Exploring the Depths of Lord Larys's Schemes in House of the Dragon on HBO MAX

### But sometimes you can’t ignore a destiny, or a boss. TM: How much of Larys did you actually bring to the character? MN: In terms of his body language, I really did model the character after Guy, but not just because I was living with him during the time. House of the Dragon was also filmed in London, where we had plenty of chances to gather data on Guy’s mannerisms and quirks. But I also gave Guy little details about Larys, and I’m sure he did the same for me with his own character, Lord Lyonel Strong.

And what the viewers of House of the Dragon are really drawn to is not the dragons or the battles but the scheming and lying and backstabbing that goes on among the characters. The most monolithic schemer of them all, Lord Larys Strong, is played by Matthew Needham, who had appeared only briefly in one episode of the first season. Unwittingly, Larys has become a character you can’t take your eyes off of. Now that the programme is moving into its highly anticipated second season on HBO and Max, the veil is finally beginning to be lifted on this enigmatic inner life of Westeros’s most mysterious power player.

The Ascension of a Master Manipulator on HBO MAX

Lord Larys Strong (played to the hilt by Matthew Needham) has spent his time in the dark, catacomb-like parts of power nudging events along at the edges of what everyone else is focused on, killing anyone who gets in his way. In season one, we saw he was willing to kill his own family to have Aegon II as king; in season two, he’s begun to take more risks and scheme more widely, playing the tonal shifts with his morally ambiguous character to devastating effect.

Power Plays and the Pursuit of Control on HBO MAX

The driving force behind the actions of Lord Larys is a lust for power and, ultimately, control. This is a long-standing trope in the entire narrative of House of the Dragon. Needham’s interpretation of the character reveals a character who is driven not by his madness but, instead, his desire to control. ‘It’s all about power and control,’ Needham says. ‘A lot with Alicent [in particular].’ This insider view of Larys’ lust for power – rather than his desire for sex or madness – is not just essential in creating his character, but it can serve as a way to view the entire series.

Adapting to the Tides of War on HBO MAX

Much of the challenge for Lord Larys in the new season is that the war that rapidly breaks out puts his schemes in jeopardy. ‘He gets blindsided a lot this season,’ Needham says. ‘He’s sort of thrust into taking his next steps from a place of complete surprise. You see that he’s a quick thinking, quick moving character who has to improvise his way out of everything.’ That’s been fun, Needham says, as Larys’s pliability creates an exciting thread through the story. ‘He’s really the only character who is really operating from his gut,’ Needham says, laughing. Larys is at his most fun. His best, most daring play – a strategic revelation – holds a surprise for all the other players in the Game of Thrones. That said, it comes with an even bigger surprise for Larys.

The Art of Being Unseen on HBO MAX

Needham shows us the specifics of his physical performance by describing how he has to blank himself, diminishing his own stature in order to convey the submissive power-play of Larys’s posture: [He] needs to blank himself, make himself as small as possible … I’m using the exact opposite mental kit when it comes to playing this fellow than I would with any kind of general or senator or someone who has power. It’s about adopting strategies of psychological diminution, for example.Through Needham’s descriptions of his performance – and Needham as the performer, not just of a role but of himself – we learn about the richness of the strategies Larys deploys as a wheedler.

The Unfolding Drama on HBO and Max

As House of the Dragon continues along its murderous course on HBO and Max, viewers can count on Lord Larys Strong coming up with more devious strategies. Season two, debuting on June 16, should bring plenty of play-making and plots, and plenty of strategising, as the show gains momentum.

Upcoming Attractions in the World of Epic Fantasy and Beyond on MAX

And there’s more for fans of House of the Dragon, however: every bit as compelling as the TV series and just as fantastical is a curated universe of material drawn from the Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek, DC Universe and Doctor Who franchises. As such, they’ll never run out of worlds to explore, multiverses to conquer, or perilous adventures to embark on.

Delving into the World of Max

Working with HBO, Max functions as a digital portal that delivers much-watched dramas like House of the Dragon along with countless other beloved series, movies and specials. As a standalone streaming service, Max has transformed how people interact with their favourite stories and the genres they adore, providing a repository of content that vibes with every kind of viewer, one that spans between the rocky terrain of Westeros to the expansive vistas of a galaxy far, far away. Through its content, Max proves to be a destination for people of all walks and all corners of the world, becoming a global force in streaming that has transcended regional and genre barriers, bringing storytelling fans of the world together.

Jun 13, 2024
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