Why the Iron Throne Cuts the King in ‘House of the Dragon’

Warning: This article contains spoilers about the premiere episode of season one House of the Dragon

Intense symbol, the Iron Throne. Game of Thrones. But House of the DragonThe seat of swords is elevated to an even greater prominence Contrary to sprawling ThronesThis book traces the histories of many prominent Westeros families. House of the Dragon is almost entirely set in King’s Landing. This series focuses on one clan, the Targaryens.

At the beginning of the series, King Viserys Targaryen is (Paddy Considine), without a clear successor. His only child is a girl, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), and his council does not believe that Viserys’ scheming brother Daemon (Matt Smith) is fit to rule. Though Viserys’ wife is carrying a baby boy and potential heir, both baby and mother die in a rather traumatic birth at the end of the first episode.

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Deamon upsets the king by toasting the death of the nephew who would have impeded Daemon’s path to becoming king himself. Viserys severly cuts the finger of his brother while he is rebuking him. While it may seem like a minor incident, this symbolic moment is very significant. Song of Ice and FireGeorge R.R. Martin’s book series upon which Game of Thrones based. The Iron Throne has the ability to evaluate character and reject kings it deems unfit.

Here’s what you need to know about the history of the Iron Throne and why Viserys slicing his finger is an important plot point in this series.

How did the Iron Throne come to be?

Matt Smith portrays Daemon Targaryen. Milly Alcock plays Rhaenyra Targaryen. House of the Dragon

Ollie Upton—HBO

Aegon Targaryen built a formidable throne from the weapons of his defeated enemies when he conquered the Seven Kingdoms and united them. The Iron Throne does not provide a comfy seat. It’s filled with jagged edges and whoever rests upon it must be careful not to make any sudden motions or else risk injury or even death.

That’s the point. Aegon believed that a king should “never sit easy.” As Game of ThronesWe have learned that sitting on the throne can be dangerous.

The Iron Throne’s brief history of kings

Westerosians believed that cutting a queen from the throne meant the power seat rejected the monarch.

Targaryen ancestor Maegor the Cruel—a monstrous ruler who killed his own brother Aenys to claim the kingdom—was found bloodied and dead in his throne room, sliced by the sharp edges of Iron Throne. (Or that’s how the legend goes anyway: Some suspect that Maegor was murdered.)

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Daenerys Targaryen’s father Aerys II, known as the Mad King, was cut so many times that he earned another nickname: King Scab. “Yet still the blades tormented him, the ones he could never escape, the blades of the Iron Throne,” writes George R.R. Martin Feast of CrowsA book by his. Song of Ice and Fire Books upon which Game of ThronesOn this foundation, was founded. “His arms and legs were always covered with scabs and half-healed cuts.”

Crucially, characters in Martin’s stories tend to hurt themselves on the chair in moments of high emotion. Joffrey sustains an injury to the Throne during a momentary fury. “One man calls out defiant, and Joffrey has Ser Ilyn take him away for execution,” writes Martin. “Another man jumps up and calls Joffrey a monster that must be destroyed. Joffrey gets agitated and calls for the man’s death, cutting himself on the Iron Throne in the process.”

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It takes calmness and toughness to sit upon the throne. In the books, Tyrion Lannister worries about Daenerys occupying it before she’s come into her power. “If Daenerys is no more than a sweet young girl,” he says, “the Iron Throne will cut her into sweet young pieces.”

What Viserys’ injury may portend in House of the Dragon

Paddy Considine plays King Viserys, and Sian Brooke is Queen Aemma. House of the Dragon

Ollie Upton—HBO

House of the Dragon Viserys cuts his flesh just as he was banishing his brother Daemon from King’s Landing. A despondent Viserys, having just lost both his wife and son, responds to his brother’s goading with emotion rather than rationality and suffers the consequences.

While Viserys isn’t cruel like Maegor or Aerys II or Joffrey, he is indecisive and meek. Viserys, his brother Daemon makes it clear that he might not be suitable for the role of ruler. Iron Throne seems to have agreed.

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As various Targaryen’s vie for a spot upon the Iron Throne, watch carefully how the seat responds to its would-be occupants.

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