The third episode of House of the Dragon introduced an important new character to the audience. They introduced the character just when Rhaenyra showed up in the Kingswood camp. In the scene that name-checks Lady Swann, Larys Strong, also known as Larys Clubfoot, sneaked his way into the narrative. Matthew Needham portrays Strong in the television adaptation of House of the Dragon.
Now let us learn more about this mysterious character.
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Early history, appearance and Character
Ser Larys Strong was the last patriarch of House Strong. He was the Lord of Harrenhal and the head of House Strong. He held these positions during the latter part of the reign of Viserys I Targaryen and the reign of Aegon II Targaryen. This period is best known as the Dance of the Dragons. He served on the small council as Lord Confessor and the master of whisperers for King Viserys I, King Aegon II, and briefly King Aegon III.
Ser Larys Strong is the second son of Lord Lyonel Strong of Harrenhal. He was the younger brother of Ser Harwin Strong. He also had two unnamed sisters and a bastard half-sister named Alys Rivers. Strong was born with a clubfoot, a birth defect causing one or both feet to be rotated inward and downward. Hence, he walks with a cane, dragging a limp. He is also known as Larys Clubfoot or the Clubfoot, due to this birth abnormality.
While ingenious, most of the people around him underestimate him due to his sickly stature. Strong presumably had a pug nose, brown eyes, and brown hair, as did his brother and all of his nephews. Strong was a man of few words, preferring to listen than speak himself. When he did speak, it was either to share words of great importance or to be glib. Larys Clubfoot was an enigmatic and cunning man, but he was convincing and amiable. He kept his own counsel and was largely friendless.
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Reign of Viserys I
Lord Lyonel Strong, who was then a member of the Small Council, brought his son Larys Strong to the court front in 105 AC. Lyonel Strong brought him alongside his older brother, Ser Harwin, and two sisters to the front of the court. Strong joined the confessors of King Viserys I Targaryen, and would eventually rise to serve as Master of Whisperers on the Small Council.
Ser Harwin and Lyonel Strong passed away in a fire at Harrenhal, in 120 AC. This led Strong to inherit his father’s seat and title as Lord of Harrenhal. The official cause of the fire was never found. Strong himself may have caused the fire. His new title gives him the motive to start the fire. Other suspects of the fire were Lord Corlys Velaryon, Prince Daemon Targaryen, King Viserys I himself, and the curse of Black Harren. Strong gradually became the Lord Confessor and master of whisperers on Viserys’s small council.
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Dance of the Dragons
Strong was a member of the green faction at court when King Viserys I passed away in 129 AC. Strong attended the meeting of the small council which agreed to support Aegon II Targaryen. Their support for Aegon II Targaryen was matched against his older half-sister, Rhaenyra Targaryen. Strong cut his palm and had the fellow male conspirators in attendance swear a blood oath.
Prince Daemon Targaryen took away Strong’s castle in the assault on Harrenhal when the Dance of the Dragons broke out. Queen Alicent Hightower, the mother of Aegon, allegedly ordered Strong to torture Blood after the killing of Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen. Larys Clubfoot then cooked up lists of blacks whom Ser Criston Cole could march against.
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In 130 AC, Strong escaped capture during the fall of King’s Landing to Rhaenyra. Strong hid away Aegon, who was still recovering from the battle at Rook’s Rest, from the Red Keep. He also hid away the king’s two remaining children, Prince Maelor and Princess Jaehaera. He kept them away through a secret passage that led them out of the capital while bypassing the city’s gates.
Strong then insisted the group part ways and ordered Ser Rickard Thorne of Aegon’s Kingsguard to bring Maelor to Lord Lyonel Hightower at Oldtown. He also ordered Ser Willis Fell of the Kingsguard to escort Jaehaera to Lord Borros Baratheon at Storm’s End. Strong camouflaged King Aegon as a commoner and sent him to Dragonstone under the care of Ser Marston Waters.
He believed that her own stronghold would be the last place Rhaenyra would think to search for her half-brother. Prince Aemond Targaryen believed Strong had somehow aided Rhaenyra in the capital’s fall during the campaign in the riverlands. Aegon’s brother had all members of the House Strong at Harrenhal killed. Strong remained in King’s Landing, tactically working in secret to undermine Rhaenyra’s influence on the capital.
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Queen Helaena Targaryen’s suicide
When Queen Helaena Targaryen committed suicide, it was rumoured that Rhaneyra had her killed away. Mushroom accused Strong in his writings of being the source of this libel. The massive riot of King’s Landing led to Rhaenyra leaving the capital. Strong appeared and walked into the Red Keep when Ser Perkin the Flea and his followers gained control of the Red Keep and crowned Trystane Truefyre during the Moon of the Three Kings.
Strong was greeted by Perkin and given a place of honour at the side of Trystane in the Reek Keep. He feigned support to the pretender Trystane and secured the release of Alicent, Lord Corlys Velaryon and Grand Maester Orwyle. Strong offered to treat with the Lord of Storm’s End on Trystane’s behalf when the host of Lord Borros Baratheon arrived outside King’s Landing. He instead conspired with Perkin and the greens to betray Trystane.
He also conspired to give the city to supporters of Aegon II. In exchange for their help in restoring the capital to King Aegon, they promised Perkin and all his followers a full pardon. The pardon, however, was not extended to Trystane, who was later executed. King Aegon had killed Rhaenyra after the fall of Dragonstone.
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Betrothal to Floris Baratheon
Strong agreed to a betrothal with one of Borros’ daughters, Floris Baratheon. Alicent proposed that Corlys should be killed for having supported Rhaenrya. This was when Strong pointed out that her son, Aegon, was on Dragonstone surrounded by a Velaryon fleet. The Clubfoot recommended to Alicent that they pardon Corlys and wait until the war’s end before quietly disposing of him.
There was a meeting of the council after Aegon’s return. During this meeting, Ser Tyland Lannister suggested the execution of Prince Aegon the Younger. Aegon the Younger was Rhaenyra’s surviving son. The greens had held him captive. This suggestion of Ser Tyland Lannister outraged Corlys Velaryon. Lord Strong persuaded Aegon II not to penalise Corlys, as that would make Alyn Velaryon an enemy.
Strong discreetly alerted Corlys of the plot to eventually murder him after the meeting. Larys Clubfoot persuaded the Sea Snake to be part of a scheme of his own devising. King Aegon rejected Lord Velaryon’s suggestion to surrender after the defeat of Lord Borros and his army at the Battle of the Kingsroad. To avoid being a hostage against Corlys, Strong spirited away Princess Baela Targaryen.
Aegon II was later poisoned to death. Corlys and Strong had the few remaining loyalists either killed or imprisoned. They both persuaded the remaining greens to surrender as the Lads descended on the capital. Aegon the Younger succeeded Aegon II as king. He later wed Princess Jaehaera. When the riverlords reached King’s Landing, smallfolk joyously greeted them. Larys Clubfoot may have advised them to do so.
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Hour of the Wolf
Fortunes turned against Lord Strong and his conspirators with the arrival of Lord Cregan Stark’s northern army. They served as Hand of the King to the new King Aegon III Targaryen during the Hour of the Wolf. Cregan objected to the murder of Aegon II, despite having been a supporter of Rhaenys. Grand Maester Orwyle confessed to giving Strong the poison used to kill Aegon. Ser Perkin confessed to being the Clubfoot’s agent.
They arrested Strong during the Hour of the Wolf and found him guilty of treason. Although Lord Corlys admitted to having conspired against Aegon for the good of the Seven Kingdoms, Strong refused to confirm or deny Cregan’s accusations. Alysanne Blackwood convinced Lord Stark to spare Lord Velaryon, although he condemned both of the great lords. Lord Strong and Ser Gyles of the Kingsguard chose death over the Wall, although most of those found guilty followed Perkin in taking the black. Cregan beheaded the pair with his Valyrian steel greatsword, Ice.
Cregan granted Strong’s last request, to remove his clubfoot from his corpse so he would at least be free of it in death. The gates of the Red Keep mounted the heads of Strong and Gyles on pikes. The silent sisters received the corpse of Lord Strong. Years later, they moved his corpse to Harrenhal as his final resting place. Cregan ordered the burial of the clubfoot in a field, but the limb disappeared before that could occur. Strong’s death brought an end to House Strong, as he was the last of his line. Harrenhal’s bastard sister, Alys, held his body for a few years, before giving it to House Lothston.
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