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House of the Dragon theory: Jacaerys is really Ser Criston Cole’s son

Leo Hart stars as Young Jacaerys Targaryen in Episode 7 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Leo Hart stars as Young Jacaerys Targaryen in Episode 7 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Episode 6 of House of the Dragon saw a very interesting set-up within the marriage of Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Ser Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan).

This had been explored earlier in Season 1 and had Rhaenyra and Laenor agreeing to marry but to explore other partners outside of the marriage due to Laenor being gay.

Rhaenyra also pursued her own love interests and Episode 6 revealed that her three children, Jacaerys (Leo Hart), Lucerys (Harvey Sadler), and Joffrey, were actually the offspring of Ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr) and not Laenor.

This was kept a secret as this sort of adultery with the princess is considered treason. However, rumors were already starting to spread because the children look nothing like their pale-haired parents.

Most notably in Episode 6, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) brought up the situation with Harwin in a very public manner. This resulted in a fistfight between the pair.

But what if one of Rhaenyra’s children was actually Criston’s?

Milly Alcock as Young Princess Rhaenyra and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, as seen in Episode 4 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Milly Alcock as Young Princess Rhaenyra and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, as seen in Episode 4 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Criston Cole and Rhaenyra Targaryen were once intimate

In Episode 4 of House of the Dragon, Rhaenyra ended up sleeping with Criston Cole. This was kept a secret even though rumors had started circulating about another romantic tryst between Rhaenyra and her uncle, Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith).

However, Criston did end up admitting to Alicent Hightower in Episode 6 that it had been him and Rhaenyra who were intimate.

Rhaenyra was given the option of drinking moon tea at the end of Episode 4, which would terminate a baby should it have taken hold after her interlude with Criston. But, as pointed out by Decider, she was never actually shown drinking it.

And while Episode 5 dealt with Rhaenyra’s wedding and saw her and Criston part ways, it could be implied that regardless of whether or not Rhaenyra took the moon tea, they most likely had continued to be intimate after that first time and leading up to their breakup.

And, if this is the case, the potential is there that Jacaerys could be Criston’s son.

The basis for this theory is the fact that Jaecaerys has straighter hair, just like Criston’s, whereas Lucerys’ hair is curly, like Harwin’s. Which, admittedly, isn’t a lot to go on as far as developing theories.

But, if it were true, it would make things very interesting regarding Criston and his dislike of Rhaenyra’s children.

Harvey Sadler as Lucerys and Leo Hart as Jacaerys, as seen in Episode 6 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Harvey Sadler as Lucerys and Leo Hart as Jacaerys, as seen in Episode 6 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Gary Moyes

If Criston Cole is Jacaerys’ father it would make things very interesting

Already, in Episode 6, it has been revealed just how much Criston now despises Rhaenyra after she decided not to run away and marry him.

Along with that, he also has a very strong dislike of Rhaenyra’s children because they look so much like Harwin and he considers it a slap in the face of everyone with such an open display of obvious treason.

Along with this, Criston has a fondness for Alicent’s children, who are obviously Targaryens with their white hair.

In fact, Criston even pitted Alicent’s eldest, Aegon (Ty Tennant), against Jacaerys in Episode 6 and would not let Aegon back down when it came to giving the child an absolute thrashing.

So, if Jacaerys was actually Criston’s son, that would make things very interesting indeed should he ever find out the truth of the matter.

What would he do if confronted with the news that he had fathered a son to Rhaenyra — and one who he openly despised?

House of the Dragon is the perfect show for such a set-up, but according to the book, Fire and Blood, on which the TV show is based, all of Rhaenyra’s children belong to Harwin ad there is no mention of discrepancies here.

However, HBO is not above changing things in order to make the story flow better, having already aged down Alicent and making her a childhood friend of Rhaenyra in order to further complicate things when the pair comes into open conflict. Having Criston being the father of Jacaerys would also create more delicious intrigue.

However, whether this happens or not remains to be seen and viewers will just have to tune in to further episodes in order to find out more.

House of the Dragon airs every Sunday night at 9/8c on HBO Max.

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