So far, we’ve seen how the Crabfeeder and Otto Hightower were painted as villains in House of the Dragon. While the Crabfeeder turned out to be a dud villain, just like in the books, Otto Hightower stood his ground for a while. But even he comes nowhere close to the villainy of Ser Larys Strong. Played by Matthew Needham, he is the younger son of Lord Lyonel Strong. And as you might have seen already, this guy is pure evil!! Here’s why Larys is the true villain of House of the Dragon.
Given the context of this series, he is a necessary evil because there weren’t many others stepping up to be bad guys after Otto. And you could argue that even Otto was acting in the interest of the realm. He doesn’t want Rhaenyra to be Queen because the people won’t accept her as number one. And Number 2 – Rhaenyra has all the traits to grow into a tyrant. So, he is an opposing party with strong reasoning. But Larys is the real selfish “c*nt.”
The show was in dire need of a schemer like Petyr Baelish. And now we’ve got one that’s even worse than the Little Finger. The creatives have decided to give him a much bigger role than he had in the source material. In Martin’s Fire and Blood, Larys didn’t have a huge role to play before the Dance of the Dragons broke out. But here, they’ve judged his character right.
House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal recently explained why Ser Larys Strong was given a larger role. He said:
“We just decided that Larys was smart enough in the history to never to get himself written down into many of the accounts too much, but we knew he was a schemer. We knew he was operating in those places, but he was wise. So nobody really knew what he was actually up to. Of course, you’re only looking at what’s in the historical records. So that doesn’t mean these things didn’t happen.
“You just want to turn the page and read more, but there’s not much there. Because the historians didn’t really get anything on him, it gave us tons of latitude to really draw on and invent with that character.”
Larys always had a hand in some major big events. But he never got caught red-handed. And we saw how that might have happened. As Larys himself said, he was an observer. He pulled the strings from behind the scenes. And that’s what he did in the series as well. First, he caused the rift between Rhaenyra and Alicent. Those two had become friends once again after Rhaenyra swore to her that nothing had happened between her and Daemon.
But it was Larys who told Alicent about the magic tea that was delivered to Rhaenyra’s room. He planted trust issues in her mind, and that led to a domino effect. Alicent asked Ser Criston Cole about what Rhaenyra did, and he confided in her. He confessed that it was he who slept with Rhaenyra and not Daemon. And this just broke her trust in Rhaenyra as she began to hate her. This little chess move that Larys played is the cause of all the troubles that are about to come.
And to add to this, he manipulated Alicent even further. Obviously, he was the one to have his brother, and his father killed in the fire at Harrenhal. He felt no remorse for it and actually asked to be rewarded. He made it as if Queen Alicent wanted those two to be killed off. All that Alicent wished for was for her father to be back in King’s Landing. But Ser Larys Strong has forcefully strengthened his own relation to the crown.
On top of that, he’d also inherit what his father owned as he would become the Lord of Harrenhal. In the book, it was never clearly specified who caused the fire that killed Ser Harwin and Lord Lyonel. But Larys was amongst one of the suspects. Now, the show has turned him into the true culprit. And it has added this subtext of Larys using the old prisoners of the red keep by cutting their tongues out. He covered his tracks so those prisoners couldn’t be traced back to him. This is one of the ways he could have used to keep his name out of all major recorded events in the book.
You could imagine that he would play a big role in the series from here on out. Before moving on, I’d give you a spoiler warning as I am about to tell what happens in Fire & Blood after this point.
Spoilers for the future follow.
Larys becomes a strong supporting member of Alicent’s team. Besides Otto Hightower, she also gets to enjoy the scheming mind of Larys. And Larys was amongst the members of the Green Council who supported Aegon’s claim after the demise of King Viserys. He, along with Otto and Alicent Hightower, helped Aegon take the Iron Throne while Rhaenyra was at Dragonstone. And when Rhaenyra took the throne by force, Larys once again helped Aegon take it back from her.
The tables only turned against him when Rhaenyra’s first son with Daemon, Aegon the Third, took the throne from Aegon the Second. Ultimately, Lord Larys chose death over the wall. So he was beheaded, and his head ended up being mounted on a pike by the gates of the Red Keep. Well, you could say that this is what he deserves in the end. But until something like this happens in the series, let’s enjoy his conniving plans.
So, all this is why Larys is the true villain of House of the Dragon.