House of the Dragon star Ryan Corr has seen your thirst tweets. They’ve become the subject of a few of his friends’ group chats. He’ll be on set, filming his next series now that his turn as Ser Harwin Strong (aka Westeros’ most-marriageable side piece) is over, and screenshots of NSFW comments and old photos of Australian teen soaps he once starred in will pop up on his phone.
“My friends are getting their mileage out of all this,” Corr tells UPROXX.
“All of this” is the huge swell of support from the horniest subsection of the HOTD fandom, the ones retweeting gifs of Corr’s character hoisting Milly Alcock over his shoulder during a wedding feast gone wrong with sweating emojis attached, or heralding Ser Strong as the “himbo baby daddy” the world needs right now. It’s likely a bit overwhelming, especially for an actor who had just a handful of minutes on screen over the course of the show’s first six episodes, but Corr is taking it in stride. In fact, he’s pretty damn pleased that viewers are torn up over his character’s death because he committed a lot of introspective thought and meticulous effort into making the most of the moments he was given on the show.
Below, UPROXX chats with Corr about that satisfying Criston Cole beatdown, his character’s ties to the Red Viper, and whether Harwin will be a Daemyra shipper in the afterlife.
Are you aware that people are rioting on Twitter over Harwin’s death?
[laughs] I’m glad that they’re upset. That’s the job done. We want to make you fall in love with this man and then take him away. So if that’s the way that it’s landing, that’s great. Look, a few of those tweets have trickled down. It’s always amazing to me. You never know what’s going to land and what’s not. And it turns out that barging your way through a crowd of people and lobbing the princess over your shoulder is something that appeals to people. Which I will say, with the small amounts that we see of Rhaenyra and Harwin — and particularly their love story evolves, Milly [Alcock] and I, and Emma [D’Arcy] really went in there having talked with Miguel [Sapochnik] and Ryan [Condal] about doing enough in those scenes and having enough nuance and detail in them so the audience can try and fill those gaps themselves. It can be kind of ambiguous as to what specifically happened, so the idea of putting links in there but allowing space for people to project their own meanings and their own relationships was sort of the aim.
Were there any scenes left on the cutting room floor or was the relationship between Harwin and Rhaenyra always meant to happen off camera?
It was kind of always that because it was kind of that in the book as well, and because we had to span such a large amount of time. I knew going into this that there was limited time to tell Harwin’s story. I spoke with Ryan during rehearsals, and he said, ‘Have you seen the first series?’ And he cited the Red Viper and Pedro Pascal’s character and how he was only involved for a limited amount of time, but his story really had a ripple effect on the series. Although he was a very different character, he was a great example of what they wanted to do with Harwin. So I had ideas of that in my head and ideas of why Harwin and Rhaenyra may have fallen in love.
I think they’re somewhat twin flames and I think they see something in each other that celebrates each other’s freedom, and they end up with this wonderful modern family. Plus there’s the idea that he’s this incredible knight who’s very strong, and that idea of that word strong and what strength means … it’s not just physical strength. For me, at least anyway. I really like the idea of strength being found in Harwin’s honor and the way that he loves his children and the way that he’s happy to live his life in the shadows and worship his queen. I think that they’re the sort of ideas that were floating around as we tried to shape the character.
Harwin has to interact with two very important men in Rhaenyra’s life. What’s his relationship with Laenor vs. his relationship with Criston Cole?
It’s more down to who Laenor and Criston are as characters. I think he would’ve known about Rhaenyra’s history with Criston. I think he’s obviously seen what he’s done to Laenor’s partner at the wedding. Those things obviously last the test of time. With Laenor I think they had a really incredible healthy relationship; as a three. It’s a wonderfully modern family in the world of Westeros. And I think for them they found a world in which it worked, in which they could live their truth and all be happy. At least in these short number of episodes, before the major conflicts are all happening, I think that’s sort of a little moment in time where everything was going really well and they’d found a common cause and it worked for everyone. Harwin’s a man that wanted to be a great father and I think was in love with Rhaenyra and was happy to just live his life, step back a little bit, I think Laenor and he had real mutual respect and understanding.
Why was Cole allowed to kill a man at a royal wedding feast but Harwin is practically banished from the Red Keep after a tiny brawl?
[laughs]That’s the game in Westeros, you know what I mean? Harwin’s made his way, he’s been through the Gold Cloaks and he’s next heir to Harrenhal, but unfortunately, you can’t lay your hands on anyone within the royals. I just felt incredibly sorry for him. And I always like the way that he seemed to accept it. I think there’s a certain amount of his ego, a certain amount of his honor, which is ultimately his downfall, in not being able to field those baits from Criston Cole. I think Rhaenyra has a real right to be angry at him in that moment because that world, this wonderful world that’s been going so well for Laenor, Rhaenyra, and himself sort of burst at that moment. And it’s through a moment of rage and ironically through a moment of strength, which is ultimately the demise of his family.
Was that fight scene ever more intricate or was it always choreographed as a one-and-done knockout?
Miguel said to me when we were doing it, ‘I want you to hit him five times before he hits the ground.’ He’s like, ‘I want you to turn around. I want him to be knocked out on the first, and as he’s falling, you hit him another like Wing Chun style.’ So we knew that in order for it to be satisfying, it had to be a moment. If it’s going to be the moment that breaks Harwin and means that he’s banished and sent away from his children, that it had to be satisfying at least. And let’s be honest, after the wedding, we want to see someone punch Criston Cole in the face.
Would Harwin be a Daemyra shipper?
It’s an interesting dynamic that one, isn’t it? Because I think Daemon and Harwin will have known each other. Harwin was the commander of The Watch and in the Gold Cloaks after Daemon, I believe, in the books. They would’ve known quite a lot about each other given Daemon’s prowess as a warrior. I think there’s some sort of unspoken mutual understanding there that I know that Matt [Smith] and I sort of touched on briefly. I think anyone that takes Harwin away from his family and that made him break his promise to his children, I think he’d be furious at. But I think he was also the man that celebrated who Rhaenyra was in her freedom and loved her despite her choices. So she ended up with him, and it’s what made her happy — in a weird way that’s a part of Harwin’s strength — I think he would’ve accepted that. I think he was a man that was happy to live his life stepped back as long as that meant he could have his family. I think he had a different sort of moral code from the political one that seems to manifest through Westeros.