In a conversation with EW for Game of Thrones podcast West of Westeros, Considine shed some light on the king’s condition. He revealed what’s causing the disease as well as offering the deeper meaning behind the illness. See what Considine had to say below:
« 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’s confirmation that Viserys has leprosy takes the mystery out of his illness and places the focus on the metaphor and meaning behind it. Though leprosy, known today as Hansen’s disease, is curable with medication, there was little that could be done in Viserys’ time outside of treating the slow-healing lesions produced by the condition. With everything that Viserys has had to deal with as king, it’s no wonder that his disease is only getting worse. Considine’s comments confirm what George R.R. Martin, the author of the source material, has implied about Viserys—he’s a good man, but ill-prepared for the pressures of ruling.