'House of the Dragon' fan favorite Ryan Corr says Ser Harwin and Rhaenyra were 'twin flame' lovers

A man in armor holding a baby in a blanket.
Ryan Corr as Ser Harwin "Breakbones" Strong in the sixth episode of "House of the Dragon."HBO
  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for "House of the Dragon" season one, episode six.

  • In an interview with Insider, actor Ryan Corr (Ser Harwin Strong) reflected on male strength.

  • He also said both he and Milly Alcock described Harwin and Rhaenyra as "twin flames."

Ser Harwin "Breakbones" Strong met a fiery end in Sunday's episode of "House of the Dragon," bringing actor Ryan Corr's time on the series to a close. Speaking with Insider over Zoom on Tuesday, Corr said he knew there was always going to be a small window of time for fans to get to know Harwin and his affection for Princess Rhaenyra.

"We always knew Harwin had a limited time in the series," Corr said, referencing himself and showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik. "I spoke with Ryan and Miguel at the start about trying to create maximum impact. I remember Ryan speaking to me about the Red Viper, Pedro Pascal's character in the first series and how he was only there for a limited time, but his resonance through the series lasted."

Harwin was first introduced in episode three, when Rhaenyra and the rest of the royal court go to the Kingswood for a hunt. After Rhaenyra kills a wild boar and brings it back to camp while covered in the animal's blood, Harwin was the only onlooker who seemed downright smitten by the sight of the princess.

By the time we reach episode six — which occurs more than 10 years later in the show's timeline — Harwin was revealed to be Rhaenyra's primary lover and the father to her three children.

Insider spoke with Corr about how Harwin and Rhaenyra are "twin flames" and how fans were immediately taken by his feminist character.

Ryan Corr was 'amazed' by people's reactions to the tiny moment when Harwin looks at Rhaenyra in episode 3

A man holding a skinned rabbit smiling at something off camera.
Larys and Harwin strong in episode three of "House of the Dragon."HBO

"You hear about the legions of fans and just how loved this show is and how much of an expert everyone is on the Westeros universe and the 'Game of Thrones' universe," Corr said. "But you don't quite realize the scale of that until you're involved with it."

In George R.R. Martin's "Fire and Blood" book (which reads like a historical summary rather than a novel), Harwin's interior life and motives aren't explained in great detail. Corr said that meant he and Milly Alcock (young Rhaenyra) and Emma D'Arcy (adult Rhaenyra) had to fill in each moment on screen with "as much detail as possible" in their body language and dialogue.

"Then the audience, who seem to be experts on these characters more than we are, can join the dots and fill the gaps correctly," he said. "You really just want to pay homage to George's work and to people's idea of the characters in their head."

One of these moments occurred in episode three, when Corr had just a few seconds to show Harwin's interest in Princess Rhaenyra long before a non-book reader would know he was the future father of her children. As all the other men in the scene showed disgust or fear or confusion at the sight of Rhaenyra covered in pig's blood, Harwin gave her a smiling nod while butchering an animal himself.

"Harwin being a hunter and a knight of the realm, I think coming back and seeing Rhaenyra having slaughtered a boar was rather impressive to him," Corr said before laughing. "I was still amazed at people's reaction to him looking over a skinned rabbit at the woman. But hey, you can't pick these things sometimes."

Insider asked Corr if he'd seen the many TikToks, tweets, and other memes about his character and how people were shipping them from the start.

Corr wasn't familiar with the phrase "ship" (an internet vocab word that refers to two fictional characters that fans like to imagine in a romantic relationship) but he quickly picked up on its meaning.

"You can't concentrate on those things," he said. "I think when doing the character you can only hold onto the details you receive in the book. With Harwin and Rhaenyra's story in 'Fire and Blood,' there's pockets of information, but a lot is open to interpretation. You're trying to fill those moments with as much detail so that people can 'ship' those guys. And at least in their own mind, in their own imaginations, they can imagine how that relationship developed, why it developed and why these two are twin flames."

Harwin and Rhaenyra were 'twin flame' lovers with a modern approach to family, according to Corr

A girl with long white hair stands covered in blood.
Princess Rhaenyra in "House of the Dragon."HBO

Corr mentioned "twin flames" a few times throughout our interview, referencing the spiritual idea that two people have such an intense connection to one another that they're effectively each other's half — one soul that's been split into two.

Both Corr and Alcock are Australian and have worked together in the past — Corr said they actually ran into each other at the airport on the way to rehearsals and spent time talking about the relationship between their characters.

"Because we jumped time in the series, you have limited time to set the foundations for this love story and who they might have been to each other," Corr said. "We both had an idea that they were twin flames and that Harwin always had eyes for Rhaenyra for who she was."

Unlike many other lords in Westeros, Harwin seems content to admire Rhaenyra from afar and support her wishes, even when she's older and married to Laenor Velaryon for duty's sake.

"They both celebrate freedom together in a sort of wonderfully modern family by the time we get to episode six," Corr said. "They're really great ideas to be injecting into the world of Westeros."

Corr says the strength of Harwin needed to be shown through fighting, as well as in the way he supports Rhaenyra and loves his children

A man wearing armor and standing in front of a younger boy who is training with a wooden sword.
Ser Harwin Strong (played by Ryan Corr) and the two oldest sons he had with Princess Rhaenyra.HBO

"We set out to really have people champion that love story and champion Harwin's love for his children," Corr said. "I had ideas of ruminating in my head about how physical strength is one thing, and of course he's a very strong knight and they call him 'Breakbones' — but I think strength can also manifest in a number of other ways."

He continued: "It occurred to me while reading the book that he's a man who is happy to live in the shadows and just support Rhaenyra and be a loving father. I've always seen strength in my own father and in the way that he's always been there for his children and those around me. So those ideas really appealed to me in trying to muck around with Harwin as we were exploring this stuff."

Corr's performance as Harwin required a lot of moments without dialogue, including his final goodbye with Rhaenyra. The two don't exchange tearful sentiments, but instead simply look at one another in a way that lets the audience know this is both a painful and necessary departure in order to preserve some honor and protect their bastard children.

After beating up Ser Criston Cole, Harwin is sent away to Harrenhall and then burned to death in the middle of the night in a scheme cooked up by his own brother, Larys Strong. The catalyst for Harwin's death was his public defensiveness over his bastard children, who the rest of the realm is supposed to believe were sired by Laenor Velaryon, not Harwin.

"We have this side of the father that's obviously very doting over his children and happy to step back," Corr said. "And we need to see the other side to Harwin which is this very strong and potentially very violent man who has the ability to create destruction. We really wanted to tread that line of having both a man of honor that's there for his family and based in love and has found a twin flame with Rhaenyra, but that also can be very dangerous and volatile."

A woman and man (Princess Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor) in a grand room.
Rhaenyra, Laenor and baby Joffrey in "House of the Dragon."HBO

Corr continued: "For an audience to believe us, we have to show all shades of the character. So we spoke about that in great detail and Miguel and Ryan also made it paramount that Harwin very much loves Rhaenyra. He lives his life in service of this love and of his family."

Now Corr's time on the series has come to an end, leaving Rhaenyra and their children with one less loving family member. The actor said his early death in season one was regrettable but just part of the thrill of getting to be in a "Game of Thrones" production.

"Oh look, your ego always goes 'NO!'" Corr said with a laugh when asked about his reaction to the death scene. "But to get to be on 'Game of Thrones' was one of the most exciting days of my career. I remember going into rehearsals with the writers pretty early on, and they were like, 'Thank you so much for coming on and I'm so sorry we kill you.' Them's the breaks sometimes. I was always just so excited for the opportunity to be involved in this world. It was everything that I imagined it would be when I arrived there and moreso."

"House of the Dragon" season one is currently airing Sundays on HBO. For more analysis of the series, read our breakdown here of the best details you might have missed in the latest episode.

Read the original article on Insider