Gwayne Hightower’s ‘return’ in House of the Dragon

In the first season, right in the first episode, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) openly try to humiliate each other, and the antagonism of the two is extremely clear when, in the Tournament of the Heir, Daemon deliberately chooses Gwayne Hightower as an opponent, to insult Otto, after openly flirting with Alicent (Emily Carey/Olivia Cooke)! At the tourney, Gwayne first gets the better of Daemon, knocking him backward, but in the second Daemon throws Gwayne from the saddle, injuring his face. Which we never happen to see before or after.

Nor do we see him again, leading some to believe – wrongly – that Daemon might even have killed him. None of that, now Gwayne comes back with everything and will have a face and voice with the confirmation of actor Freddie Fox in the cast of House of the Dragon.

Why bring it back? Let’s understand.

In the book, Gwayne was living with her family in King’s Landing when her father, Ser Otto Hightower, was appointed Hand of the King by King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. He stood out in tournaments, after having lost to Daemon in the competition we saw, he even participated in another that did not enter the series, the fifth wedding anniversary of Viserys I and Alicent, where Gwayne was one of his sister’s champions during the tournament, even if now overthrown by Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).

Ser Gwayne’s absence will be explained in some way because in theory he already had some prominence in history as the Queen’s brother. For example, he would have been second-in-command of the City Guard, so the mood between him, Daemon, and Ser Harwin Strong would have been curious. What’s more, Gwayne was with Ser Arryk Cargyll, escorting Grand Maester Orwyle to deliver Aegon II’s “terms of peace” to Rhaenyra, which in the series was personally delivered by Ser Otto.

With none of this having been shown thus far, it will be curious when we find him – now yes – appointed by his father as second-in-command of the City Watch of King’s Landing. The idea is that in this position, Gwayne can better identify who is for or against his nephew, King Aegon II. But don’t get too attached… SPOILERS, his career will be short. Just like his life.

That’s right, probably still in the second season, the Blacks will attack King’s Landing, when Aegon is recovering from his wounds, and Aemond, as regent, will attack Harrenhall, leaving the capital vulnerable. And the Kingsguard is under the command of Ser Gwayne who rushes to sound the alarm when Rhaenyra and Daemon invade the city but is captured, disarmed, and dragged before the Kingsguard commander, Ser Luthor Largent. To his surprise, Ser Luthor is still loyal to Daemon and, before Gwayne can denounce him to the Greens, he plunges his sword into Gwayne’s belly, slaying a Hightower and immediately opening the city gates to Rhaenyra.

Apparently, Ser Gwayne’s fate was always set to collide with Daemon’s. It will be interesting to see its short – and important – trajectory.


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