While Game of Thrones often focused on the stories of "major characters" like Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, those stories wouldn't have been possible without the characters that operated in the shadows. The likes of Littlefinger and Varys kept the world of Westeros turning with their secret plots and networks of whispers. House of the Dragon has a figure like that as well, and he started pulling strings behind the scenes before anyone was paying attention. His name is Larys Strong, and it's time to start keeping an eye on everything he does.
Larys Strong, sometimes referred to as Clubfoot, is played by Matthew Needham on House of the Dragon. He appeared on the show for the first time in the third episode, talking with the women while the men prepared for a hunt. HIs father is Lyonel Strong, the newly appointed Hand of the King, and his brother, Harwin, is the strongest knight in Westeros. Surrounded by important people doing important things, Larys has often flown under the radar, and he showed this week how exactly he's able to use that to his advantage.
The first big scene for Larys on House of the Dragon came in episode five, when he and Queen Alicent had a private conversation by the weirwood. This scene is the first time viewers get the chance to see what Larys is all about, and he doesn't disappoint. Larys informs Alicent of the tea that was brought to Rhaenyra on the night she was with Daemon. This shows Alicent that Rhaenyra was likely lying, which sets in motion the events of the rest of the episode, culminating Alicent's green dress statement. Alicent's eventual decision to distance herself from Rhaenyra (and the future war between them) wouldn't happen without Larys' involvement. He's partly responsible for everything that happens from here on out.
The thing is, Larys knew that when he approached Alicent. His words are chosen very carefully and spoken exactly right. His goal was to cause further divide between the Queen and Princess. There are plenty of fans who believe that Viserys didn't send the tea to Rhaenyra at all, that it was Larys' doing all along. Either way, he manipulated the situation and got what he desired.
Who Is Larys Strong?
In House of the Dragon, we've only seen a little bit of Larys to this point. The series has only told us about his relationships with his father and brother, that he walks with a limp, and that he's a master manipulator. In Fire & Blood, the book House of the Dragon is based on, Larys has an enormous role to play in this period of Westeros history.
In the book, Larys has a hand in just about everything that happens with the Targaryen rule throughout the war known as the Dance of Dragons. We won't get into the specifics here, since it may end up spoiling things on the show, but he's pulls enough strings behind the scenes to make even Littlefinger jealous. His actions result in certain rulers being crowned, other rulers being killed, and the future of the realm being molded as he saw fit.
There's no telling yet how much of Fire & Blood will be covered in House of the Dragon, but Larys will likely be a major part of the story from now until the end of the series. Start paying attention to the things he says and does going forward. Honestly, it wouldn't hurt to go back and watch the scenes he's been in to this point. He's as important as they come.