House of the Dragon: Larys Strong Is the Tyrion Lannister of His Day

Tyrion Is the Historical Richard III

All of this history, both of Richard and his play, was used by Martin in the creation of Tyrion Lannister. As the youngest son of Lord Tywin Lannister and a dwarf, Tyrion is a character who we’re introduced to in the first episode of Game of Thrones by him announcing, “All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.” They were looked upon even worse by the Weserosi public.

After Tyrion becomes Hand of the King during the brief reign of Joffrey Baratheon, smallfolk put on plays in which he’s called “the demon monkey;” and after that king, and Tyrion’s nephew, is murdered, Tyrion becomes the instant scapegoat. He shouldn’t have been surprised. As we later learn, even when he was still in the crib, stories were told about “the monster that had been born to Tywin Lannister,” complete with tail, claws, and one red eye.

Unlike Richard, Tyrion was never king, but like Richard—or at least according to his advocates—he was wrongfully accused of murdering sweet young nephews by scurrilous propaganda. And the most lasting of these lies came down from no less than Shakespeare, who moved historical facts around to fit his narrative. In the play, for instance, Richard murders his brother George, the Duke of Clarence. In reality, George was put to death by the king before Richard. But why let that get in the way of a villain so blackhearted that he’ll smirk to the audience about his misdeeds via sarcastic asides?

So yes, Tyrion is based on the real person who inspired Shakespeare’s legend. But in last night’s episode of House of the Dragon, Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) became Shakespeare’s legend in Westerosi garb.

Larys Strong Is Shakespeare’s Richard III

Sniffing a flower as he luxuriates on a couch in the chambers of Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke), Larys is the very portrait of malice and self-satisfaction when he reveals his triumphs: It was he who set a fire in Harrenhal, consigning his father, the Hand of the King, and his brother Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) to the flames. And he did it specifically so his queen would have her wish. Now her father Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) can return to court and presumably become the Hand of the King once more.

It is a sinister revelation of kinslaying by Larys, particularly because he was never directly asked by Alicent to do the deed—he just acted on it and now presumes “you will reward me when the time is right.”

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