Who is Ser Harwin Strong in “House of the Dragon”? Rumored to have fathered the children of Rhaenyra
The kingdom is full of rumors, but episode 6 of Dragon House could introduce the biggest scandal yet. The trailer previews some of the gossip, which revolves around an inappropriate relationship between Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy) and Ser Hawrin Strong (Ryan Corr). In episode 5, Rhaenyra was married to Lord Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate); however, the young couple made a deal that they could sleep with whoever they wanted, as they weren’t attracted to each other. Their deal, if kept secret, wouldn’t matter – except that a rumor has begun to suggest that Rhaenyra’s heirs resemble Ser Harwin and not her husband.
Are Harwin and Rhaenyra having an affair?
Ser Harwin first appeared in Episode 3, during the Royal Hunt of the Targaryens. After Rhaenyra abandons the festivities, she is joined in the forest by Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). In the desert, the duo was surprised by a boar, but luckily they were able to kill the beast. Near the end of the episode, Rhaenyra drags her kill into the royal camp, showing off her prowess and abilities. However, when she returns, she is looked upon with envy by Ser Harwin, who was skinning a rabbit.
In Episode 4, when Rhaenyra and the Daemon Prince (Matt Smith) were in disguise and galvanizing through the bottom of the chips to see how the commoners lived, Ser Harwin reappeared. While trying to both lure and antagonize Daemon, Rhaenyra fled into the alleys. During her stealth, she ran straight into City Watch member Ser Harwin’s chest plate. There’s not much to the interaction other than a look and the understanding that he recognized her despite her disguise.
In episode 5 of Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding, the two meet again. Once the fateful melee broke out in the ceremony, Viserys (Paddy Considine) yelled at Ser Harwin to pull a toppled Rhaenyra out of the chaos. Following the king’s orders, Harwin broke up the fight, threw Rhaenyra over his shoulder, and carried her to safety away from the fighting.
In George RR Martin’s books, Harwin is the Captain of the Golden Coats at King’s Landing. Being an important court figure, he was no stranger to Rhaenyra, even acting as something of a suitor for the young princess, despite her vows to the kingdom. However, on one occasion, after her advances to Ser Criston Cole were spurned, Rhaenyra found solace and solace in Ser Harwin’s company. Although nothing has been substantiated, the duo reportedly shared a bed together. During the royal wedding between Rhaenyra and Laenor, the princess bestowed her favor on Ser Harwin in a celebratory tournament. However, it was during said tournament that Ser Criston broke Harwin’s collarbone and broke his elbow, and thus, Harwin was given the name “Brokenbones” or “Breakbones”. Despite his injuries, Harwin was a mainstay at Rhaenyra’s side and would become one of her staunchest supporters during the Targaryen Civil War.
When Rhaenyra was to give birth to her second son, Lucerys, she was joined at her bedside by Ser Laenor and Ser Harwin. Usually the presence of a shield is not unusual, however, there was a widespread belief in the kingdom that Harwin, not Laenor, was the biological father of her children. The scandal brought more dishonor to House Targaryen, as rumors of Rhaenyra’s promiscuity began to swirl once again. When her rivalry with Alicent grew too great, Rhaenyra chose to move to Dragonstone to escape dissent from Alicent’s followers. Harwin went with her, continuing as her sworn shield.
Harwin’s downfall began after Prince Aemond Targaryen, the second son of Alicent and Viserys I, called Rhaenyra’s sons “Strong”, which sparked a fight. As a result, King Viserys I removed Harwin as Rhaenyra’s protector. He was replaced by Ser Erryk Cargyll, another member of Kingsguard, before being banished to Harrenhal. Later that same year, Harrenhal would be engulfed in a fire that would cost the lives of both Ser Harwin and his father Lyonel.
Many believed the fire was the result of Harrenhal’s cursed nature, while others speculated that it was actually Prince Daemon who lit the flame to eliminate one of the possible suitors or lovers of Rhaenyra. Other suspects included Corlys Velaryon, who wanted revenge on the man who cuckolded her son; King Viserys, who wanted revenge on the man who had dishonored his house; or Larys, who was to inherit Harrenhal after his brother died.
Harwin’s brother, Larys Strong, is he the new little finger?
Harwin Strong also has a brother, the sneaky Larys (Matthew Needham). He was introduced in episode 3 as the gentle-looking man with the disabled foot equipped with an iron boot. Unable to participate in the men’s rejoicings, he chose to sit among the women and listen to their conversations. The duo share a father in Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes) who serves as Viserys’ hand after Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) is fired in Episode 4. Where one of Lyonel’s sons leans on his strength, the other relies on his cunning.
In Episode 3, it was Larys who planted the seeds in Alicent’s head that Rhaenyra may have done something on her night out with Daemon. This led to Alicent’s confrontation with Ser Criston, ultimately resulting in Alicent’s green dress at the royal wedding.
In the source material, it was never established which side Larys was loyal to during the Dance of the Dragons. After the deaths of Harwin and Lyonel in the Harrenhal fire, Larys became Lord of Harrenhal and would become the whisperer of the small council of Viserys I. After the king’s death, Larys pledged his support for Alicent’s cause, swearing a blood oath to support the ascension of Prince Aegon II over that of Rhaenyra.
When the Civil War began, Daemon seized Harrenhal, forcing Larys to flee to King’s Landing. However, his presence there was short-lived, as he once again escaped the capital when Rhaenyra took over the city. Larys helped Prince Aegon and his other children Maelor and Jaehaera escape when King’s Landing fell. He separated the Targaryen trio, sending Aegon back to Dragonstone, where he thought Rhaenyra would never think to look. However, Aegon’s younger brother Aemond was not so sure about Larys and believed that Brother Strong had aided Rhaenyra in the destruction of King’s Landing, so Aegon had the remaining members of the Strong family killed.
Back in King’s Landing, Larys was working underhandedly against Rhaenyra, allegedly spreading the rumor that the captive Helaena Targaryen, daughter of Alicent and Viserys, had been murdered on Rhaenyra’s orders, despite the fact that it was of a suicide. The wake of her death led to a riot that forced Rhaenyra out of town. In his place, Trystane Truefyre was crowned king, rumored to be a son of King Viserys. Larys worked alongside Trystane during his short reign, but then double-crossed the king and secured the throne for Alicent’s cause. He then freed her and Corlys from the dungeons. However, Larys was eventually executed after being accused of poisoning King Aegon.