Movies & Television

Theory: Why is Alicent Hightower Not Infected by King Viserys’ Leprosy?

**Warning – Spoilers ahead for House of the Dragon**

House of the Dragon Episode 6 showed King Viserys ten years later and his health had severely deteriorated. We previously got confirmation that the King had a type of leprosy and we discuss why Alicent Hightower has not been infected.

Episode 6 also saw an older Rhaenyra give birth to another son with Laenor still by her side, but tension within the family grew as gossip spread about Ser Harwin Strong being the father.

Created by George R. R. Martin and Ryan J. Condal for HBO, House of the Dragon will serve as a prequel to Game of Thrones starring Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, and more, following the beginning of the end for House Targaryen including the family’s war known as the Dance of Dragons.

House Of The Dragon | Weeks Ahead Trailer | Sky Atlantic

House Of The Dragon | Weeks Ahead Trailer | Sky Atlantic

Paddy Considine Confirms Viserys Has Leprosy

During an interview with EW’s West of Westeros podcast, Paddy Considine discussed King Viserys’ mystery illness.

The actor confirmed to fans that the condition was in fact a type of leprosy:

“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.”

House of the Dragon – Cr. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO, 2022. Warner Media, LLC

Why is Alicent Hightower Not Infected by King Viserys’ Leprosy?

While leprosy is known to be highly contagious, Alicent has likely not been infected due to the King’s illness being a “form” of leprosy and perhaps not as potent as the full disease.

Since we know Viserys was regularly sleeping with Alicent in order to have children, it was highly likely that Alicent would have contracted the same disease, if it was full-blown leprosy.

Viserys’ leprosy was first noticed during Episode 1 of the prequel series when he was being treated for a lesion on his back. It is therefore likely that this form of leprosy was contracted through his wounds from the throne, which may not be as contagious as more serious forms of the disease.

Common signs of leprosy include ulcers, skin lesions, discolored patches of skin, and eye and nerve damage the infection eventually deteriorates the body and was passed through body fluids.

Known today as Hansen’s disease, Leprosy can now be treated with medication, however, in medieval times comparable to House of the Dragon’s setting, there was no cure.

House of the Dragon – Cr. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO, 2022. Warner Media, LLC

How Many Episodes are in House of the Dragon?

House of the Dragon has ten episodes to air within its first season and has settled into the release pattern of airing every Sunday until the end of October.

Going by the release schedule outlined below, the House of the Dragon finale will air on Sunday, October 23, 2022.

Below we have included the release dates of the show to mark in your calendar alongside the episode titles:

  • Episode 1: The Heirs of the Dragon – Sunday, August 21, 2022
  • Episode 2: The Rogue Prince – Sunday, August 28, 2022
  • Episode 3: Second of His Name – Sunday, September 4, 2022
  • Episode 4: King of the Narrow Sea – Sunday, September 11, 2022
  • Episode 5: We Light the Way – Sunday, September 18, 2022
  • Episode 6: The Princess and the Queen – Sunday, September 25, 2022
  • Episode 7: Driftmark – Sunday, October 2, 2022
  • Episode 8: The Lord of the Tides – Sunday, October 9, 2022
  • Episode 9: The Green Council – Sunday, October 16, 2022
  • Episode 10: The Black Queen – Sunday, October 23, 2022

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

House of the Dragon is now streaming on HBO Max.

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Jo Craig

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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