Here’s What ‘House of the Dragon’ Might Have in Store for Ser Criston Cole

house of the dragon season 2
What Does ‘HOTD’ Have in Store for Ser Criston?HBO

It’s no secret that the House of the Dragon fandom has it out for Ser Criston Cole. The former knight and spiteful lover is number one on the list of characters audiences love to hate. In season 2 so far, he’s switched allegiances from Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) to Alicent (Olivia Cooke). Even worse, he was absent as two assassins snuck into the castle and killed the king’s heir while the boy slept. Now that the season 1 heartthrob is beheading people and leading the fantasy series down a path of war, some fans are eager to see his character’s demise.

“I only ever see I hate Criston Cole. This dude’s a murderous fucker. I hope he dies,” his portrayer, Fabien Frankel, told Esquire. He recently limited his comments on Instagram after hate mail from House of the Dragon fans became a bit too personal. “He’s a walking contradiction. He’s obsessed with purity, honor, rigor, and structure, and he breaks every one of those forms,” the actor said. “What I’m finding interesting is whether it’s even possible for an audience to be won back over. Not in the sense that they like Cole but that they forgive him.”

Much like every other character on House of the Dragon, Cole will eventually meet his end. While there’s a chance that the HBO series will forge its own path and creates a new ending for Cole, read below to find out what might happen during his final moments in Westeros.

house of the dragon season 2
“I just hope they do it justice,” Frankel says of his character’s arc.Theo Whiteman - HBO

House of the Dragon vs. Fire & Blood

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood novel, set nearly two hundred years before the events of Game of Thrones. HOTD’s writing team takes its creatives liberties when it can, but the story so far has largely stayed true to the original text. Ser Criston’s character, however, has received the most revises.

“A lot of the stuff that happens to Criston—like seeing him fighting and the relationship with Alicent—is not in the books,” Frankel explained. “I’m really glad they put that in. It’s a really interesting arc. I just hope they do it justice.”

It’s possible that House of Dragon will continue to amend Ser Criston’s arc even until his death, especially since it involves many characters the series has yet to introduce. For fans of Frankel’s character, that means the event likely wouldn’t occur until late in season 3 or even in a potential fourth season. For now, here’s how it all goes down.

house of the dragon season 2
Ser Criston has become a House of the Dragon characters you love to hate. HBO

Criston Cole Dies on the Battlefield

According to Fire & Blood, Ser Criston Cole meets his end after running into several lords of the Riverlands and the North. Rhaenyra and Daemon take King’s Landing unprotected after tricking Aemond and Cole into abandoning their home and striking at Harrenhal. After the two allies argue about next steps, they part ways and pursue their own plans to win the throne back. Some accounts even gossip that Aemond and Cole were torn apart due to a love triangle with Alys Rivers. As Aemond scorches the Riverlands with dragon fire, Ser Criston is left to fight the Riverland lords and the Northmen with outnumbered forces and a ravaged battleground.

Cole’s group is ambushed by Rhaenrya’s best fighters in the Riverlands. A Myrish sellsword and mummer named Black Trombo reportedly hides his men among the piles of dead bodies, surprising Cole’s army with a sneak attack. The ambush is just a prelude for a larger attack planned by Ser Garibald Gray, Northman Roderick “Roddy the Ruin” Dustin, and Pate of Longleaf—a knight who earned the title “Lionslayer” after killing Jason Lannister. When asked who the men are by one of his squires, Cole responds in the book, “Our death.”

house of the dragon season 2
Cole realizes that he has no place in a war with dragons. Theo Whiteman - HBO

Acting as an honored knight, Cole surrenders and pleads for them to spare his men’s lives. “I made my promise to the dead,” Ser Garibald replies. “I told them I would build a sept for them out of traitors’ bones. I don’t have near enough bones yet.” Cole then calls for trial by combat, which is also denied. Before he knows it, three arrows hit his body—striking him in the belly, the chest, and the neck. Red Robb Rivers, a bowman of House Blackwood and the best archer in Westeros, allegedly delivers the fatal shots. Then, Ser Garibald and his men slaughter Cole’s army. The event is dubbed “The Butcher’s Ball” after Garibald states, “Today was butchery, not battle.”

While many of the aforementioned characters have yet to make their debut on House of the Dragon, House Blackwood recently appeared as part of Daemon’s plot in Harrenhal. At the end of episode 4, Lord Blackwood tells Daemon that he’ll fight for Rhaenyra on one condition. He asks for Daemon’s help in routing one of their longtime rivals, House Bracken. We’ll see how the war in the Riverlands ties back to Cole and Aemond once the two make their way to Harrenhal. That is, if they make the trip at all.

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