‘House of the Dragon’ Episode 5: Criston Cole Actor Explains the Reasoning Behind Shocking Wedding Moment

House of the Dragon might be a spinoff of Game of Thrones, but it feels very similar to its predecessor. Episode 5 of House of the Dragon made Game of Thrones fans reminisce as it featured a bloody wedding, albeit less traumatizing than the red wedding. The scene featured Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) taking a violent turn, and Frankel explains what made Cole snap. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Criston Cole ruins a wedding in ‘House of the Dragon’ episode 5

Solly McLeod as Joffrey Lonmouth and Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole in House of the Dragon episode 5
Solly McLeod as Joffrey Lonmouth and Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole | Ollie Upton/HBO

Criston Cole is the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for Viserys (Paddy Considine) and defender of Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock). Cole appears to be a loyal and dutiful knight until he gives into Rhaenyra, and the two sleep together in episode 4. In House of the Dragon episode 5, Cole confesses his love for Rhaenyra and asks her if she will run away with him.

Rhaenyra declines, saying she must do her duty to the realm, but says she and Cole can continue to see each other on the side. Cole confesses to Alicent (Emily Carey) but faces no punishment. While attending the wedding of Rhaenyra and Laenor Valeryon (John MacMillan), Cole reaches a breaking point and beats Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), Laenor’s lover, to death. 

Fabien Frankel explains Cole’s shocking wedding moment

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Frankel explained why Cole lashed out in House of the Dragon episode 5. The actor said it didn’t span from Rhaenyra’s rejection or jealousy of her marriage. He says Cole was insulted by how Rhaenyra rejected him and that he still had to stand there and protect her. 

“I don’t think it’s because [Rhaenyra] says she won’t go away with him. I think it’s the way in which she says she won’t go away with him,” Frankel explains. “That scene could so easily have been written [as] he asks her to run away with him, she understands why he feels this way, she can’t give up her role as queen, but what she will offer him is an out if he would like to leave the Kingsguard. That very much could be the scenario that happens. It isn’t. That to me is very interesting. She chose to keep him there. She made him stand through that wedding. That’s where the animosity builds.”

Fans will be surprised by how much Cole changes

In George R. R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood, Cole is a more important character than House of the Dragon may lead viewers to believe. Non-book readers don’t know much about Cole, and Frankel says viewers will be surprised at the direction this character goes from where he first started. 

“I think that Criston is, in a lot of ways, a fly on the wall, but without the Machiavellian nature of a character like Otto (Rhys Ifans),” Frankel states. “Otto is constantly planning and plotting and ears-to-the-ground. Criston Cole is ears-to-the-ground, but there’s no planning and plotting going on. You have a very interesting dynamic of someone who is overhearing every conversation that is happening, be it when he’s on the side of Rhaenyra or on the side of any of the other characters. And slowly as the show goes on — and long may [it] continue, I hope, into many more seasons for HBO — Criston Cole I believe, will become a very integral part of the Dance of the Dragons.”

House of the Dragon episode 5 is streaming on HBO Max. 

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