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House of the Dragon: Why did Ser Criston Cole snap in Episode 5?

Fabien Frankel stars as Ser Criston Cole in Season 1 of HBO's House of the Dragon
Fabien Frankel stars as Ser Criston Cole in Season 1 of House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO

Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) had a rough time in Episode 5 of House of the Dragon, resulting in losing his cool and beating another man to death.

Last week’s episode saw Criston being seduced by Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), and, in this week’s installment, it became apparent very quickly that he had fallen hard for her.

When Rhaenyra has no option but to wed Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), Criston offers another alternative — elope with him.

While Rhaenyra might like the Kingsguard, it turned out that she would much rather keep him as a side thing than give up the crown.

Then, when Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) snooped into what happened with Rhaenyra and her uncle, Criston fessed up to sleeping with the princess, leaving him feeling pretty terrible about himself and what he had done.

All of this came to a head at Rhaenyra’s wedding to Laenor.

Solly McLeod as Ser Joffrey Lonmouth and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, as seen in Episode 5 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Solly McLeod as Ser Joffrey Lonmouth and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, as seen in Episode 5 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Criston Cole snaps at Rhaenyra’s wedding feast

At Rhaenyra’s wedding, Laenor’s boyfriend, Ser Joffrey Monmouth (Solly McLeod), went snooping to discover who the princess was enamored with after reaching an agreement with Laenor (who is gay) in which they could both pursue whoever they wanted even after they were married.

Joffrey quickly figured out that Criston Cole was the one involved with the princess and struck up a conversation with him.

It was quickly established that the pair had a vested interest in the princess and her betrothed, and it seemed like everything was under control when the camera stepped away from them.

However, the situation then escalated offscreen into Criston attacking Joffrey. It didn’t take long for the Kingsguard to beat the poor man to death.

It all happened so quickly that viewers were left wondering what they had missed in the latest House of the Dragon episode.

Fabien Frankel stars as Ser Criston Cole in Season 1 of HBO's House of the Dragon
Fabien Frankel stars as Ser Criston Cole in Season 1 of House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO/Gary Moyes

Why did Criston Cole lose his temper?

Unfortunately, it is unclear what made Croston snap in Episode 6, although it has alluded to that Joffrey continued to press Criston about his affair with the princess. And this looks like the most likely reason for the outburst.

After all, Criston has had a pretty rough time of it with Rhaenyra not wanting him in the same way he wants her.

In addition, he broke his vow to remain celibate for the Kingsguard, and he likely took those vows very seriously.

It is also possible that Criston may have believed that Rhaenyra had discussed her relationship with him with her betrothed, Laenor, and that is how word got to Joffrey about the secret affair.

Criston might have seen this conversation as confirmation that rumors about him and the princess might run like wildfire through King’s Landing, and he killed Joffrey to keep the affair hidden.

Of course, all of this is not yet proven, and viewers will have to tune into next week’s episode if they want to learn more.

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

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