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House of the Dragon: When does King Viserys die in the book?

Paddy Considine stars as King Viserys Targaryen in Episode 5 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Paddy Considine stars as King Viserys Targaryen in Episode 5 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Ever since House of the Dragon premiered on HBO, the question of who will rule after King Viserys (Paddy Considine) is gone has been pivotal to the storyline.

The king is not extremely old, but his health has been called into question more and more as Season 1 progresses. In addition to this, the king only had one child: a girl.

However, since the end of Episode 1, the king has declared that his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), will rule after him, even though the precedent had previously been set that women were not favored to rule in Westeros.

Even though the king has since sired a male heir, he still insists Rhaenyra will rule after him, and this has been causing some lowkey drama behind the scenes.

Already, the queen’s father, Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), has been telling his daughter to prepare her son, Aegon, to rule.

Now, with Viserys falling so dreadfully ill in Episode 5, viewers are wondering when the king might die and what sort of conflict this will cause.

Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower, Paddy Considine as King Viserys, and Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, as seen in Episode 5 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Emily Carey as Alicent Hightower, Paddy Considine as King Viserys, and Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, as seen in Episode 5 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

King Viserys collapses at the end of Episode 5

Episode 5 of House of the Dragon saw the king sick at sea as he traveled to Driftmark to arrange the marriage of Rhaenyra to Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate).

However, it quickly became apparent that his illness was something more than just the rocking of the boat.

According to Digital Spy, Viserys has leprosy.

“He’s actually suffering from a form of leprosy,” Paddy Considine revealed during Entertainment Weekly’s West of Westeros podcast.

“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.”

When Viserys returned to King’s Landing, he collapsed again and was seen looking very ill after that.

While he seemed to recover in time for Rhaenyra’s wedding, he collapsed at the very end of the episode, and now viewers are wondering if he will live to see another episode.

Luckily, the trailer for Episode 6 reveals that Viserys does actually survive and goes on to live many more years, as the next installment of House of the Dragon will involve a significant time jump.

Here’s what happens to King Viserys in the book

So, when will Viserys die?

While Viserys may survive Episode 5 of the TV show, his days are likely most certainly numbered.

For those who don’t want potential book spoilers, now is the time to look away but for everyone else, let’s take a look at when Viserys dies.

According to the book Fire and Blood, on which House of the Dragon is based, Viserys will succumb to his illness when Rhaenyra is pregnant with her sixth child.

She was staying at Dragonstone when Viserys died, and his wife, Alicent Hightower, kept his death a secret from her, making her own son, Aegon, ruler in her place.

As seen in Episode 5 of House of the Dragon, Alicent is already turning away from Rhaenyra and has donned a green dress which has significant meaning to House Hightower, signifying she was ready to go to war against House Targaryen, even though she is still married to Viserys.

In the book series, Alicent will be the one behind a movement referred to as the Greens and is in support of Aegon ruling in place of Rhaenyra.

This act of placing her son on the throne and not letting Rhaenyra rule will lead to a civil war between House Targaryen which is known as the Dance of dragons. By the end of this war, many will be dead.

As for who ends up on the Iron Throne? Well, you’ll just have to continue watching House of the Dragon in order to find out more.

If you really can’t wait, this article by Monsters and Critics reveals Aegon Targaryen’s fate. You can also find out more about what happens to Rhaenyra during the Dance of Dragons in this previous article.

House of the Dragon airs every Sunday night at 9/8c on HBO Max.

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