House of the Dragon actor Matthew Needham shares insight on his character Larys Strong’s dynamic with Alicent Hightower. In the Game of Thrones prequel series, the dragon-wielding House Targaryen holds the Iron Throne, but a succession crisis is brewing. Alliances are being forged in anticipation of the sickly King Viserys (Paddy Considine)’s eventual death. Needham’s Larys has partnered with Viserys’ wife Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke).
Larys was introduced as a meek character destined to miss out on the action that his knightly brother Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) and powerful father Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes) enjoyed. In episode 3 « Second of His Name, » Larys milled about with the royal ladies while the men took to trapping a beast for King Viserys to gracelessly kill. But, as was the case in Game of Thrones, it’s the most merciless who get what they want. In episode 6, Larys organized the brutal and fiery killing of his brother and father, which not only made him the senior man in House Strong, but reduced the strength of Queen Alicent’s former friend, now-rival, and heir to the throne Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy).
Queen Alicent, arguably the most powerful woman in the realm, is now indebted to Larys, the forgotten son of House Strong. Needham explained to TVLine that while his character’s leg prevents him from using force, his mind is sharp enough to execute his will in other ways.
I think maybe with Alicent, it’s a sort of sharing of who you are. He’s very good at seeing across the lies that we construct around ourselves. He’s been watching. He’s been sitting silently, nobody talking to him, watching people. All of his life, he’s been watching people. There’s the mask that we all wear, and I think he’s very good at seeing through that to who people really are.
Needham’s on-screen depiction of Larys is mostly all-original because the character was not heavily featured in House of the Dragon’s source material, George R. R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood. Larys has been promoted to a major character and a wicked one that the viewers love to hate. Larys may be a keen observer, but he’s also unopposed to twisted acts of violence and saw to cutting out the tongues of the men who carried out his murderous scheme. Like Game of Thrones’ Petyr « Littlefinger » Baelish, Larys will need to continue organizing interwoven alliances with friends in high places if he intends to keep at his dangerous game, and his ultimate goal is still unclear.
Larys’ father served as the Hand of the King, the most powerful political appointee in Westeros. A behind-the-scenes operator like Larys could reach the summit of power by further proving his capability to Queen Alicent, seeing to her son Aegon (Ty Tennant) taking the Iron Throne, and being made Hand in exchange for his years of scheming and loyalty. Either way, it’s clear Alicent and Larys relationship will be important to House of the Dragon going forward.
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