Only a select few people ever get the chance to rise to positions of power in the universe of Game of Thrones. Members of strong Houses nearly exclusively hold the highest titles. Even persons having prominent last names at birth may be disqualified from high-level posts for a variety of reasons.
Consider Tyrion Lannister, who despite being a member of one of Westeros’ wealthiest and most powerful Houses was prevented from ascending to the position of Lord of Casterly Rock in large part because of his father’s contempt for the fact that he was born a dwarf. While Lord Varys, like the majority of low-born people who end up at the high tables, manages to claw his way to the top over the course of years of cunning schemes and political gamesmanship, he was still unable to lay claim to any lands or legitimate titles because those distinctions are almost always the result of inheritance.
House of the Dragon, which takes set roughly 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, has a very comparable governmental framework. In reality, the present rulers of Westeros, House Targaryen, had already been in power for almost 100 years at the start of the series, making achieving authority that transcends one’s rank much more unlikely. Those who want progress, however, are unafraid of these obstacles, and Larys Strong, a second son with a physical birth deformity, is one such power-hungry schemer.
Larys Strong, the Inconspicuous Lurker of Unknown Allegiances
Larys Strong is Lord Lyonel Strong’s second son. During the historical period covered in House of the Dragon, House Strong is a major political force. They are stationed in Harrenhal, one of Westeros’ largest fortress strongholds. Fans of the series may know Harrenhal from Game of Thrones, where it is presented as a charred wreck far from its previous splendour (the events that led to Harrenhal being destroyed may very well be explored later on in House of the Dragon).
Larys Strong initially appears to viewers in the episode “We Light the Way.” Audiences notice right away that he walks with a limp since he was born with clubfoot. Like many other characters in the Game of Thrones world who face physical challenges, he has learned to compensate for his lack of combat prowess with a razor-sharp wit that puts many blades to shame.
His first encounter is with Alicent Hightower, in which he informs the Queen that Princess Rhaenyra was given an abortifacient tea by the Grand Maester, validating Alicent’s suspicions that Rhaenyra had participated in inappropriate relationships. Later in the episode, during Princess Rhaenyra and Laenor Valeryon’s wedding, Larys observes that the Queen’s green gown is a subtle, color-coded hint to a probable imminent battle.
The murderous plot hatched by Larys in “The Princess and the Queen”
Viewers have a much clearer idea of how Larys Strong will play a role in House of the Dragon’s events in “The Princess and the Queen.” The most recent episode very certainly establishes that Princess Rhaenyra’s children are biologically his and the consequence of an adulterous affair. Ser Harwin Strong, Larys’ older brother, is a captain in the City Watch. Ser Criston Cole is viciously attacked by Harwin after implying as much, forcing him to flee King’s Landing and resign from his position.
Larys Strong is seen halfway through the show enlisting inmates in the municipal dungeon for an unspecified duty in return for their release. He cuts off their tongues, perhaps to keep them from telling anybody about his scheme. Larys’ father and brother perish in a fire started by the criminals in Harrenhal, leaving him the de facto head of House Strong. He serves the Kingdom well, and Queen Alicent praises him until she learns of his murderous scheme. When Westeros is shaken by internal conflict, Larys may be capable of anything if he can slay his own blood.
There is a lot of unrest in Westeros, and it is unknown how long House Targaryen will be able to hold onto the throne or who will be picked to succeed them. Because of this, each faction’s rules will need to surround itself with strong people when it comes time to pick sides in the approaching fight. The current leader of House Strong is Larys Strong, who is also viciously cunning.
Future episodes will definitely feature the character significantly, so everyone (even his supporters) should keep a close eye on them.