House of the Dragon Season 2: Who is Gwayne Hightower?

Ethan Dean
House of the Dragon Season 2 Gwayne Hightower

House of the Dragon Season 2 Episode 3 gave us a proper introduction to Gwayne Hightower but who is he and what role will he play?

House of the Dragon Season 1 did a relatively good job of setting the stage for the impending Dance of the Dragons. All while remaining relatively faithful to Fire and Blood, the book on which the show is based.

Season 2 however sees House of the Dragon make some interesting deviations from the source material to mixed reactions. Fans felt that the infamous Blood and Cheese moment was less impactful due to some changes and a moment between Rhaenyra and Alicent in Episode 3 has been criticized as “silly”.

The introduction of Gwayne Hightower looks to foreshadow even more deviations in House of the Dragon Season 2. So, who is Gwayne Hightower? How does his portrayal differ from the book, and what role could he play in the show?

Spoilers for Fire and Blood and possibly House of the Dragon ahead.

Who is Gwayne Hightower?

Gwayne Hightower Introduction House of the Dragon Season 2
Gwayne Hightower’s depiction in House of the Dragon differs greatly from the book.

Gwayne Hightower is the eldest son of Otto Hightower and the older brother of Alicent Hightower. He is a knight of reputed skill although he hasn’t shown much of that so far.

In Fire and Blood, Gwayne Hightower plays a very different role from what’s been shown in House of the Dragon, so far at least. In the book, Gwayne was present at the court in King’s Landing from his youth, coming to the city when his father became Hand of the King to Viserys Targaryen’s father.

In the tourney to celebrate the birth of King Viserys’ short-lived son, he was unseated in a joust by Sir Criston Cole. Later, when Aegon Targaryen II usurped Rhaenyra’s throne, Gwayne was named second in command of the City Watch, also known as the Gold Cloaks.

His tenure was relatively uneventful until the Blacks attacked King’s Landing and Gwayne was slain by the commander of the City Watch. A man named Luthor Largent who was still loyal to Daemon Targaryen.

Gwayne Hightower in House of the Dragon

Gwayne Hightower Jousting Armor House of the Dragon
We did technically see Gwayne Hightower in House of the Dragon Season 1

So far, Gwayne Hightower’s portrayal in House of the Dragon seems markedly different than Fire and Blood. He was technically introduced in Season 1 where, rather than Criston Cole, Daemon Targaryen bested him in a joust to antagonize Otto Hightower.

He’s not seen again until Season 2 Episode 3 in which it’s revealed he’s been living in Oldtown and has come to aid Criston Cole in subduing the Crownlands. As things stand, it’s likely that Gwayne will be present for the climactic Battle of Rook’s Rest and, if he survives, the battle for Harrenhal.

His alliance with Cole is an uneasy one owing to the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard supplanting his father as Hand of the King. Gwayne also appears suspicious of Cole’s relationship with his sister Alicent which could come into play.

It’s possible that following the events of House of the Dragon Season 2, Gwayne Hightower will settle into his story from the books. However, given his relatively minor role, it’s entirely possible that the Showrunners of House of the Dragon have a different outcome planned for him.

For more on House of the Dragon, check out our Season 2 review. If you’re trying to keep up, we also have recaps for Episodes 1, 2, and 3.