If you're feeling disoriented after House of the Dragon's *big* time jump, let me help clear some things up. Why are people so obsessed with some dude named Harwin all of a sudden? Are we supposed to like Larys? A new family (or at least, new to those who only watched Game of Thrones) is stirring up major drama in Westeros and might be literally cursed. Here's what you need to know about House Strong on House of the Dragon, its major players and how we should have seen this whole gone-too-soon thing coming... even if it sometimes feels like the Game of Thrones spin-off is cramming three seasons of character growth and tragedy into a handful of episodes.
There's a creeper, Larys Strong.
The most prominent member of House Strong is Larys, who approached Queen Alicent all XOXO Gossip Girl in episode 5 and seems to have become an even closer confidante to the queen after the time jump in episode 6. They're having regular dinners! Cute! Potentially evil, but cute.
He also, I'm like 99 percent sure, murdered his father and brother. In Fire & Blood one of his jobs is a torturer. That may explain why, in episode 6 of the HBO series, he had the resources available to employ some prisoners and cut off their tongues before sending them to do his bidding.
Larys isn't afraid to get his hands dirty but is just as willing to stir shit by planting and spreading rumors, as we've already seen on House of the Dragon. If you're getting Littlefinger vibes from him, you're probably not alone. He's great at charming the right people and faking it until he makes it. Is he a bad guy? Only if you're not on his side.
There's a feminist, Ser Harwin "Breakbones" Strong.
I will never forgive House of the Dragon for this. You're telling me that some hunk fathered not one, not two, but three children with Rhaenyra Targaryen and it ALL HAPPENED OFF-SCREEN and now he's GONE?? Casual viewers may not have even noticed Harwin Strong until episode 5 or 6 because he's been kind of lurking, but in a hot way, in the background for most of the season. We got some stolen glances while Rhaenyra was cosplaying Princess Jasmine in King's Landing in that one episode and while she was dragging a boar back during a hunt in that other episode. Then on his father's nod he punched some dudes and flung Rhaenyra onto his shoulder to get her out of the wedding feast when shit hit the fan. Then all of a sudden ten years passed and he was part of a pretty chill-looking polyamorous relationship with a ton of kids. Then he died in a fire. WTF!!!!
They have a dad, Lyonel Strong
Larys and Harwin's father was Master of Laws on the small council at the beginning of the season and was appointed to Hand of the King when King Viserys fired Alicent's father Otto Hightower. He was also killed in the fire.
Their home is a Game of Thrones Red Flag.
House Strong's seat or castle on House of the Dragon is Harrenhal, which we saw quite a bit of in the early days of Game of Thrones. Harrenhal is located in the Riverlands, near the seats of houses you might remember from Game of Thrones like Catelyn Stark's family House Tully and Catelyn Stark's murderers House Frey. By the time the Targaryens had been overthrown and Game of Thrones was underway, nobody wanted to be put in charge of Harrenhal because it was believed to be cursed. It's too big. It's difficult to maintain. Families who hold Harrenhal tend to be, well, eliminated in one way or another.
In season 1 of Game of Thrones, King Joffrey Baratheon gives Harrenhal to a knight as a gift for betraying Ned Stark. Then Tywin Lannister captures it. Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are captured and taken there and watch a lot of torture go down in season 2. Then Joffrey gives it to Littlefinger. Then it was captured and held by House Bolton. Jon Snow beheads the knight who betrayed Ned, and Tywin, Littlefinger, and the Boltons also die horrible deaths. The Harrenhal curse is real! We should have known that House Strong was doomed.
It was at a tournament in Harrenhal that Rhaegar Targaryen, Dany's older brother, gave Ned Stark's sister Lyanna the victor's crown instead of his wife, which lead to Robert's Rebellion and the end of the Targaryen Dynasty. That's pretty cursed. Harrenhal is also the first location we saw on House of the Dragon. It's where the council met to decide that Viserys should be king instead of his cousin Rhaenys, the Sea Snake's wife. Was that a cursed decision? Probably! But we'll never know for sure.
Is anyone else in House Strong?
Larys doesn't have any kids in the books, so unless the show makes a big change, the family name ends with him. Harwin's three bastard children with Rhaenyra are officially Velaryons, after all. In Fire & Blood, Lyonel has two daughters who come to King's Landing with him, Harwin, and Larys. He also has an alleged bastard daughter named Alys Rivers who ends up with one of the House of the Dragon princes we have already met. So even if the name has come and gone, this may not be the bitter end of House Strong...
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