HOTD Star On Whether Criston Cole Still Loves Rhaenyra

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Star of House of the Dragon Fabien Frankel thinks that Ser Criston Cole, the disgraced Knight and Queen protector, is still in love with Princess Rhaenyra.

Despite his shifting allegiances to Alicent Hightower and the council of Greens, Ser Criston Cole, the disgraced Knight and Queen guardian, is still in love with Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, according to House of the Dragon actor Fabien Frankel. Ser Criston was first presented at the opening of House of the Dragon. He was one of the few knights in the realm to have had legitimate military duty, and he impressed the young Princess Rhaenyra with his tournament prowess and noble demeanor. Following Ser Criston’s appointment to the King’s Guard, the two developed a close relationship, and Rhaenyra chose to confide in the Knight about her insecurities about her position as the queen of Westeros.

Rhaenyra Criston and Cole’s relationship, which seemed to be blossoming, peaked in House of the Dragon season 1 episode 4, when Rhaenyra turned to Cole once more for company after being abruptly dumped in King’s Landing’s Street of Silk by her uncle Daemon Targaryen. Cole may have become unduly enamored with his charge as they slept together in what looked to be a night of claiming agency and savoring forbidden desires for the young Rhaenyra. Cole’s outburst of violence at Rhaenyra’s wedding prompts him to seek the help of Alicent, beginning their collaborative effort in retaliation against Rhaenyra. Cole is outraged that Rhaenyra rejected his offer to flee from the throne and responsibility following their night together and is incredibly ashamed of breaking his vows of chastity.

In the series, nearly two in-world decades have passed since Rhaenyra and Ser Criston gave in to their attraction for one another, but according to Fabien Frankel, his character is still in love with the Princess despite his changed allegiances. Since the Princess’ wedding, the Queen protector has only spoken negatively about her, so Frankel’s suggestion that Ser Criston might harbor a lasting love is undoubtedly misguided. View the star’s comments below:

First love is first love. I think everyone will always love the person that they fell in love with for the first time. From the first time you hear a beautiful piece of music, you’ll always love it, even if you’ve heard it a hundred times, because you remember that first time you heard it. So yeah, he will always love Rhaenyra.

Ser Criston is becoming known as one of HOTD’s most evil characters

It is difficult to recall the first few episodes of House of the Dragon and see Ser Criston as the honorable white knight he seemed to be. Following the consequences from his cold-blooded killing of Joffrey Lonmouth and damnation of Rhaenyra, the Queen Protector has abused his position to fight Alicent’s little wars. His most egregious crimes include sedition motivated by jealousy in which he questioned the lineage of Rhaenyra’s children and additional outright murder within the small council; the recent episode’s murder of Lord Beesbury is a shocking revelation.

If Ser Criston still harbors any feelings of love for Rhaenyra, they seem to have been corrupted beyond repair. Ser Criston is possibly one of the most villainous characters in House of the Dragon due to his frequent emotional outbursts, blatant dishonesty, and inability to take responsibility. It is difficult to dispute that Ser Criston appears to be acting in accordance with his notions of honor, loyalty, and righteousness toward the throne, but his actions within the series continue to highlight the fact that resentment and revenge are his primary motivations for opposing Rhaenyra.

The dramatic switch between Criston surpassing Daemon’s crimes and Daemon being presented as the most morally dubious and unreliable character in the series is a classic subversion of expectation and perfectly heightens the tension before the season finale.