Graham McTavish addresses whether his character Harrold Westerling could return in House of the Dragon season 2 following his final appearance in season 1, episode 9. McTavish portrayed the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard in the court of Paddy Considine’s King Viserys I and bodyguard to his daughter, Rhaenyra (Portrayed by both Millie Alcock and Emma D’Arcy.). House of the Dragon season 1 saw Harrold remain loyal to Rhaenyra throughout her life, upholding his duty with honor and chivalry, before later resigning in protest from the Kingsguard following the Hightower’s and Small Council’s attempts to usurp the throne from Rhaenyra following Viserys’ death.
In an interview with TVLine, McTavish opened up about Harrold’s decision to leave the Kingsguard following the Green faction’s attempt to claim the throne, emphasizing how despite his sense of duty, his decision to leave his Kingsguard position was made without hesitation due to his loyalty to Rhaenyra and the Targaryens. The actor then discussed how Harrold would then be left in a position where he would question his path going forward now that he is no longer a knight, but could still prove to be a threat to the Greens in season 2 of House of the Dragon. Check out McTavish’s response below:
« Harrold’s entire life had been about his devotion to that family, and really in particular to Rhaenyra. He would’ve known her since she was literally born, so it would have been a very, very difficult moment for him, but also one in the end he didn’t hesitate about. So when he leaves, I mean — hey, you know, in my mind, I imagined him sort of striding out, getting on his horse, riding out of town and really taking time to decompress to actually think, you know, “What am I going to do next?” Because I don’t think he has a plan. I don’t think Harrold would go home at night having an exit strategy if things went wrong. He would never have imagined that ever happening. So, it’s a sort of cataclysmic moment for him, but also for [the Targaryens], you know, because this is somebody that they’ve entirely relied upon, who never questioned anything. I mean, to them, he probably appeared almost just like a functionary. You know, “Fetch. Sit. Do that. Kill them.” And for that kind of a person to turn around and say, “You know what? I just hate the lot of you, and so I’m leaving,” they’ll have a few things to think about, as well. Because it’s not like Harrold Westerling is no threat to them. As you said, I don’t know where it’s all going, all the rest of it. But I mean, the possibilities are there for any number of scenarios at the moment. »
How Harrold Could Return For House of the Dragon Season 2
Harrold’s fate in House of the Dragon marks a deviation from the show’s source material, as Fire & Blood states that Harrold had died by the time of the upcoming events of the « Dance of the Dragons ». In George R.R Martin’s original novel, Harrold is a minor character who received a passing mention and would die of old age, leading to Ser Criston Cole’s (Fabien Frankel) promotion to Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under the Greens. With the original novel being a recount of Westeros’ history from the perspective of unreliable narrators, House of the Dragon chose to expand the character’s role in the story and add a new perspective to the much-teased Targaryen civil war conflict between the two Targaryen factions.
As such, if McTavish does return for later seasons of House of the Dragon, Harrold could likely join the Targaryens as they gather allies across Westeros for the coming civil war, due to his loyalty to Rhaenyra since her young age and disgust at the treasonous actions of the Hightowers. However, McTavish’s suggestions that Harrold is facing a personal crisis following his resignation could suggest that if he was to become a key player in the conflict, audiences could see the former Kingsguard go on a journey where he may question whether he chose the right decision by abandoning his vows and duties as a knight. However, with the now Queen Rhaenyra seeking allies, the former Kingsguard is a perfect choice for her faction, though it is unknown whether he would seek out to join Rhaenyra on his own accord, or would have to be recruited by someone who remains loyal to her.
Ser Harrold’s expanded role in House of the Dragon season 1 allowed him to become a fully-developed character who won the admiration of viewers through his unwavering loyalty and a strong sense of chivalry when compared to the less honorable men of King’s Landing. As such, his resignation in episode 9 was met with a warm reception, as he was one of the few members of Viserys’ court to stand up to the Hightower’s coup and live to fight on. And with House of the Dragon season 2 again featuring an ensemble cast, the show could expand to follow McTavish’s knight further, giving further depth to the fan-favorite Kingsguard and tackling where chivalry fits into Westeros.