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Who is Alys Rivers in 'House of the Dragon'?

Who is Alys Rivers in ‘House of the Dragon’?

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House of the Dragon Season 2 has quickly introduced a range of intriguing new characters, such as Addam of Hull and Hugh Hammer. Yet, none seem to have captivated fans more than Alys Rivers, portrayed by Gayle Rankin.

Alys first made a brief appearance in Episode 3, foretelling Daemon (Matt Smith) about his impending death at Harrenhal. Those familiar with George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood suspected that this enigmatic, witch-like woman was Alys. Episode 4 has since confirmed these suspicions.

Daemon encounters Alys one night while wandering through Harrenhal, haunted by disturbingly realistic dreams. Recognizing her as the woman who predicted his death, he demands answers. Alys provides some background but leaves many questions unanswered.

Alys Rivers is an illegitimate daughter of House Strong, indicated by her last name, Rivers, which bastard children in Westeros receive based on their birthplace. For instance, Rivers pertains to the Crownlands, Snow to the North, and Sand to Dorne. Rumors in Fire & Blood suggest her father is Lyonel Strong (Gavin Spokes), a member of Viserys’ small council who died in a mysterious fire at Harrenhal alongside his eldest son, Harwin (Ryan Corr).

Alys explains to Daemon that she is a maester ‘in a manner of speaking,’ having assumed the role when the former Harrenhal maester fled. She concocts a sleeping potion for Daemon, although it seems more of a hallucinogen, leaving him in the council room without memory.

In the book, Alys is reputed to be a witch with visions of the future, which explains her prediction of Daemon’s death at Harrenhal. Although childless at first, she served as a wet nurse to Harwin and Larys (Matthew Needham). She’s also said to be much older than her appearance suggests, thanks to witchcraft.

Harrenhal, already familiar to Game of Thrones fans, is believed by many to be cursed because those who control it often meet gruesome ends. The castle was built by Harren the Black but was burned down by Aegon the Conqueror on the same day it was completed.

Alys tells Daemon that the curse started when Harren the Black felled sacred weirwood trees to build the castle. She claims the whispers of spirits can sometimes still be heard, although Daemon dismisses this as a ‘midwife’s tale.’ However, it’s evident that he is uneasy due to the strange visions he’s experiencing at Harrenhal.

Currently, Alys is depicted as a peculiar woman living in a haunted castle and making hallucinogenic potions. However, her character evolves significantly in Fire & Blood.

Spoilers ahead: Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) eventually wrest control of Harrenhal from Daemon, executing House Strong for supporting the Blacks. Aemond spares Alys, and she becomes his lover, even claiming to be pregnant with his child.

After the civil war between the Greens and the Blacks ends, Alys returns to Harrenhal with the aid of outlaws, claiming her son is the true heir to the throne. This is the last we hear of her in Fire & Blood, but her prophecy to Daemon almost comes true, and she witnesses it unfold.

Source: Parade