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Ser Criston needs to chill the heck out

Crissy baby, wyd

Ser Criston Cole stands at the entrance of a room wearing his knight armor and holding his helmet in House of the Dragon. Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO
Joshua Rivera (he/him) is an entertainment and culture journalist specializing in film, TV, and video game criticism, the latest stop in a decade-plus career as a critic.

In a show absolutely lousy with terrible people, it takes a special kind of jerk to make the viewer stop and say, “OK, maybe that’s a bit much, dude.” Yet somehow, Ser Criston Cole manages to do it all the time, like a guy who’s determined to win a secret competition for House of the Dragon’s biggest jag.

The latest example of this was in this week’s episode, “The Green Council,” an intense hour that chronicled a swift coup of the Iron Throne on behalf of Prince Aegon, and by extension, Queen Alicent. It’s at the start of this coup, when the Small Council begins to make swift plans to install Aegon as king, that Criston continues his proud tradition of acting like a dingus.

As it turns out, Lord Beesbury is one of the few council members that isn’t down with replacing Rhaenyra as heir, and he isn’t quiet about it. After he threatens to leave, Ser Criston goes to force him back into his seat, but with such force that the old man’s head slams against the table, killing him. This accidental murder is convenient for the council’s goals, so Criston isn’t really punished, although it’s clear that everyone present thinks he’s a real bonehead.

Sir. Ser. Wyd. May I recommend a therapist. You can tell them about all the ways you’ve been a tool, and perhaps even work through them. Consider:

  • His absolute confusion that Rhaenyra, a young woman who has wanted nothing more than to inherit the Iron Throne, would not want to run off with him and live like a nobody in Dorne.
  • His refusal to deal with the fact that Rhaenyra was always going to marry someone else, looking so surly at her wedding celebration that when Ser Joffrey Lonmouth guessed he was Rhaenyra’s paramour, he beat the guy to death.
  • Continuing to hold a grudge against his ex to the point that not only does he become her best frenemy’s lackey, but he also bullies her kids!

It’s a credit to Fabien Frankel’s performance that every time Ser Criston appears on screen I swear under my breath, wondering out loud what this complete nincompoop is going to do next. Frankel has absolutely nailed the hottie bait-and-switch, transforming from suave Dornish swordsmith to monstrously petty ex. Frankel is very good at coming across as the kind of handsome that he is both unaware of his good looks but also confounded at the thought that someone would say no to his pretty face. It’s a set of talents perfect for depicting Ser Criston’s life as one of unexamined Hottie Privilege.

What a shame. It didn't have to be this way for Ser Criston. If only he studied the ways of the himbo as much as he studied the blade. Being a Kept Boy wouldn’t have been so bad! He might’ve had a shot at being the only happy person in King’s Landing.

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