'House of the Dragon' Casts Four Fan-Favorite Characters

House of the Dragon has cast four of the most anticipated characters to be introduced in the new season – Alys Rivers, Alyn of Hull, Ser Simon Strong and Ser Gwayne Hightower. According to a report by Variety, fan-favorite Alys will be played by Gayle Rankin while Alyn will be played by Bubakar Salim. Gwayne will be played by Freddie Fox and Simon will be played by Simon Russell Beale.

House of the Dragon Season 2 is filming now and it was only a matter of time before these essential characters were revealed to the fandom. Looking ahead in George R.R. Martin's book Fire & Blood, many fans were particularly excited to see who would play Alys Rivers, a mysterious character whose true nature was not revealed on the page but will likely be explained on the screen. Meanwhile, Alyn has the kind of heroic underdog story that makes for great epic fantasy, even in a franchise like A Song of Ice and Fire which strives to subvert expectations.

Rankin is best known for appearances in The Greatest Showman, Perry Mason and Glow before now. Salim had his breakout role on HBO's Raised by Wolves, but also voiced the main protagonist in the video game Assassin's Creed: Origins. Fox has appeared in numerous British dramas as well as the Apple TV+ series Slow Horses, while Beale is best known as a stage actor, having won a Tony for best actor in The Lehman Trilogy.

When they are introduced to the story, two of these new characters will be in the castle Harrenhal far from the political intrigue at King's Landing. Ser Simon Strong is the great-uncle of Lord Larys Strong (Matthew Needham) and is serving as the Castellan of Harrenhal. He will represent the interest of the Greens, holding the castle against Rhaenyra's forces. However, Alys will already be there when he arrives.

Alys Rivers is one of the best examples of Martin's unreliable narrative voice in Fire & Blood. The book is written from the perspective of a maester with little belief in magic or in the Old Gods, so the author barely mentions the claims that Alys has visions of the future or other strange abilities. The book hints that she may be unnaturally old and that she can change her appearance at will, but the show will likely give us more details. For now, she will be introduced as a healer living at Harrenhal.

Meanwhile, Alyn of Hull will be introduced as a common sailor who served in the Velaryon fleet during their war in the Stepstones depicted in Season 1, while Ser Gwayne Hightower is the son of Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and brother of Alicent (Olivia Cooke) who has not been depicted on screen yet. In the book, he would have been present for the events of Season 1 serving as an officer in the City Watch, but the show may give him a different entry point into the story.

House of the Dragon Season 2 has been filming for several weeks now and is expected to air sometime in the summer or fall of 2024. The first season is streaming now on HBO Max along with all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. Martin's books, including Fire & Blood, are available in print, digital and audiobook formats.