This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon
One of the most dashing characters in House of the Dragon appears to have lost their good standing with fans after their shocking behavior in Episode 5 of the HBO series.
Fans took to the r/HouseOfTheDragon subreddit to express their dismay at the vindictiveness of Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). The conversation kicked off with a post from one user who declared, “Ser Criston Cole has become such a gross character in the span of one episode.”
The Redditor was appalled by Ser Criston’s attempts to mislead Rhaenyra Targaryen (Millie Alcock) by suggesting that she abandon her duty as heir to the Iron Throne to run off to the boondocks and live in obscure poverty with him. When Rhaenyra dismissed his proposal, his ego took center stage, exposing his skewed view of her as an object for him to possess or humble.
Fans were alarmed when it became clear that Ser Criston felt emasculated by Rhaenyra when he demanded to know if she wanted him to be her whore. The increasing panic in Ser Criston as he attempted to process Rhaenyra’s rejection of him saw him blame her for his choice to break his Kingsguard oath and be intimate with her. Once his victim narrative was in place, Ser Criston became filled with self-righteous anger and a deep desire to punish Rhaenyra through extreme acts.
Another fan pointed out that Frankel explained that Ser Criston’s underhanded ways were already on display in episode one when he bushwhacked Daemon Targaryen at the tournament.
Redditor bootysensei believes that Ser Criston is the embodiment of the proverbial man-child hiding behind a counterfeit “nice guy” persona.
Another Redditor took the view that Rhaenyra should have been more discerning and taken Ser Otto Hightower’s advice rather than elevate Ser Criston to Kingsguard.
TrentonRommy sympathized with Ser Criston’s identity crisis, while recognizing that he was responsible for his own actions. They pointed to the knight’s struggle with feelings of failure, helplessness, and shame and his desire to wipe the slate clean by reinventing himself with Rhaenyra somewhere else.
It seems a lot of fans are disgusted by the dark side of the Dream Boat from Dorne who was emotionally destabilized by his loss of control. However, the strong reaction to Ser Criston’s fall from grace is another testament to the compelling storytelling that’s made the series a runaway hit.
House of the Dragon is currently streaming on HBO Max.