House Of The Dragon Somehow Found A Way To Make Larys Strong An Even Bigger Creep

In "Game of Thrones," the role of the creepy, scheming mastermind was played by Littlefinger (Aidan Gillan). Before the writing went off the rails in later seasons, Littlefinger constantly seemed to know more than almost everyone in the room, and was able to play those him around with ease. His cleverness and competence might've made him an easy character to like, if not for his weird, deeply uncomfortable relationship with Sansa. You see, Littlefinger was in love with Catelyn Stark, but because Catelyn was off-limits he ended up spending a lot of time putting the moves on Catelyn's teenaged daughter instead. Nearly every scene between him and Sansa was deeply uncomfortable because you never quite knew how far Littlefinger was going to take things.

"House of the Dragon" has found Littlefinger's spiritual predecessor with Larys Strong, a member of the small council and an ally to Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke). Whereas Littlefinger used his low social status to appear unthreatening to those around him, Strong uses his disability (he's got a clubfoot) to appear pitiable and harmless. Despite this, he often seems like the most dangerous person in the room, casually arranging horrible acts (sometimes against his own kin) in order to advance his own standing. 

When it comes to the Littlefinger comparisons, the only thing missing so far was the weird, creepy sexual overtones. Luckily(?), this episode was more than happy to give us the final piece of this unnerving puzzle.

Taking a peak at her feet

In the latest episode, "The Green Council," we see Larys and Alicent meeting privately to discuss how to handle the web of spies within King's Landing, one of which is Alicent's maid. No one says it out loud, but Larys is essentially offering to commit murder on her behalf, and Alicent is giving him the go-ahead. Oh, and also she starts taking off her shoes and stockings and lets him pleasure himself to the sight her bare feet, in a manner that makes it abundantly clear they've done this sort of thing plenty of times before. 

A few episodes earlier, when Larys killed Ser Harwin on Alicent's behalf, he told Alicent that he hoped he'd be well-rewarded for his work. At the time it seemed like he was talking about her being discrete and allying herself closer to him, but now it seems like he was mostly talking about the foot thing. In this latest scene, it feels like getting to see her bare feet is all the reward Larys needs to continue murdering people on her behalf. 

There's nothing wrong with being attracted to feet, but what makes this creepy is the fact that Alicent clearly isn't into it, and this seems to be part of the appeal for Larys. A man of his station would likely have no trouble going to a brothel and paying a woman to show his feet to him, but it seems like he specifically likes the idea of a highborn lady like Alicent feeling coerced into showing off her feet to him. The whole thing feels like Alicent reluctantly going along with it not just to get what she wants, but to assure Larys stays quiet about all the dirt he has on her. 

A questionable development

It's pretty impressive that in a show with constant incest (and in an episode where multiple people are brutally murdered), it's this quiet scene that manages to unnerve us the most. "It's so intrusive and invasive," the episode's director Clare Kilner explained. "It's a really dirty scene."

Not only is it dirty, but it's a scene that makes you wonder if it was worth including at all. Mainly, it seems a little too obvious that they decided to give the guy with the clubfoot a foot fetish. Whereas "Game of Thrones" mostly treated its disabled characters (particularly Bran) with dignity, "House of the Dragon" has made its most prominently disabled character a conniving creep, whose creepy behavior seems directly linked to his disability. It's an... interesting choice on the part of the showrunners, especially considering that this was never mentioned in the source material. 

It's not an inherently terrible development, just as long as the show doesn't reduce Larys' motives to just this. After all, Littlefinger may have had the hots for Sansa, but that was never his defining motivation. As long as Larys' grand plans have a stronger motivation behind them than Alicent's feet, he's still more than capable of being as compelling and memorable as Littlefinger was at his best. "House of the Dragon" has three more seasons to flesh out his character, after all, so hopefully we'll get to see plenty more layers to the character soon.