September 28, 2023
Join us as we delve into the diagnosis and medical accuracy of the king's illness portrayed in House of Dragons, whilst exploring the broader implications for the kingdom and its people. We examine how this well-worn trope can still provide a fresh perspective on issues of health and power in popular culture, with all its complex dynamics and intricacies on display.


House of Dragons is a newly released HBO series that has managed to captivate the attention of many viewers. It is a story of politics, power, and betrayal set in the medieval world that has an almost uncanny resemblance to the Westeros of the Game of Thrones. One of the central plot points of the show is the king’s mysterious illness, which has created much speculation among fans. In this article, we will conduct a deep analysis of the king’s illness, its symptoms, implications, and possible diagnoses while also exploring the show’s treatment of this trope and what it reveals about the showrunners.

A Detailed Analysis of the Symptoms

One of the reasons why the king’s illness in House of Dragons has caught the attention of viewers is because of the vague symptoms that are portrayed on the show. The king is shown to be suffering from persistent fatigue, intermittent fevers, and sudden bouts of dizziness. These symptoms have led many fans to wonder what the king might be suffering from. One possible diagnosis for these symptoms could be tuberculosis. This is a disease that often causes fatigue, fever, and dizziness in its early phases.

Another possibility is that the king is suffering from a brain tumor. A tumor in the brain can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, confusion, and dizziness. These symptoms are often intermittent, and they may grow worse over time. A brain tumor would also explain why the king is experiencing a decline in mental abilities, as we see in several episodes of the show.

The Tragic Fate of the King

The king’s illness in House of Dragons has not only affected him but also his family and the kingdom. The disease has taken an emotional toll on the king, who is unable to rule effectively and falls into periods of deep despair. The illness has also created a power vacuum, with factions within the kingdom jostling for the throne. We see other characters exploiting his illness to advance their own agendas.

The king’s illness has also created a sense of disillusionment among his subjects. People begin to question the legitimacy and the ability of the ruler, which threatens the stability of the entire kingdom. This reaction highlights the political implications of a ruler’s health, which underlines the interconnected relationship between a ruler’s personal health and the stability of the kingdom.

The Kings and their Health

Illnesses afflicting rulers have been a recurring theme in popular culture. From the Romanovs of Russia to the Tudors in England, the health of a monarch has often been a matter of public concern. Movies like The Madness of King George and The King’s Speech have explored the vulnerability of power and the people who hold it. Similarly, House of Dragons takes this trope and moulds it into a powerful storyline.

It is revealed through historical and fictional accounts that rulers often suffer from a wide range of physical and mental illnesses, from tuberculosis to depression, from epilepsy to dementia. In modern times, politicians are also watchful of their health, with their illnesses being subjected to constant public scrutiny. This is especially true in countries where the leader has a great deal of authority and power vested in them. In House of Dragons, we see a reflection of this pattern as the king’s health affects his ability to rule.

The Mystery Illness Unveiled

The mystery behind the king’s illness in House of Dragons was finally unveiled in the later episodes. It is revealed that he is suffering from an autoimmune disease that affects the brain called Hashimoto’s encephalopathy. This disease is a rare and complex condition that creates a range of neurological symptoms, including psychosis, seizures, and hallucinations. Although the symptoms of the disease closely match those of the king in the show, the portrayal of the illness has received mixed reviews from the audience.

The showrunners have been praised for their attention to detail in researching the disease and providing an accurate portrayal of its symptoms. However, some have also pointed out that the illness could have been used as a mere plot device to create tension instead of accurately representing the disease and its impact on the patient. Another possible criticism is that the disease could be triggering for audience members who suffer from similar symptoms.

What this Tired Trope Reveals about the Showrunners

The use of illness tropes in popular culture has often been criticized for perpetuating harmful stereotypes. For example, mental illness is often portrayed in a negative light, with characters with mental health conditions being either violent or in need of saving. In the case of House of Dragons, the showrunners could have chosen to show different aspects or portrayals of illness. Instead, they focused on the stressed and the negative aspects of the king’s illness, digging deeper into his potential destruction as opposed to an alternative perspective of his possible recovery.

On the other hand, the portrayal of the illness could be seen as a reflection of the harsh reality that many people with chronic illnesses face. The portrayal of the king’s illness as a long and difficult journey might be a way to offer empathy and understanding for those who have similar afflictions.


In conclusion, the king’s illness in House of Dragons presents a unique and realistic portrayal of the negative impact of illness on an individual, his family, and the kingdom he governs. Through this trope, the showrunners have created an intricate storyline that explores power dynamics, political allegiance, and human emotions. While some audiences feel that illness plots are tired or not necessary, it is important to note that the way in which illnesses are portrayed in media can lead to both stigma and a heightened awareness of the vulnerability and care that people with illness require. The king’s story in House of Dragons provides a lens to analyze and reflect on past narratives surrounding health issues in media and how the storytelling surrounding diseases may have both positive and negative implications.

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