Is Ser Harwin Strong the Father of Rhaenyra's Sons?

Image credit: HBO Max

Uh-oh, bastard alert.

In House of the Dragon episode 6, a ten-year time jump does not decrease the drama in Westeros. Rhaenyra, who is an official heir to King Viserys, is married to Laenor Velaryon and has three beautiful kids. However, the royal couple has to muscle through the allegations that the kids are in fact bastards fathered by a wrong man.

With Laenor famously preferring men, he and Rhaenyra struck an agreement ten years earlier to not interfere in each other's love life too much. This allowed them both to love whoever they wanted; but the repercussions in the form of Queen Alicent suspecting "indecency" may be potentially disastrous for Rhaenyra and her family.

So, who is the actual father of her kids? It would seem that everything in the show points to the fact that it is Ser Harwin Strong — Rhaenyra's guard who seems to be particularly happy for her giving birth successfully and feels overprotective about the rest of the kids.

Although the episode never had Rhaenyra and Harwin directly making things clear, the way Ser Harwin holds the newborn and defends Jacaerys when Ser Criston Cole undermines him during the sword practice seems to be pretty telling. Besides, all three kids boast a striking resemblance to him: they are dark-haired and white, with no signs of the signature Targaryen silver hair or Velaryon dark skin.

Ser Harwin Strong fails to conceal the truth after he goes ballistic seeing that Cole clearly favors Alicent's children over Rhaenyra's. When he beats up Cole following a stingy remark from the latter, House Strong is left essentially compromised, which makes his father Lyonel attempt resignation and retreat to Harrenhal. However, no happy ending for Rhaenyra and Harwin is in sight: after Harwin and Lyonel return to Harrenhal, a sudden fire set by Larys Strong leaves them both dead.

Before Ser Harwin Strong departs to Harrenhal, we see that even Jacaerys is tormented by the situation as he asks his mother whether he is a bastard. Rhaenyra, however, is quick to assure him that all that matters is that he is a Targaryen — and therefore, one of her rightful heirs.

House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes arriving every Sunday.

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