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House Strong
House Strong

"Your advice has been sage, unmarked by self-interest, which stands in contrast to all others."
―Viserys to Lyonel[src]

Lord Lyonel Strong was the Lord of Harrenhal and Hand of the King to Viserys I Targaryen. He is the father of Ser Harwin Strong and Larys Strong.[6]

Biography[]

House of the Dragon: Season 1[]

In 112 AC,[c] Lyonel, the Master of Laws, attends a meeting of the Small Council in the Red Keep. When the Heir's Tournament is brought up Lord Lyman Beesbury suggests that the tourney should be delayed for the cost of it and to wait until the king's child is born. Lyonel responds that most of the nobility of Westeros is already on their way to King's Landing. King Viserys then states that the tourney will last more than half a week and before it is over his child will be born, so there is no need for a delay. He is also in attendance in a a Small Council meeting that discusses King Viserys's younger brother Prince Daemon's actions with the City Watch and the criminals of the capital. Daemon defends himself by stating that he followed the king's laws and asks for Lyonel's opinion. He tries to reply but is interrupted by Ser Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King.[2]

Lyonel attends the Heir's Tournament seated in the royal box. He is later notified by Otto of the news of the birth of Prince Baelon and the death of Queen Aemma. Lyonel attends the funeral of Aemma and Baelon. At a Small Council meeting debating the succession, Lyonel states to Otto that the succession is already set by precedent and law. Grand Maester Mellos then proposes that it may be wise for Viserys to name a successor. Lyonel asks who else has a claim, with Otto suggesting the king's firstborn child Rhaenyra, which Lyonel objects to as no woman has sat the Iron Throne in one hundred years. Mellos responds that it is only by tradition and precedent. Lord Corlys Velaryon then offers that there are others who have a claim, and Lyonel interjects laughing as he calls out the claimant as Princess Rhaenys, the "Queen Who Never Was." The discussion becomes a shouting match before being interrupted by a furious King Viserys berating his Small Council for behaving like crows squabbling over corpses while he is still mourning his wife and son.[2]

Lyonel attends the Small Council meeting in which Daemon is reported to have held a celebratory party at a pleasure house on the Street of Silk and is claimed to have dubbed Baelon the "Heir for a Day." Lyonel is in attendance at the ceremony naming Rhaenyra as Princess of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne.[2]

Following the death of Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Ryam Redwyne, Lyonel attends a Small Council meeting to discuss finding a replacement. The meeting is interrupted by Corlys Velaryon, who demands action be taken against the Triarchy, to take back the Stepstones. Viserys says that envoys have been sent to Pentos and Volantis in hopes of finding common cause, but otherwise refuses to take action. The Small Council is informed by a Dragonkeeper Elder that Prince Daemon has stolen a dragon egg. Otto Hightower calls Daemon's actions sedition, to which Lyonel agrees. Ultimately, Otto agrees to go to Dragonstone to confront Daemon.[7]

That night, Lyonel is summoned to the Small Council chamber by Viserys for a private meeting, as Viserys wants his unencumbered opinion on whether or not he should marry Laena Velaryon. Lyonel advocates for marrying her on the basis of her heritage and that it would fix Corlys Velaryon as an ally. When Viserys cites Laena's young age as an issue, Lyonel dismisses it, saying that she will mature. The meeting is interrupted by Ser Steffon Darklyn, announcing that Rhaenyra has returned from Dragonstone. Later, Lyonel attends the Small Council meeting where King Viserys announces, to the shock of everyone present, that he intends to marry Lady Alicent Hightower.[7]

Three years later in 115 AC,[d] Lyonel, along with his sons Ser Harwin and Larys, joins a royal hunt arranged by Viserys to celebrate the second nameday of his and Alicent's son, Prince Aegon. After arriving at the Kingswood, Lyonel and his sons, along with the rest of the gathered nobility, applaud the royal family as they step out of their carriage. As Lyonel converses with Viserys, they are interrupted by a furious Rhaenyra, accusing Viserys of trying to marry her off to the great houses like a prize. They get into a heated argument that catches the attention of everyone gathered in the tent. The argument is interrupted by Otto Hightower, announcing that a white hart has been spotted – a regal portent for Prince Aegon's nameday, he claims.[5]

The hunting party is informed by the Royal Huntsman, Ser Howland Sharp, that the white hart's fresh droppings were found half a league to the east, and that they now have its trail. That night, Lyonel informs Viserys that riders have been sent out in search of Rhaenyra, who had stormed out of the camp after their argument, and that Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard also went after her. Viserys, now quite drunk, vents his frustration at not being able to control his own daughter, to which Lyonel reminds him that even King Jaehaerys had trouble controlling his children, especially his daughters. Lyonel offers his advice on the matter of finding a match for Rhaenyra. Though Viserys asks if he's going to propose his own son, Ser Harwin "Breakbones" known as the strongest knight in the realm, as her match, Lyonel instead suggests she marry Laenor Velaryon, the son of Lord Corlys, as he has Valyrian blood, and their union could help sate Corlys and mend the widened rift between their houses. Viserys gives Lyonel a grateful pat on the shoulder as he leaves.[5]

The next day, a stag is captured, though not a white one. Lyonel and the rest of the party watch as Viserys struggles to put down the captured animal. When he finally does so, all applaud him. Later, Lyonel and the rest of the party watch in some surprise as Rhaenyra returns to the camp with a boar she and Ser Criston killed.[5]

In 116 AC,[e] Lyonel attends a Small Council session, he remains silent and listens to the council discussing the Stepstones and the spurned Lord Corlys Velaryon entering into negotiations with the Sealord of Braavos.[8]

After the dismissal of Otto Hightower, Lyonel is appointed Hand of the King, his former position of Master of Laws is filled by Lord Jasper Wylde. Lyonel accompanies Viserys and Rhaenyra to Driftmark, the seat of House Velaryon, to discuss a marriage pact between Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon. Upon arriving at High Tide, they are greeted by Laena Velaryon, and Lyonel voices his indignation that Lord Corlys isn't there to personally greet the king. They proceed to the Hall of Nine, where they discuss the terms of the marriage pact with Corlys and Rhaenys. Corlys congratulates Lyonel on becoming the Hand of the King.[4]

Upon returning to King's Landing, Viserys collapses, and is rushed to his chambers, where he is treated by the Maesters. Maester Orwyle provides Lyonel with a new medicine to help the king sleep. Left alone with the king, Lyonel administers the medicine to him. Viserys laments that he wishes he had been tested during his reign, confiding in Lyonel that he is afraid he will not be remembered, since he never embarked on any great conquest nor suffered any major defeats. Lyonel points out that many would consider that to be a good legacy, to which Viserys remarks that a peaceful and uneventful reign rarely made for great songs sung at feasts. Lyonel suggests that living in peace is more important than having songs sung after one's death and says that many who yearn to be tested, when faced with a crisis, wish it never came to them. Viserys expresses appreciation for Lyonel's honesty.[4]

Lyonel attends the Wedding of Laenor Velaryon to Princess Rhaenyra, he is seated on the high table next to Queen Alicent. After Daemon arrives, King Viserys orders another chair brought up to the high table for Daemon, which is put next to Lyonel's. He is seated when Viserys gives his speech.During the brawl of Ser Criston Cole and Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, Lyonel remains calm and by King Viserys' side, he nods to his son Harwin, gesturing him to rescue Princess Rhaenyra from the panicked crowd.[4]

In 126 AC,[b] Lyonel remains Hand, although he has aged and lost much of his hair. His son Ser Harwin is Lord Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, while his other son Larys became Lord Confessor, marking the zenith of House Strong's influence in King's Landing.[1]

Lyonel observes, from a higher level along with King Viserys, in the Red Keep's training yard, Criston Cole and his son Harwin instructing Aegon, Aemond and his secret grandsons. As Ser Harwin and Criston Cole begin fighting, Lord Lyonel is concerned and shouts Harwin's name, hoping to stop the fight, this turns out to be unsuccessful and Harwin embarrasses himself in front of the court. After the incident in the yard, Lyonel confronts his son. Harwin tries to defend himself that Criston was having Aegon beat up the heir to the Iron Throne, but Lyonel furious, shouts at him that he has drawn suspicion on himself and their family. He tells his son that anyone in the castle who has eyes including himself have their suspicions, stopping short of saying aloud that the suspicion is that he is the real father of Rhaenyra's three sons. Everyone knows, Lyonel says, including King Viserys himself: but because Viserys himself is willfully blind to it, no one dares say it in public.[1]

Lord Lyonel as Hand, later attends a meeting of the Small Council, where the a border dispute between House Blackwood and House Bracken is brought up. Afterwards, Lyonel meets with the royal couple in the king's private chambers, offering his resignation as Hand. He states that recent rumors have compromised his ability to give the king impartial aide and counsel. Viserys is hesitant to lose his trusted advisor, and asks him to say aloud what these rumors are, but, Lyonel refuses. Viserys says that if he can't bring himself to speak these rumors aloud he can't resign due to them. Lyonel agrees, but asks that he take Harwin back to Harrenhal. Stating that because as his heir, Harwin needs to be prepared to rule the family's seat.[1]

Later Queen Alicent informs Lyonel's son Larys about Lyonel refusal to confront the king about Harwin's alleged affair, and his continutation as Hand of the King.[1]

After Lyonel escorts Harwin back to Harrenhal, Lyonel is awakened at night by a fire set by Larys's agents. Lyonel rushes to his chamber door, but it has been sealed shut, he calls out to Harwin, who is trying to rescue his trapped father. The ceiling collapses on them, and they both ultimately burn to death.[1]

With the death of Lyonel and his heir, Larys Strong becomes the new Lord of Harrenhal, While Otto Hightower claims Lyonel's position as Hand of the King, while Alicent is repulsed by Larys's apparent pride at his father's murder. During Laena Velaryon's funeral, Jacaerys, who has already an inkling of his real father's identity, tells his mother that they should be at Harrenhal to mourn his true grandfather Lyonel and Harwin. Rhaenyra answers it would not be appropriate, pointing out that the Velaryons are their kin and the Strongs are not.[9]

House of the Dragon: Season 2[]

In a conversation with Prince Daemon Targaryen, Lyonel's uncle, Ser Simon Strong, makes it clear he believes Lyonel's death, along with Harwin's, was the work of Larys, citing the suspicious nature of the fire that claimed both their lives.[10]

Personality[]

Lyonel was an ethical and loyal man. He was fiercely loyal to King Viserys, serving him faithfully for decades as both the Master of Laws and as Hand of the King. His council was unmarked by self-interest as stated by Viserys and he was a good man, earning the trust of the king with him seeking for his advice (even though Otto Hightower was the Hand by that time). He was also capable of acting without needing the approval of Viserys.

Unlike most members of the Small Council, Lyonel was completely honest and transparent, having no personal ambitions or interests and always wanting the best for the realm.

Quotes[]

Spoken by Lyonel[]

"If order and stability so concerns this council, then perhaps we shouldn't break 100 years of it by naming a girl heir."
―Lyonel about Rhaenyra[src]
"You sit upon the higher seat in the realm, Your Grace. Proud men don't like having to look up."
―Lyonel to Viserys I Targaryen[src]
Viserys: "I never asked to remarry."
Lyonel: "As king you have a claim on all things, even those you don't want. Marriage is not an obligation you can put off for long."
— Viserys and Lyonel about Viserys's marriage proposal[src]
Viserys: "What if I was to reject Lord Corlys's proposal?"
Lyonel: "He would not be like to take it well. I fear nothing short of a direct line to the Iron Throne would satisfy him. You should also consider that we find ourselves on the precipice of war in the Stepstones, and the Sea Snake holds claim to nearly half the realm's ships."
Viserys: "He would not dare to withhold them in the face of the realm's need. Who is he to hector me?"
Lyonel: "No one, Your Grace. But, Driftmark makes for a better ally than it does an enemy. The Sea Snake has made a calculated reach, a fair play for a man of his position."
— Viserys and Lyonel talking about Corlys Velaryon[src]
Viserys: "A truly great Targaryen king I am. Powerless over mine own daughter of seven-and-ten."
Lyonel: "King Jaehaerys ruled over half of a century of peace while his children drove him to the edge of madness... his daughters, in particular. It is tradition, Your Grace."
— Viserys and Lyonel about Rhaenyra[src]
"It would seem to me that the best match for Rhaenyra is the son of the Sea Snake, Ser Laenor. Some years ago, I counseled you to take his sister to wife. My reasoning remains the same. Laenor is of pure Valyrian descent. He shares blood with your cousin, the Princess Rhaenys. And he is the heir of the wealthiest house of the realm. The breach between your houses has not narrowed since I last spoke of it. It would do much to assuage Lord Corlys of any slight real... or imagined. We must pray, of course, that Laenor survives the fighting in the Stepstones."
―Lyonel to Viserys[src]
Lyonel: "You've carried King Jaehaerys's legacy, and kept the realm strong, is it not better to live in peace than to have songs sung after you are dead?"
Viserys: "Perhaps. There is a part of me that wishes that I'd been tested, I often think that in the crucible I may have been forged a different man."
Lyonel: "Many that are tested only wish to have been spared."
— Lyonel and Viserys talking about legacy[src]
Lyonel: "You have laid us open to accusations of an uglier treachery."
Harwin: "And what treachery is that?"
Lyonel: "Don't play the fool with me, boy. Your intimacy with Princess Rhaenyra is an offense that could mean exile and death for you, for her, for the children!"
Harwin: "It is rumor only, spun by the princess's rivals."
Lyonel: "People have eyes, boy. Yet, His Grace the king it seems will not accept what his eyes see."
— Lyonel and Harwin[src]
Lyonel: "This flimsy shield alone stands between you and the headsmen. The willful blindness of the father towards his child."
Harwin: "I wish my father affected a similar blindness."
Lyonel: "Have I not? These many years! And yet today you publicly assaulted a knight of the kingsguard in defense your..!"
Harwin: "You have your honor and I have mine."
— Lyonel and Harwin[src]

Spoken about Lyonel[]

Viserys: "Another lord might assure me that I would rise like Aegon the Conqueror given the chance."
Lyonel: "Your Grace, that is..."
Viserys: "You're right. You're right... as always."
— Viserys and Lyonel[src]

Family[]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Strong-Square
Lord
Strong
Deceased
 
House-Strong-Square
Lady
Strong

 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-Simon Strong
Simon
Strong


 
House-Strong-Square
Wife


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-Lyonel Strong
Lyonel
Strong

Deceased
 
House-Strong-Square
Wives


 
 
 
 
 
House-Strong-Square
Son(s)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-HarwinStrong
Harwin
Strong
City Watch of King's Landing/House of the Dragon
Deceased
 
Famtree-RhaenyraTargaryen
Rhaenyra
Targaryen
House Targaryen/House of the Dragon

 
Famtree-Larys Strong
Larys
Strong


 
Famtree-Germund Strong
Germund
Strong


 
Famtree-Paxter Strong
Paxter
Strong


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Famtree-Jacaerys Velaryon
Jacaerys
Velaryon
House Velaryon

 
Famtree-Lucerys Velaryon
Lucerys
Velaryon
House Velaryon
Deceased
 
Famtree-JoffreyVelaryon
Joffrey
Velaryon
House Velaryon

Behind the scenes[]

On September 24, 2021, HBO announced that Gavin Spokes had been cast in the role of Lyonel Strong for House of the Dragon. His character description reads as follows:

"Master of Laws to King Viserys and Lord of Harrenhal."[11]

In the books[]

Lyonel Strong was a large, balding man with a reputation as a battler. Though he was slow of speech and quiet and frequently mistaken for a brute, he was actually extremely intelligent and well-learned due his six years of study at the Citadel, from which he grew very knowledgeable of law. He was married three times and sired two daughters in addition to his sons Harwin and Larys, though Grand Maester Munkun and Septon Eustace claim that he also fathered a bastard daughter, Alys Rivers. Lyonel's third wife was already dead by the time he enters the narrative, and none of his wives were identified by name - nor was it specified if his two sons and two daughters were all born to the same wife out of the three.

In 109 AC, Viserys appointed Lyonel as the Hand of the King, replacing Otto Hightower.

In an early draft of the Targaryen family tree, prior to his first canonical mention in The Rogue Prince (2014), Lyonel Strong was the husband of Rhaenyra Targaryen, with whom he had three trueborn sons who all died in the Dance of the Dragons.

Appearances[]

References[]

Notes[]

  1. Lyonel Strong is stated to be in his 50s in the script for "The Heirs of the Dragon;" therefore, he was born between 53 and 62 AC.
  2. 2.0 2.1 In "The Princess and the Queen," Laenor Velaryon states that it has been ten years since his wedding to Rhaenyra Targaryen, which occurred in 116 AC; therefore, "The Princess and the Queen" takes place in 126 AC.
  3. House of the Dragon starts in the year 112 AC according to the reference book Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty.
  4. "Second of His Name" takes place on Aegon II Targaryen's second nameday, which is in 115 AC as the War for the Stepstones, which began in 112 AC, is said to have lasted for three years.
  5. "King of the Narrow Sea" takes place a year after "Second of His Name," which takes place in 115 AC, as Aegon II Targaryen is said to be three years old and Daemon Targaryen states that he has been gone from King's Landing for four years.

External links[]

Preceded by
Unknown
Lord of Harrenhal
? - 126 AC
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master of Laws
? - 116 AC
Succeeded by
Preceded by Hand of the King
116 - 126 AC
Succeeded by


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