One of the most gripping storylines in House of the Dragon is the illegitimacy of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen’s first three sons.
It is so ludicrously obvious that her first husband, Laenor Velaryon, who shares her trait of silvery hair is not the father of her dark-haired sons, Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey.
Just as it is equally obvious that the boys ‘ true father is her not-so-secret lover, Harwin Strong.
Not only is Harwin’s resemblance to Rhaenyra’s three oldest sons laughably uncanny, but he also gives himself away by demonstrating a fierce protectiveness of them when Criston Cole, Rhaenyra’s former lover, makes derogatory comments about them.
Ultimately Harwin’s love for Rhaenyra and utter lack of an ability to successfully keep a secret (albeit not a very well-guarded one), cost him his life.
His death hit Rhaenyra hard, but she managed to persevere, going along with a plan to have Laenor murdered and then marrying her uncle, Daemon, before birthing two more children (with a third being tragically stillborn).
But the lingering doubts over her eldest sons only grew, even after her father, King Viserys, publicly shamed Vaemond Velaryon for calling them “bastards,” and Daemon sliced half his head off.
As exciting as these events are, not to mention a logical step toward the Targaryen civil war that is beginning to unfold, fans have pointed out a major plot hole within this story arc.
That Harwin Strong was of noble birth and could have been chosen by Rhaenyra as a husband. So why did she not ever raise this request with her father?
Now for those few saying that she lost her chance to choose her spouse after defying her father and angering him, consider this. Viserys knew her sons were bastards.
He knew his daughter had been having a ten-year affair with Harwin. Just like he knew she was not a virgin when she married (hence her special midnight delivery of moon tea after her adventure in town with Daemon when she was a child).
Despite all these shocking betrayals to her family name and position as his named heir, Viserys defended her.
And for those even fewer saying Rhaenyra did not even know Harwin until she was already married, clearly that epic scene of her emerging from the woods covered in boar’s blood and earning a grin of admiration from Harwin.
The moment that hardcore fans point to as being when he first started to love her.
It seems odd that the show failed to touch on what would have happened had Rhaenyra told her father that she did not wish to marry the homosexual Laenor and wished to pursue Harwin instead.
We know Criston Cole was not on that list due to his status, but Harwin Strong could have been. And an entire war could have potentially been avoided.