Warning: Minor spoilers for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9, « The Green Council » ahead.Fabien Frankel, who plays Ser Criston Cole in HBO’s House of the Dragon, details his character’s bond with Alicent’s (Olivia Cooke) children. The Game of Thrones prequel series, set nearly 200 years before the events of the original HBO fantasy show, has featured several time jumps, causing many changes in its characters over the many years it has covered. However, Ser Criston may be the character who has changed the most in the eyes of viewers, going from a fan-favorite (for those new to the series) to one of the show’s most hated characters.
Several violent outbursts and his single-minded loyalty to Alicent even as she ramps up her treasonous plans have caused Ser Criston to lose points with audiences. Additionally, his behavior while acting as Master of Arms and training Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) and Alicent’s children only made him less likable, as he was overly harsh on Rhaenyra’s younger kids while favoring Alicent’s children. House of the Dragon episode 9, « The Green Council, » sees the knight crown Alicent’s eldest son Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney), the action which earns his book counterpart in George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood the moniker, « Kingmaker. »
While speaking with The New York Times, Frankel explained his character’s devotion to Alicent’s children, which mimics his loyalty to Alicent herself. The actor affirmed a seemingly significant theme on the show, which attributes Alicent’s children more to the queen than her husband and their father, King Viserys (Paddy Considine). Despite the kids’ Targaryen blood, they mainly interact with their mother and Alicent’s hold on them has been clear throughout the series, so it makes sense that Ser Criston would equate protecting her with protecting them. See Frankel’s full quote below:
« I think he sees it as his duty, by proxy of being Alicent’s sworn protector, to protect these boys. He’s been very close to a father figure to them. »
Frankel’s mention of Ser Criston as a father figure to Alicent’s children is surprising, since viewers haven’t seen much of that side of their relationship. For instance, he didn’t take Rhaenyra’s son’s eye at Alicent’s behest in House of the Dragon season 1 episode 7, « Driftmark », saying he is only her protector. However, the knight was quick to protect Helaena (Phia Saban) when Rhaenys (Eve Best) arrived with her dragon at Aegon’s coronation. Meanwhile, episode hints at a potential future rift between Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) and Ser Criston, as the former reveals his desire for the throne despite their mission to crown Aegon. Regardless, Ser Criston’s relationship with Alicent, as Frankel says, clearly extends to his protection of her children, with episode 9 even hinting at a romantic undertone beneath his service to the queen.
Though Ser Criston started out as one of Rhaenyra’s fervent supporters, her rejection of his proposal to run off with him and Alicent’s pardoning of his murderous actions fully brought him to Alicent’s side. He may be duty-bound to protect Alicent due to being sworn to her, but the two have also bonded over perceiving Rhaenyra as a common enemy and seeking to keep her off the throne due to their personal issues with the princess. As House of the Dragon moves into season 2, it’s possible that Ser Criston’s devotion to Alicent and her children will be tested, but for now, he remains one of the Greens’ biggest allies.
Source: The New York Times