House of the Dragon Showrunner Breaks Down Arryk and Erryk’s Big Season 2 Moment

House of the Dragon season 2 reaps the benefits of casting actual twin brothers to play Ser Erryk and Ser Arryk Cargyll.

Arryk (Luke Tittensor) and Erryk (Elliott Tittensor) in House of the Dragon
Photo: Ollie Upton | HBO

This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2 episode 2.

The Game of Thrones franchise features no shortage of compelling twin characters. George R.R. Martin’s source material A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones, and its spinoff House of the Dragon are all full of siblings who share the same birthday down to the hour.

From well-known story staples like Jaime and Cersei Lannister to obscure historical figures like Aegon and Aemon Blackfyre to even the castle known as “The Twins” straddling the Green Fork in the Riverlands, duality remains a major theme in this canon. Now, in the second episode of its second season (how fitting!), House of the Dragon has found an incredibly satisfying way to put its resident twins, Ser Arryk (Luke Tittensor) and Ser Erryk Cargyll (Elliott Tittensor), into action.

Episode two features an epic sword battle between Arryk and Erryk. Call it a twin tussle, if you will. A brother brawl. An identical imbroglio. A couple clash. A match match.

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After the Greens suffer the embarrassment of allowing assassins to infiltrate the Red Keep and kill the young Jaehaerys Targaryen, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) is eager to keep the “eye for an eye” revenge train rolling. To that end he comes up with an ingenious, but plainly desperate plan. He orders his deputy knight of the Kingsguard, Ser Arryk, to infiltrate Dragonstone and assassinate Queen Rhaenyra, effectively killing this war in its crib.

When Arryk fairly points out that this sounds like a suicide mission, Criston responds that no one would object to Arryk’s presence on Dragonstone. They would just naturally assume he is his twin, Ser Erryk, who serves in Rhaenyra’s Queensguard. Both men prove to be right. Ser Arryk does make it all the way to the queen’s chambers. But before then he is clocked by Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) on her way out of the castle. Ser Erryk rushes to the queen’s defense and the two brothers tragically slay each other.

Like last week’s infamous “Blood and Cheese” moment, the Cargyll sword battle has been one of the most anticipated House of the Dragon events for fans of the novel Fire & Blood. That book, written as a Targaryen history text, imbues the moment with all the emotional pathos it deserves. Some sources claim that the brothers professed their love for each other before a chivalric sword fight. Others say they condemned each other as traitors before an ugly, brutal brawl. All agree, however, that by the end of things – both men were dead.

House of the Dragon is able to find an appropriate middle ground among the many interpretations. While the fight is nasty, Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk are able to die as brothers in one another’s mortally wounded arms.

“I’ve seen that sequence a hundred times now, in having put it together through post, and I find it incredibly moving and compelling every time ,” House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal told Den of Geek and other outlets during a press roundtable.

In many ways, the success of House of the Dragon‘s Cargyll fight comes down to a triumph of casting. Finding one actor to play dual roles as identical twins is common in filmmaking. In fact, House of the Dragon employs that very set up with Jefferson Hall portraying both Ser Tyland Lannister and his brother Lord Jason Lannister. Finding actors for a kinetic battle between twins , however, would be far more challenging.

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“We knew when we cast Arryk and Erryk that they were going to have to come together in this in this climactic battle,” Condal said. “Our challenge to Kate Rhode James, our amazing casting director, was ‘do you have a set of identical twins that you can’t tell apart who are also both good actors?’ To Kate’s credit, she came back with these two fantastic guys from Manchester. They’re phenomenal. They’re wonderful guys – deeply committed actors and stunt performers.”

Luke and Elliott Tittensor came to prominence playing the young Carl Gallagher through nine seasons of the U.K. version of Shameless. Since then they’ve continued to act in supporting roles, often separately, before joining back up to play the tragic Cargyll pair.

Aside from some brief work from stunt artists, the Tittensors acted out the majority of the Cargyll fight themselves. That’s what turns an already epic moment in Westerosi history into an even more personal, brotherly affair.

New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.