House of The Dragon is creating uproar in the streaming industry. According to HBO, the show is aggregating 29 million viewers per episode. The show’s popularity on social media and positive ratings are only icing on the cake. Coming back to the main topic, the show is pacing very fast and introduces many new characters in each episode that will play major roles in the future.
Harwin Strong is one such character. In lore, he is considered to be the lover of Rhaenyra Targaryen and allegedly the father of her children. But are these claims true or they are just mere rumors spread by Rhaenyra’s opponents to weaken her claim on the Iron Throne? Let’s dive deep into this and check for ourselves.
Who Is Harwin Strong?
Harwin Strong is a major character in Dance of The Dragons. He is the elder son of Lyonel Strong, Hand to King Viserys. Harwin is also heir to the seat of House Strong in Harrenhal. He is depicted as a massive and strong man in George R. R. Martin’s work. Harwin was also a knight and is considered to be one of the strongest men in the Seven Kingdoms.
Harwin also served as a captain in City Watch of King’s Landing and was sworn protector of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Lord Lyonel Strong, father of Harwin brought him to the court in 105 AC along with his brother Larys. Harwin was among many suitors to pay court to Princess Rhaenyra.
Why Does Everybody Think Harwin Is The Father Of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s Children?
House of The Dragon has made it clear that marriages are mostly political arrangements to maintain the balance of power. As depicted in episode 5, Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor have this understanding and were ready to keep pursuing their individual interests. But things took a sour turn when Criston Cole, lover of Princess Rhaenyra killed Joffrey Lonmouth, partner of Laenor Velaron, during their wedding ceremony. Joffery’s fate was almost the same in the books where Cristen Cole attacked him during the tourney and cracked his helm. Joffrey did not recover from this and died after six days.
After this everything changed and Harwin Strong became a constant presence at Rhaenyra’s side. The core belief behind Harwin being the father of Rhaenyra’s children started when Mushroom, a foul-mouthed court jester, claimed that he saw Harwin and Rhaenyra in compromising condition. According to Mushroom, Rhaenyra wanted to lose her maidenhood to Ser Criston Cole who rejected her, this broke the Princess and when she saw Ser Harwin coming back to Red Keep from night duty she found solace in his company. The HBO series has shown these accounts in a different manner but rest assured everything will come back to normal in coming episodes.
What Is The Truth?
Different accounts mention different things about the infidelity of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Septon Eustace, Grand Maester Runciter, and court jester Mushroom all have their own accounts about the series of events. According to the official accounts of Septon Eustace, Rhaenyra lost her maidenhood to her uncle, Prince Daemon, before turning sixteen.
The depiction of Mushroom is more controversial, as he claimed that Rhaenyra did not lose her maidenhood to Daemon but he was only teaching her the art to seduce. According to Mushroom, Rhaenyra was in love with Ser Criston Cole and wanted to seduce her and that is why she seek her uncle’s help. Although Eustace’s accounts differ on this, Mushroom claimed that Princess remained a virgin until she found solace in Harwin Strong’s company after getting rejected by Ser Cole.
On the other hand, Grand Maester Runciter claimed that King Viserys and Prince Daemon fought on several occasions and he doubted that Princess Rhaenyra was at the center of this. The most controversial claim that Harwin was the father of Rhaenyra’s children came when Prince Aemond, the second son of King Viserys from Alicent Hightower, called Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children ‘Strongs’. A brawl broke out after this and King has to remove ser Harwin from Princess’ service.
However, the official description of Rhaenyra’s children is a controversy in itself. According to official accounts, Both Rhaenyra and her husband Ser Laenor Velaryon had white hair but all three children of the couple have black hair and features of Rivermen(Harwin Strong’s Native Culture) instead of Valerian features. This argument is most strong in favor of the claim that Harwin Strong is the father of Rhaenyra Targaryen’s children.