragon" might not have a name for King Viserys' illness yet; the medieval medical practices of the time are hardly soothing his troubles, let alone explaining their cause. But the fantasy series has confirmed that it will be his doom. The show is centered on the Dance of Dragons, which cannot be set into motion until the king is dead. We've seen Viserys being treated for a sore on his back, and since, they've multiplied, causing him to lose his fingers, and now, the discoloration of his arm. 

So, what's really going on with the king?

King Viserys is suffering from a form of leprosy

In a conversation with Entertainment Weekly for their "Game of Thrones" podcast West of Westeros, Paddy Considine stated he knew what was going on with his on-screen character. Considine shed some light on Viserys' condition, explaining that he wasn't suffering from greyscale but a form of leprosy. Here's what the actor said:

"He's actually suffering from a form of leprosy. 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."

Considine is right that King Viserys' medical condition is a metaphor for a ruler controlling the Iron Throne. The strain it puts on a monarch is incalculable — from the time he ascended to the throne to the death of his loved ones and the conversations surrounding his succession, Viserys has undergone a great ordeal. It doesn't help that his family is hell-bent on making his life more difficult: Daemon defies him, and Rhaenyra doesn't understand him. Anyway, at least now we know about the mysterious illness that plagues Viserys — and how it will eventually bring him down in the next few episodes or so.

We'll see how his illness and storyline progress every Sunday, when "House of the Dragon" airs on HBO.