Like its predecessor, House of the Dragon boasts a sprawling cast of characters. However, unlike Game of Thrones, which premiered on HBO with one of the largest ensembles in the history of television, House of the Dragon is taking its time to gradually expand and fill out its cast.
Now, with five episodes remaining in the hit show’s first season, House of the Dragon’s ensemble is poised to become much, much bigger in the coming weeks.
That said, in its fifth and most recent episode, House of the Dragon notably took the time to formally reintroduce its viewers to one of its most surprisingly important characters. We are, of course, talking about Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham).
Stoking the Flames — Early on in House of the Dragon Episode 5, Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) finds herself alone in the Red Keep’s Weirwood Tree courtyard with Lord Larys Strong. The latter character, who briefly appeared in House of the Dragon’s third episode, takes the opportunity to stoke the fires that have long threatened to burn down Alicent’s friendship with Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock).
Strong does so by informing Alicent of the delivery that was made to Rhaenyra at the end of House of the Dragon Episode 4, which causes Carey’s Alicent to begin wondering whether she can truly trust her former friend. The rest of the episode sees Alicent move toward placing herself, once and for all, in opposition to Rhaenyra.
It’s impossible to know if Alicent would have gotten to a place of distrust if Lord Larys had not spoken to her in House of the Dragon Episode 5’s first act. Either way, his conversation with Alicent has undeniably established Larys as one of House of the Dragon’s behind-the-scenes schemers. In fact, if Game of Thrones fans found themselves reminded of characters like Littlefinger and Varys during Larys’ big scene in House of the Dragon’s latest episode, there’s a good reason why.
He is, essentially, the closest thing that House of the Dragon has to its own Littlefinger.
A Master of Whisperers — For context’s sake, it’s worth noting that Larys is the son of Lord Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes), who has taken over as Viserys’ (Paddy Considine)’ Hand of the King following Otto Hightower’s (Rhys Ifans) removal. He’s also the brother of Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), who saves Rhaenyra from being overrun at the end of her engagement feast in House of the Dragon Episode 6. Unlike his brother, though, Larys is not a formidable fighter.
As was established during his introductory scene in House of the Dragon Episode 3, Larys was born with a clubfoot, which has led him to take on less of a visibly active role in the goings-on of his family and the royal circles he moves through. Instead, as a key shot in House of the Dragon’s third episode proves, Larys prefers to sit and listen most of the time, a habit that allows him to become privy to the kind of information that he shares with Alicent during their fateful conversation in the Red Keep.
To say much more about the role the character plays in House of the Dragon’s story would be to venture into some major spoiler territory. However, in case his scenes in the HBO series’ latest episode didn’t already make it clear, viewers should expect Larys’ presence to only grow in the coming weeks. Not only is he destined to land a key position on King Viserys’ small council, but he’s also going to play an instrumental role in the Dance of the Dragons, the conflict that will make up the bulk of House of the Dragon’s story.
The Inverse Analysis — Thanks to its impending time jump, which will see the series pick up around 10 years or so after the events of its most recent installment, House of the Dragon’s cast is about to seriously expand. A large number of new characters, nearly all of whom are important in their own ways, are about to be introduced on screen, which means that House of the Dragon viewers are going to have a lot of new names and faces to learn moving forward.
However, the multiple new characters who are about to be introduced shouldn’t distract viewers from some of House of the Dragon’s existing supporting figures. That includes Lord Larys Strong, who is going to be one of the series’ most important characters — even if he doesn’t seem like it right now.
New episodes of House of the Dragon air Sundays on HBO.