King Viserys’ death in House of the Dragon is inevitable, but when will it actually happen? In George R.R. Martin’s source material, Fire and Blood, Viserys dies in 129 AC, which instigates the crisis of succession leading to the Dance of the Dragons, which is the war between Rhaenyra and Alicent’s factions (and their dragons) for the Iron Throne. By House of the Dragon episode 4, the series has time jumped to roughly around 117-118 AC, with Rhaenyra and Alicent both in their late teens. This leaves roughly another decade for Viserys to suffer through before his death in 129 AC, if the HBO series sticks to that date (although House of the Dragon has already broken the book’s timeline and established its own). However, House of the Dragon’s time jumps bring Viserys’ demise ever closer in real-world time, and the King may die by episode 9, if not sooner.
Viserys’ death, which House of the Dragon has been seeding and building to since the series began, is the pivotal flashpoint that changes the direction of House Targaryen. Once the King is dead, the Dance of the Dragons will begin, which is the dramatic arc the House of the Dragon series exists to depict. House of the Dragon’s time jumps will also soon lead to a big change among the cast as the younger Rhaenyra and Alicent the audience has grown to know and love will exit the series to be replaced by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke playing Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively, at roughly age 30. With House of the Dragon officially renewed, it’s possible much of the actual Dance of the Dragons will happen during season 2, with season 1 mostly provocative setup for the Targaryen civil war.
No matter what, the countdown is on for King Viserys’ demise. This follows Game of Thrones’ tradition of killing off major characters in season 1 like King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and Ned Stark (Sean Bean). The main story of House of the Dragon can’t really begin until Viserys dies, whether it’s by succumbing to his grotesque illness or by some other means (Fire and Blood is vague about the cause of Viserys’ death). By the time Viserys dies, however, House of the Dragon will be very different and many new characters, primarily the children of both Rhaenyra and Alicent, will take center stage.