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King Viserys Has Been Living on Borrowed Time on ‘House of the Dragon’— So When Exactly Will He Die?

The man is literally falling to pieces.

Paddy Considine as King Viserys I Targaryen who is about to make a lot of mistakes

We know Game of Thrones as a show full of mysteries— particularly during its first seasons when the writing still was some of the best you had ever seen on television. What exactly had happened to Jon Arryn, the death that set pretty much everything in motion? What was the secret behind the parentage of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen Baratheon? These were all fascinating questions that had a massive part in driving the plot forward.

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Now, GoT’s spin-off and prequel, House of the Dragon, also has its fair share of mysteries— but I think we can all agree that after seven of the ten episodes of Season One have aired, the biggest question is how exactly is King Viserys is still alive. He’s been basically falling apart piece by piece ever since the very beginning, and by all Westerosi standards he should be well and gone now.

And yet Paddy Considine’s character still endures, even after the massive ten-year time skip that happened in Episode 6. On the one hand, it’s better this way—the fact that Viserys is still alive and sitting on the Iron Throne is the only thing preventing his family from tearing itself apart over who has the best claim to the crown.

On the other hand, we all know that this civil war is coming one way or another—the dragons will soon dance, and for that to happen we’ll sadly have to say goodbye to Viserys “Can We Please Have One Family Gathering Without Drama” Targaryen, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men and All The Rest.

When exactly that will happen, though, is so far only speculation. House of the Dragon has gotten us used to time jumps between episodes—and from the trailer for the upcoming Episode 8 we can see that we’re due for another one since the children of both Alicent and Rhaenyra appear as teenagers rather than kids.

Because of that, and while keeping in mind the titles for upcoming episodes as well as the general story of the Dance of the Dragons from Fire and Blood, I have a couple of working theories that I’d like to share with the class. But here’s a clue—they both hinge around Episode 9.

Read the original theories, plus an update, below!

Theory #1

Viserys Targaryen in HBO's House of the Dragon.
Episode 9 is where the money’s (and the tragedy’s) at (HBO)

First of all, let’s start with the assumption that King Viserys is definitely not seeing the sun rise on Season 2—which has already been confirmed, given the success of House of the Dragon. He is dying this season, one way or another, because the groundwork for the Dance has been pretty much all laid out and the pieces have moved into their starting positions on the board, meaning that we’re ready for the ‘all clear.’ That being, as we’ve said, Viserys’s death.

Now, it could very well happen in any one of the three episodes we still have to see from Season 1, but there’s one more thing to consider—the fact that Episode 9 always has something big in it. Throughout the eight seasons of Game of Thrones, there hasn’t been a single Episode 9 that hasn’t had some major upheaval in the story, and a gory one at that: Ned Stark’s execution, the battle of the Blackwater Rush, the Red Wedding, the Wildling attack on Wall, the ambush from the Sons of the Harpy, the Battle of the Bastards, the mission Beyond the Wall and of course, the burning of King’s Landing.

Probably the most iconic Episode 9 in all of Game of Thrones history (HBO)

Considering all of these, plus the fact that Episode 9 of House of the Dragon will be named “The Green Council,” my first theory is that Viserys will indeed die on Episode 9. Those who have read Fire and Blood know that the Green Council, meaning the advisors that are closest to Queen Alicent and want to see her son Aegon on the Iron Throne, plays a crucial part in the events immediately after the King’s death.

It would definitely fill the “gigantic shift in balances in the Realm” quota required for an Episode 9 that’s worthy of its number, even though it wouldn’t be as violent as we’ve seen in the past, since from what we have known of King Viserys’s death until this point is that it was a quiet, natural affair. Given that we’ve had many chances of seeing his injuries during the course of these past seven episodes, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine the old king finally succumbing to them.

A picture of Paddy Considine in House of the Dragon in the role of King Viserys I
There has been some speculation online about whether or not someone will actually murder Viserys, but considering how ill he’s been since the start his dying wouldn’t be that big of a suspension of disbelief. (HBO)

Theory #2

If it’s not in Episode 9, then it will happen in Episode 10, the season finale, aptly titled “The Black Queen.” Now, I still think that Theory #1 is the one more likely to happen—Viserys dies and the Green Council makes its move, and then we see Rhaenyra’s answer in “The Black Queen” for a final episode that truly sets the Dance of the Dragons in motion. Maybe even by seeing our first dragon battle?

older rhaenyra in House of the Dragon
The final episode of the season will definitely focus on Rhaenyra, given the title it has been given (HBO)

Still, the King dying in Episode 10 would still work as a satisfying closing for the season, and I guess it would also be a nice moment of circular storytelling since House of the Dragon opens with the death of a Queen. Aemma Arryn’s tragic passing during childbirth in Episode 1 is, after all, one of the elements that make the succession issue so tricky. It would only make sense that the final straw, King Viserys’s own death and the sudden emptiness of the Iron Throne, would happen in Episode 10.

However, if Viserys dies in Episode 10 then that means that there are two entire episodes that need to be filled with more plotting and scheming and moving pieces into their proper places. And I think we have kind of run out of that. Now that Prince Aemond has acquired Vhagar there aren’t many boxes left to check before the Dance begins in earnest.

A picture of older Prince Aemond Targaryen, as he will appear during the Dance of the Dragons in House of the Dragon
Prince Aemond and Vhagar were some of the last pieces that needed to be set on the board. Now everything is ready for the bloodshed that will come. (HBO)

So, what do you think? What episode do you think will be Viserys’s final act before he leaves his kingdom to be—quite literally—put to fire and sword by his descendants?

Update: Turns out that I was right but only sort of. My Theory #1 was indeed the most likely to happen, but the show decided to have King Viserys dying and resting from all his pains and tribulations at the very end of Episode 8. 

daemon helping viserys in house of the dragon
This was truly his last act (HBO)

While it’s true that we haven’t actually seen him while taking his last breath, we can assume that the final “My love,” was him either having a vision of Queen Aemma right as he was dying or maybe even reuniting with her in the afterlife—where he will have a lot of explaining to do considering his decisions regarding her death, I’d say.

So while the King’s death has been moved forward an episode, I guess that what we expect to happen in both “The Green Council” and “The Black Queen” will go on unchanged—with Episode 9 being the greens’ reaction to the death of the King and then Episode 10 being the blacks’ response to both the King’s death and the greens’ opening move to move everyone firmly into Dance of the Dragons territory.

(featured image: HBO)

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Author

Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.

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