‘House of the Dragon’ shocker: Criston Cole breaks badly

So much for Criston Cole being the charming prince of Rhaenyra Targaryen. That didn’t last.

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of “House of the Dragon.”]

In the fifth episode of the Game of Thrones spinoff series House of the Dragon on Sunday night, dreamy Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) collapses. So, all viewers hoping that Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) could have a happy life with her sworn protector to whom she lost her virginity, wave that possibility goodbye.

In this episode, Cole gets angry because Rhaenyra rejects the idea of ​​giving up her crown to elope with him. So he responds in a calm and logical way by dramatically murdering someone who doesn’t deserve it – ending all hopes of “Maybe Criston is the nice guy Rhaenyra should end up with!”

Here’s what happens. Rhaenyra marries Laenor (Theo Nate), son of Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint), in a political arrangement agreed upon by both families. It turns out that Laenor is gay and has a boyfriend, Joffrey (Solly McLeod), so Rhaenyra and Laenor agree that they’ll just show off their marriage and both date other people on the side.

Unfortunately, Cole isn’t thrilled about it. He wants Rhaenyra to run away, marry him and start a new life together far away, but she doesn’t want to give up her crown. Instead, she tells him about her arrangement with Laenor and explains that they can still see each other.

Cole is so angry – “You want me to be your whore?” he sneers – that he immediately betrays her.

Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) with her fiancé Laenor (Theo Nate) on a beach "house of the dragon."
Rhaenyra with her fiancé Laenor (Theo Nate) in House of the Dragon.
Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) stand close together and look flirtatious "house of the dragon."
Rhaenyra and Cole in The House of the Dragon.
Photo by Ollie Upton/HBO

When her former best friend and now stepmother Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) asks him about Rhaenyra’s activities during the sex fest in the last episode, he confesses that they were intimate. This shocks Hightower as she tried to help Rhaenyra (when rumors about her sex life were swirling around) and she now knows Rhaenyra lied to her (when she refused to participate in any handkerchiefs).

Later at the wedding feast, Cole’s true colors are revealed even more. Laenor’s friend Joffrey makes a fatal mistake by not realizing what story he’s in. (Doesn’t this guy know that nothing good ever happens to guys named Joffrey at Westeros weddings?) Joffrey tries to come to terms with Cole about both side partners of the bride and groom in this wedding.

Cole reacts rationally to this. Just kidding, he reacts like a psycho and brutally murders Joffrey in front of everyone while the crowd panics and the party descends into chaos.

Fabien Frankel continues as Ser Crison Cole "house of the dragon" kneeling.
Frankel as Cole in House of the Dragon.
Courtesy of HBO
Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) enters a room with a serious expression.
Cole is no longer Prince Charming in House of the Dragon.
Photo by Ollie Upton/HBO

Cole is later shown clutching his knife to his chest and apparently planning to kill himself after going off the rails, but Hightower appears and stops him.

[Warning: Spoiler alert from book source material.]

In the book Fire & Blood by George RR Martin on which the show is based, this story leads to a civil war between factions that are essentially Team Hightower and Team Rhaenyra. Although the scene ends there, it paves the way for Cole’s loyalty to Team Hightower.

It’s worth noting that Rhaenyra didn’t even dismiss Cole outright — she just wasn’t willing to give up her life goals for him. She was open to a workaround to continue seeing him. But since the situation wasn’t quite to his liking, Cole hit hard.

King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) sit at a table at their wedding feast.
King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and Rhaenyra at their wedding feast which Cole ruins.
Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) take a walk in a wood with a horse between them in happier times "house of the dragon."
Rhaenyra with Cole in happier times on House of the Dragon.
Photo by Ollie Upton/HBO

Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), Rhaenyra’s other love interest, is inappropriate in many ways (he’s her uncle, he’s significantly older, and he is Also a psycho who also murders someone in this episode – his wife!), but at this point he’s beginning to seem like a better choice for her than Cole.

Star Alcock agrees, as she recently told The Post of Cole: “I think she really likes him. But I don’t think she would end up choosing him over Daemon.”

Sorry Cole fans, it turns out he’s not a good guy. He’s the kind of guy who responds to a girl who rejects him by doing something completely crazy.

“House of the Dragon” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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