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House Of The Dragon: Why Gwayne Hightower Looks So Familiar

Throughout the history of Westeros, there have been plenty of characters that have gone through drastic visual changes. In "Game of Thrones," characters were recast, which led to us having three Mountains, a pair of Daario Naharis, and Max Von Sydow stepping in as a replacement Three-Eyed Raven.

In Season 2 of "House of the Dragon," the "Game of Thrones" prequel pulls a switcheroo of its own (albeit a small one) in the case of Ser Gwayne Hightower. Last seen getting taken off his horse in Season 1, Episode 1 – "The Heirs of the Dragon," Hightower was played by Will Willoughby, but now he returns in the form of actor Freddie Fox.

Speaking with Radio Times about joining the series in Season 2, Fox promised, "A lot of dragons! Developing, dark, machinating relationships, brilliant acting, an increase in the battles and fighting as war begins." So far, that promise has been fulfilled, but does Fox have the kind of talent that can handle the brutal war games and steely glances thrown back and forth within the Great Hall of King's Landing? Well, you'd need only look at Fox's repertoire of work, which includes one performance that saw him play a real-life murderer, to see he's more than capable of turning on family members and going against his duty.

The Riot Club (2014)

In what has become a career of playing characters that aren't particularly nice dudes, one of Fox's early appearances as a loathsome soul was in the blood-boiling British drama "The Riot Club."

Based on Laura Wade's 2010 stage play, "Posh," the story follows a group of boys from an exclusive Oxford University dining club and an incident that unfolds during one of their planned evenings. The film is crammed with what was then up-and-coming talent, consisting of Sam Claflin, Max Irons, and "Interview with the Vampire's" Sam Reid. Fox's James Leighton-Masters is just one of a number of pretty rancid characters that turn a private function into a nightmare.

The play gained extra attention by audiences making comparisons between its subject matter and The Bullingdon Club, a real club attended by Oxford University's elite, with former members including past British Prime Ministers David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Speaking with The Financial Times, Fox explained that the outfits he and his castmates donned added an extra layer to help get into character. "Those beautiful blue tailcoats are a badge of solidarity within the privileged group, and so, once we were in those uniforms, that was the relationship we had with each other; we were a bunch of mates stepping into battle."

White House Farm (2020)

A show that coincidentally boasted an array of "Game of Thrones" alumni, "White House Farm" centered on an unnerving performance from Freddie Fox as Jeremy Bamber, who in 1985 killed his parents, his adopted sister, and his twin nephews.

Joining Fox on the show was Mark Addy, who played King Robert Baratheon in "Game of Thrones," as well as Gemma Whelan and Alfie Allen, who previously starred as "GoT's" Yara and Theon Greyjoy. Addy played one of the detectives (alongside Stephen Graham) working on a case initially deemed a murder-suicide. Whelan plays Bamber's cousin, who testified against him in court, while Allen plays Bamber's best friend, who stands by him up until his eventual conviction.

For Fox, it was a demanding role that he was initially warned about taking on by his own father, actor Edward Fox. Speaking with What to Watch about the pressure that came with the part, Fox said, "The scripts were very strong, but I was worried about what might happen after I'd played the part. My father knew I'd be excited at the prospect of playing such an interesting role in a great TV series, but said I should think about it carefully." Eventually, the decision was made, leading to what might still stand as one of Fox's best performances to date. "I thought about it long and hard and I think my decision to do it has been vindicated!"

Slow Horses (2022)

He may carry an air of smugness in his debut in "House of the Dragon," but it pales in comparison to the attitude Freddie Fox musters as James "Spider" Webb in "Slow Horses."

Sporting a smirk worth punching for three incredible seasons, the spy drama on Apple TV+ follows a group of MI5 agents that have failed in the field and are sent to work under Gary Oldman's offensive, clear-cut (and unashamedly flatulent) spymaster, Jackson Lamb. Fox plays MI5 office weasel Spider, the rival to the show's accidental agent-in-the-making, River Cartwright (Jack Lowden). The bitter back and forth between Spider and River is one of the highlights of the series, which Fox deduces was the main reason he was kept around for so long.

Speaking to The Wrap prior to his exit from the show (which won't be spoiled here), Fox explained how his character viewed his heroic nemesis since the beginning. "I think River is the agent that Spider always wanted to be and just was never quite good enough. So he's using his Machiavellian machinations to try and bring River down to, satiate his own insecurity, really." It was this reasoning that the actor believes is why "Slow Horses" creator, Will Smith (no, not that one), kept him on the series for so long. "I think Will enjoyed the rivalry between [Spider] and Jack, so I am very grateful that he shoehorned me into this series."

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024)

In what might be Freddie Fox's most blink-or-you'll-miss-it roles up to this point, he appears as an assistant who is, historically, way more important than you might realize in "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." While the film tells the true story of secret allied operatives that caused issues for Germany's naval forces, their actions are all being monitored by a young whippersnapper by the name of Ian Fleming, who, after the war, would go on to create one of the most popular and well-known characters in literary and movie history: James Bond.

While the likes of Henry Cavill, Alan Ritchson, and Alex Pettyfer are killing Nazis in droves, Fox is mostly seen hanging in the background as the stiff-lipped assistant to Cary Elwes, who plays M, the commander who acted as the inspiration for Bond's boss. Fox might not get in on the action as much as the rest of the cast, but he does manage to provide the film's best nod to the legacy of 007 by introducing his character the only way he can. After shaking hands with Cavill's Gus March-Phillips, Fox doesn't miss a beat and reveals himself to be "Fleming, Ian Fleming."