Simon Russell Beale as Falstaff in The Hollow Crown

Here’s All You Need to Know About Simon Russell Beale’s ‘House of the Dragon’ Character

And we’re probably going to meet him soon—it’s Harrenhal time.

Next week’s episode of House of the Dragon, the third of this ongoing second season, is likely going to bring us to the single most cursed place in the entire Seven Kingdoms—and that’s saying something. But honestly, how else would you describe the monstrosity that is Harrenhal?

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A monument to the hubris of men and the power of dragons, so cursed that it swallows all who set foot in it be they royalty or smallfolk? But besides being one of my favorite literary devices in the entire A Song of Ice and Fire canon, Harrenhal is also a very strategic castle to hold in any war that sweeps Westeros since the Riverlands are pretty much the heart of the continent, connecting the North to the South and the East to the West—which is why they always end up a smoking pile of ash whenever armies are marching to battle.

Minor spoilers ahead for the second episode of the second season of House of the Dragon, “Rhaenyra the Cruel,” as well as for the events described in Fire and Blood. Be warned.

So it makes sense that Daemon is flying there to take Harrenhal for the Blacks and likely to gain back some of Rhaenyra’s favor, since she hung him out to dry this episode, as he very well deserved. And Daemon at Harrenhal means that we’re bound to meet the family that is currently holding the castle—a family that we have already met, since it’s none other than House Strong.

So who is Simon Russell Beale’s character?

Ser Simon Strong, whom we will see in House of the Dragon played by British acting legend Simon Russell Beale, is the castellan of Harrenhal and a relative of all the Strongs we have seen so far in House of the Dragon. He’s Lyonel’s uncle, which means that he was the great-uncle of both his sons, Harwin and Larys. That also makes him the great-great-uncle of the three “Strong boys,” a.k.a. Rhaenyra’s sons Jacaerys, Lucerys (sigh), and Joffrey Velaryon.

Ser Simon is also the great-uncle of Alys Rivers, who is believed to be a bastard daughter of Lord Lyonel—and while we have not technically seen her yet, she also has a pretty major part to play and might step onto the scene as soon as dragons land in Harrenhal.

Gayle Rankin in the horror film 'Bad Things'
The way I can’t WAIT for her to make her appearance!!! Alys Rivers I love you!!! (Shudder)

What’s certain is that Ser Simon will find himself facing the might of Caraxes, the Blood Wyrm, and that he will very understandably not put up much of a fight against him—or so the histories say. Daemon will hold him as a hostage, which might be the better option for him compared to what the Greens have in store when it’s their turn to hold Harrenhal. But that’s all in due time, since we might not even see it in this season.

Who is the Lord of Harrenhal at the time of the Dance of the Dragons?

While Lord Larys Strong is the head of the family and the Lord of Harrenhal—after having dispatched both his father Lord Lyonel and his brother, Ser Harwin, back in season one—he’s also an active member of King Aegon’s court, so he can’t live in his castle and preside over its daily activities. That’s pretty normal in the Seven Kingdoms for lords who are also courtiers.

Harwin Strong kneels in a suit of armor in "House of the Dragon"
RIP Ser Harwin, you were gone too soon. (HBO)

So, like all of them have done and will do, Larys has a castellan to look over Harrenhal and his people in his place—that castellan being Ser Simon Strong.

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Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.