House of the Dragon season 2 can fix a disappointing character arc from its sequel show Game of Thrones through one specific character. House of the Dragon season 1 featured a return to form for the Song of Ice and Fire franchise after the highly divisive ending of Game of Thrones season 8. Throughout House of the Dragon season 1, plenty of the show’s main characters were established, with one of the smaller roles providing an opportunity to fix a mistake made by Game of Thrones.
The character of Ser Harrold Westerling, played by Graham McTavish offers great potential. In House of the Dragon season 1, Westerling becomes the Lord Commander of Viserys’ Kingsguard after the death of Ryam Redwyne. After Viserys’ heir, Rhaenyra, is betrayed by the Greens, Westerling removes his cloak and resigns from his post as Lord Commander when commanded to assassinate Rhaenyra in the penultimate episode of House of the Dragon season 1. This echoes Ser Barristan Selmy from Game of Thrones, who tore his own cloak off and resigned as Lord Commander after the betrayal of the Lannisters.
Game Of Thrones Changed Barristan Selmy’s Book Story
Despite Selmy’s promising start as a character, Game of Thrones abruptly ended his story in a way that differed from the book. House of the Dragon season 2 could fix the mistake made with Selmy by giving Westerling a better arc in the future after their similar origins. In Game of Thrones, Selmy goes on to serve Daenerys as he does in the books, but is killed in Game of Thrones season 5. Daenerys’ rule of Meereen caused an uprising by a group named the Sons of the Harpy who lured Grey Worm, other Unsullied, and Barristan to a secluded location.
Barristan puts up a last stand and fights off numerous Sons of the Harpy – whose iconic mask was seen on the Crabfeeder in House of the Dragon – before being stabbed by multiple spears. For many, including Selmy’s actor Ian McElhinney himself, this ending was a massive disappointment. Selmy is widely known as one of the best swordsmen in A Song of Ice and Fire history, meaning his death to an untrained rabble of usurpers was wildly dissatisfying. Barristan still being alive in the book’s story even after the events showcased in Game of Thrones season 5 only go to make this death more of a mistake than it already was.
What Ser Harrold’s HOTD Story Means For Season 2
Through Harrold Westerling though, House of the Dragon season 2 could retroactively honor Selmy by engaging in a similar arc only with a much more satisfying ending. By having Westerling’s story end with denouncing one King due to treason, he could go into House of the Dragon season 2 as Selmy did after Game of Thrones season 1, by joining the opposing faction. However, House of the Dragon has set up this through Westerling’s close bond with Rhaenyra shown at multiple points throughout season 1, something not shown with Barristan and Daenerys.
Harrold Westerling’s story could pick up with him joining the Blacks, as the showrunners have complete freedom with his character. In the books, Westerling died two years before Rhaenyra’s wedding to Laenor, something that is certainly not the case with House of the Dragon. This means that House of the Dragon season 2 could even further flesh out this character, and potentially put him on a path similar to Barristan Selmy’s only while building up to a more satisfying ending.