WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1 and George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood!Criston Cole may already be House of the Dragon’s most widely-hated character, but his new nickname will make him even worse. Although House of the Dragon is notable for the majority of its characters having gray moralities and committing horrible acts, Alicent’s protector Criston Cole has done little to redeem himself amidst the chaos of the Dance of the Dragons. Now serving as the Lord Commander of Aegon II Targaryen’s Kingsguard, Criston Cole’s bitter path toward revenge against Rhaenyra will only worsen as he leads the charge for the Greens in the Targaryen civil war.
While Daemon misnaming Criston in House of the Dragon episode 2 gave him the humorous moniker “Ser Crispin,” the Lord Commander’s new official nickname – per George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood book – is Criston “Kingmaker.” Not only will this nickname increase Criston’s arrogance, but it’s not even accurate. Criston simply placed the Conqueror’s crown on Aegon II Targaryen’s head; it was Alicent and Otto Hightower who truly made him King. Criston’s role in making Aegon the King was accomplished by killing the elderly Lord Lyman Beesbury, placing the Conqueror’s crown on Aegon’s head, and publicly introducing Aegon with the title of King, but Criston was not integral to the decades-long conspiracy that seated Aegon on the Iron Throne.
Why Criston Cole Is Hated So Much In House Of The Dragon
Beginning in House of the Dragon episode 5, Criston Cole became one of the series’ most hated characters. After sleeping with Rhaenyra, Criston attempted to relieve his guilt and shame by asking her to flee with him to Essos. When she rejected his offer due to her duty to the realm (and because she didn’t love him), Criston’s fury turned into bitterness and greater shame, which culminated in the knight gruesomely murdering Ser Joffrey Lonmouth at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding. Fast-forward ten years, Criston was still bitter over Rhaenyra’s rejection, childishly insulted her, hypocritically shamed her for taking Ser Harwin Strong as her lover, and treated her young sons with undeserved cruelty.
Criston continued to show his true colors as he and Alicent bonded over their shared bitterness toward Rhaenyra, which led to Criston championing Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne. Part of the reason why Criston is so disliked is that his ambition and motivations for power aren’t for himself, but to spite Rhaenyra. Otto Hightower may be a major villain in House of the Dragon, but his desire to keep Aegon on the Iron Throne is entirely self-serving, having little to do with Rhaenyra herself. Out of the main figures in the usurping Green party, Criston has the least compelling reason for betraying both Rhaenyra and King Viserys.
What Happens To Criston Cole In House Of The Dragon’s Future
Shortly after House of the Dragon‘s war begins, Criston Cole’s position is raised to the Hand of the King, replacing the more patient Otto Hightower. The Kingmaker then wins one of the first major conflicts in the Targaryen civil war when he, Aegon, and Aemond conspire to ambush and kill Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon Meleys in the Battle at Rook’s Rest. However, Criston and Aemond soon suffer a major loss when they march to Harrenhal in an attempt to attack Daemon Targaryen, as Daemon has already fled and taken King’s Landing with Rhaenyra by the time Criston’s host arrives.
Following the victories of the “Kingmaker” in House of the Dragon’s future, Criston Cole’s death will be satisfying for those who hate the character. When Criston departs Harrenhal, he heads south toward King’s Landing, where the Green army is confronted by thousands of Queen Rhaenyra’s soldiers. Criston “Kingmaker” agrees to yield if the Blacks spare his men’s lives, but when his request is denied, he challenges the army’s leaders. The Black archers swiftly kill Criston with three arrows, after which time hundreds of Green soldiers are slain in the “Butcher’s Ball.” Criston Cole’s House of the Dragon story then ends as the Black army marches into the First Battle of Tumbleton with the Kingmaker’s head on a spear.