House of the Dragon: Abubakar Salim Is “Terrified” But Ready for Alyn of Hull’s Journey

Exclusive: Abubakar Salim shares how "terrified" and excited he is to step into Westeros and bring Alyn of Hull a.k.a. the Oakenfist to life in House of the Dragon

Abubakar Salim
Photo: Nick Morgulis for Den of Geek

Stepping into Westeros, the fictional fantasy world created by George R.R. Martin, is something that some can only dream of. But for actor Abubakar Salim (Raised by Wolves, Assassin’s Creed: Origins), who will play Alyn of Hull in House of the Dragon’s upcoming second season, this dream is already becoming a reality. Season 2 is set to introduce several new characters as the Targaryen civil war escalates beyond King’s Landing and Dragonstone, and among those is Salim’s Alyn, a character with deep ties to the Velaryons and old Valyria, and whose future has the potential to extend beyond the borders of Westeros.

Sitting down with Den of Geek at SXSW to discuss his career, Salim spoke about what it’s been like to step into this fantasy world and what he loves about the universe that Martin has created. “Oh man, I’m terrified! I’m really pumped for it,” Salim says. “I’ve always loved other worlds as a kid, these kind of fantasy spaces. And the beauty of jumping into George’s universe is that, yes, the dragons are there and that’s all cool, but it’s all about human politics and connections and relationships, and that’s what’s really, really special about it.”

HBO’s official description of Alyn says that he is “a sailor in the Velaryon fleet who served in the Stepstones campaign.” While this deviates some from House of the Dragon’s source material—according to Fire & Blood Alyn was born the year the War of the Stepstones ended, and thus couldn’t have fought in the campaign—this is an intentionally vague description that leaves plenty of room for Alyn to still be the epic character he is in the books.

Alyn of Hull is a sailor, that much is true. But what this brief snippet fails to capture is just how capable of a sailor Alyn is. Growing up so close to the sea, with a mother who procured and captained her own trading vessel, Alyn’s skills on the water rival those of Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), the Lord of the Tides himself. Without spoiling too much of his family tree, let’s just say that Alyn becomes an important ally for the Velaryons and Rhaenrya (Emma D’Arcy) in the growing conflict, and a key figure in the Dance of the Dragon battles to come.

Ad – content continues below

Yet for readers of Fire & Blood, the appeal of the character is that his importance extends well beyond just the Targaryen civil war at the center of House of the Dragon. His exploits on the sea and his journey to becoming the legendary Oakenfist are epic. One might even wonder whether they are worthy of their own spinoff series.

When asked whether he’s interested in exploring Alyn’s full journey, Salim said, “Oh, absolutely. Put me in the shoes, man. I’m there now and feel like there’s definitely space to kind of explore and jump into those stories.”

If George R. R. Martin gets his way, House of the Dragon has at least two more seasons before the Dance of the Dragons war is complete. After that, and speaking speculatively ourselves, there’s plenty of material for Salim to return in. House of the Dragon could extend beyond the war or maybe there’s an Oakenfist spinoff series in the stars? HBO may be taking its sweet time bringing other Game of Thrones spinoffs to life, but there’s still hope that we’ll get to see Salim bring this legendary character to life for many years to come.

House of the Dragon Season 2 will premiere in June 2024. We will have more from our interview with Salim in the days and weeks ahead.