House of the Dragon Episode 6 was so full of conflict and intrigue that it reminded fans of good old Game of Thrones episodes. While we expected that things weren't likely to end well for anyone we root for, the ending of the episode might have felt a little confusing to some. So, did Harwin die in House of the Dragon, and what exactly happened to him?
About Ser Harwin Strong
Ser Harwin Strong was a knight and the heir to Harrenhall. His father, Lyonel Strong, served king Viserys as the Hand of King Viserys after the latter fired his wife's father, Otto Hightower.
In George R. R. Martin's Fire & Blood, Ser Harwin is rumored to be the father of Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey, Rhaneyra's first three sons while married to Ser Leanor Velaryon.
In the tv show, this is more than heavily implied; it's more or less spelled out, as Rhaenyra's sons look neither like her nor like Leanor, who has been confirmed to be gay and in an agreement with Rhaenyra to each take lovers of their choosing.
While Harwin can't really be a father to his sons his few scenes with them so that he deeply cares and stands up for them, going so far as to beat up Ser Criston because he shows partial treatment to Alicent's sons during sword training.
Unfortunately, this impulsive behavior turns out to be Harwin's downfall as it's equivalent to telling the royal court that he fathered Rhaenyra's sons.
Due to this, his father tries to resign from his position at Hand out of shame, and when King Viserys refuses to let him go, he at least asks permission to escort Harwin to Harrenhall, to take up his duties there and stay away from further scandal.
In the book, the source of conflict was a bit different, and it started when Alicent and Viserys' son, Aemond, called Rhaenyra's children "Strongs" but the brawl and outcome were much the same.
This being Game of Thrones, things don't go exactly according to plan; far from it.
Did Harwin Die in House of the Dragon?
Shortly after returning to Harrenhall, Harwin dies in a fire alongside his father, Lyonel, leaving the position of Hand vacant once more.
The incident is brushed off as an accident or attributed to the "curse of Harrenhall" a rumor that circulates because of how many people have met premature or gruesome ends in the castle.
Of course, there's likely a perfectly logical and even more disturbing explanation.
Who Killed Ser Harwin and His Father?
The series confirms that Harwin's brother, Larys, who acts as torturer and Master of Whispers, had his father and brother because Allicent expressed the wish for her father, Otto, to still be Hand of the King, and Larys wanted to grant that wish.
In the book, too, Larys is a suspect, but there are several more. Some blame Corlys Velaryon, who might have wanted Harwin dead because he felt that the rumors about the parentage of Rhaenyra's sons shamed his sons.
In Episode 6, Corlys didn't appear at all, so he doesn't have an alibi, so to speak. If Larys had not confessed to Alicent, he might have been a possible suspect, although, with no foreshadowing, that would be a stretch.
Daemon - who is frankly the usual suspect on many occasions - is another potential perpetrator in the book, who might have killed Harwin to eliminate competition for Rhaenyra's affection.
Daemon has a rather violent way of eliminating his problems, so we wouldn't put it beyond him.
However, at the time this happens in the show, he's probably mourning his wife Laena who killed herself after understanding that labor complications would cause a slow and painful demise.
As he and Laena were not even in Westeros at the time of her death, he would likely not have time to be back and murder a rival, though he is aware of the rumors regarding Rhaenyra's affairs.
Finally, some would even blame King Viserys, thinking that he could potentially arrange for Harwin and his father to be killed in order to end the rumors about Rhaenyra's affairs.
Such a move, while cruel, would add depth to Viserys' character as it would show potential for the cunning required to survive the game of thrones.
However, Viserys' characterization in the show paints him as a meek man who doesn't take action until it's too late, and he has time and again shown an unwillingness to acknowledge his daughter's affairs.
As such, Viserys in the show is a very unlikely suspect, while Larys is the most likely perpetrator.
House of the Dragon is scheduled to be released sometime in 2024.