Editor’s Note: The following episode contains spoilers for Episodes 1-6 of House of the Dragon.House Strong was first mentioned in Game of Thrones as one of the many houses that claimed Harrenhal, a castle in the Riverlands, and ultimately died out. There’s merit to this perceived curse — the largest castle in the 7 Kingdoms has a track record of extinct houses ruling its halls when they met their demise. House of the Dragon expands on this particular family with the blood of the First Men, turning a casual namedrop into an influential force in the events that led to the Dance of Dragons, Westeros’ first civil war.

The Strong House bore a sigil with a pale blue, red, and green streak extending from a hand on a black coat of arms, on a white background. While we ultimately know the fate that will befall this house due to Thrones, there is still much to note regarding the family, reminding us how truly unstable Westeros could be, especially for the houses within the Red Keep. Episode 6, “The Princess and the Queen,” sees much of the Strongs’ fates come to fruition, finally clarifying the one responsible for the death of the Lord of Harrenhal and his heir, as George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood doesn’t explicitly give the arsonist’s identity.

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Early Strongs

There were a few noteworthy Strongs before those of the time of Viserys I’s (Paddy Considine) reign. Osmund Strong was appointed Hand of the King during Aegon I’s reign. This Strong also helped oversee the construction of the wall built around King’s Landing. Lucamore Strong was appointed to the Kingsguard by Jaehaerys Targaryen (Michael Carter). He broke his vows, however, and fathered 16 children. As a consequence, he was castrated and sent to serve on the Night’s Watch at the Wall. His brother, Bywin Strong, was appointed Lord of Harrenhal, placing the Strongs in charge of the cursed property.

RELATED: How ‘House of the Dragon’s Fractured Targaryen House Led to Westeros’ First Civil War

Lyonel Strong

Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes) starts House of the Dragon as Viserys’ Master of Laws on his council. He is the father of Harwin (Ryan Corr) and Larys (Matthew Needham), though you definitely can’t tell by his looks. When Viserys removes Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) as Hand of the King, Lyonel takes his place, gaining one of the most powerful positions in the realm. Even before he becomes Hand, Viserys valued Lyonel’s “unencumbered opinion,” even if he didn’t always act on his advice. Still, Lyonel knew the truth about the King’s health and still was a staunch supporter of Viserys.

After Harwin attacks Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), Lyonel becomes incredibly upset about the perceived shame he brought upon the family by fathering Rhaenyra’s (Emma D’Arcy) children. He decides to escort Harwin back to the cursed Harrenhal for his son to begin his duties as heir. However, he would meet his fate via fire as the castle burned like it once did during Aegon’s conquest, but this time it would be at the hands of his younger son.

Harwin Strong

Harwin Strong, also known as ‘Breakbones’, is a knight and a member of the City Watch of King’s Landing, eventually becoming Commander. Being Lyonel’s firstborn son, he was also the heir to Harrenhal. He doesn’t have a large presence in the first half of Season 1 but instead is subtly placed in the series, building up his importance in Rhaenyra’s life. He appears on the grand hunt in the third episode, and when Daemon (Matt Smith) takes the Princess out into the city, he doesn’t give her away when she bumps into him. He also dances with her at her wedding before protecting her when it devolves into chaos with Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) beating Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod) to death.

Oh yeah, Harwin is rumored to be the father of Rhaenyra’s first 3 children, Jacaerys (Leo Hart), Lucerys (Harvey Sadler), and Joffrey. The last time we see Harwin before the 10-year time jump is actually when he’s saving Rhaenyra at the wedding, so House of the Dragon‘s decision to only use him in small bursts up until the episode of his death is purposeful. It’s clear that he’s not the love of Rhaenyra’s life, but still a close friend and confidant that she cares enough for to claim his children as her husband’s. He’s a part of the family.

It’s also pretty clear that he is the father, but the people who would do something about it mostly turn a blind eye, except for Ser Criston Cole, egged on by Queen Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) words and his own bitterness over Rhaenyra’s rejection 10 years ago. When he goads Harwin not only taunting him but by using Alicent and Rhaenyra’s children, Harwin attacks Cole and is expelled from the City Watch. Lyonel decides that Harwin should return to Harrenhal which ends up sealing their fate. Upon arriving, Larys arranges for the castle to be set on fire which kills Lyonel and Harwin during the burning. This effectively leaves Larys as the new Lord of Harrenhal in Lyonel and Harwin’s places.

Larys Strong

Larys Strong is Lyonel’s second-born son and brother to Harwin. He was born with a clubfoot, causing him to walk with a cane. However, he takes advantage of his disability, using people’s stereotypical perceptions of him to gather information or influence others such as Queen Alicent, He is able to tempt her into a confrontation with Rhaenyra in which Alicent later learns she lied (on her mother’s grave), driving the wedge between them to a place that would affect the entire realm.

Larys continues to use Alicent, even a decade later, utilizing a conversation with Alicent to murder his father and brother. Not only does he become the Lord of Harrenhal with their deaths, but he also gains blackmail over Alicent. If you’re looking for a Littlefinger of this series, we’ve found it in Larys. It’s clear that this character will end up backing Alicent’s side in the familial war, but how much of it will be Alicent’s versus Larys’? And how long with his loyalty lie with her?

 

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