“Chaos is a ladder,” as Littlefinger sadly said in “Game of Thrones.” And the prequel series “House of the Dragon” just revealed that Larys Strong is climbing it.
SPOILER ALERT: Contains details for Episode 6 of “House of the Dragon,” which airs Sunday, September 25 on HBO and HBO Max.
Episode 6 of “House of the Dragon” introduced a dramatic decade-long time jump. After 10 years, we can expect a lot of changes.
Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent are played by new actresses (Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively). Rhaenyra is now a mother of three sons. Daemon (Matt Smith) now has two daughters and is married to Laena Velaryon (Corlys’ daughter and sister to Rhaenyra’s husband, Laenor) until Daemon is widowed at the end of the hour. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) now seems to have one foot in the grave.
But one thing that has stayed exactly the same? Larys Strong is a snake. He’s this show’s version of Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), on “Game of Thrones.”
Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) is the brother of Harwin Strong (a knight who is not so secretly the biological father of Rhaenyra’s three sons, since she has an open relationship with her gay husband).
The son of Lyonel Strong (the Hand of the King who replaced Otto Hightower, after the King fired him in the fourth episode), Larys has a club foot, so he does not participate in traditionally male activities. In the third episode with the boar hunt, he joined the circle of ladies and listened to their gossip, instead of hunting with the men.
So, like Tyrion Lannister, Varys, and Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish on “GoT,” he uses his brain as a weapon instead of a sword.
The sly strategist’s cunning ways came to light during the fifth episode, when he approached Alicent and gave her a push to turn on Rhaenyra (revealing the news that Rhaenyra had received a special delivery from Westerosi Plan B in tea form).
This meant that when Alicent tried to defend Rhaenyra from rumors about her sex life, Rhaenyra lied to her (when she swore she hadn’t done anything). It was the final straw in Alicent’s friendship with her daughter-in-law, having her wear a dress that symbolically declared war. So this rift between Alicent and Rhaenyra was largely caused by Larys.
Now, in this sixth episode, after Larys’ father, Lyonel, and brother Harwin walk out of court (due to rumors that Harwin fathered Rhaenyra’s sons), they die in a fire started by assassins. The guilty? Why, none other than Larys Strong himself.
Earlier in the episode, Alicent talks about wishing her father Otto Hightower was at court with her, because he would tell the king the truth when no one else would, and he would also be on her side against Rhaenyra. Now the current Hand of the King is conveniently dead, killed by his own son, leaving that position open.
“The queen makes a wish. What servant of the kingdom would not strive to accomplish it? Guess you’re going to write your dad now,” Larys said, after revealing his crime.
Alicent is horrified and says, “I didn’t wish for this.” A smiling Larys replies, “I’m sure you’ll reward me, when the time comes.”
Thus, Larys is such a wicked schemer that he is willing to arrange the murders of his own father and brother, just to curry favor with Queen Alicent.
“House of the Dragon” has had several villains so far. At first, it looked like Daemon was the adversary; also, sexually attacking his niece isn’t exactly good guy behavior. King Viserys has made some shady moves, and Rhaenyra’s petulant teenage half-brother Aegon could be a mini Joffrey in training. But by the end of this episode, it’s clear that Larys Strong has become a Petyr Baelish-type villain lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike when everyone least expects it.
“House of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
New York Post