In the fifth episode of House of the Dragon, Criston Cole’s journey changes dramatically, with his remorse and rage leading to murder, suicidal thoughts, and a heartbreaking betrayal. When Criston and Rhaenyra sleep together at the end of House of the Dragon episode 4, their relationship undergoes a radical change.
In Episode 3, Criston had just expressed his thanks to Rhaenyra for giving him a position in the Kingsguard. After breaking his Kingsguard oath, Criston tries to escape his remorse and jealousy by fleeing to Essos with Rhaenyra, but the Princess refuses to do so since she must fulfill her responsibilities to the realm (i.e., Aegon’s prophecy).
Rhaenyra tries to keep Criston by taking him as her paramour despite the fact that she is unable to wed him because she and Laenor have an agreement that allows them to “dine” however they like. Rhaenyra’s suggestion is interpreted as just calling him a “whore,” implying that doing so would not at all absolve him of his guilt for having slept with her in the first place.
In House of the Dragon episode 5, as Rhaenyra gets ready for her wedding, Criston loses faith in her and finds an unexpected confidante in Queen Alicent Hightower. The conclusion of House of the Dragon episode 5 demonstrates that this is insufficient to lessen Criston’s humiliation. After confessing his transgressions to her, Alicent says she’s not going to expose him for breaking his promises.
Criston Cole kills the groom’s paramour, Joffrey Lonmouth, at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding, intensifying the tension that had already begun to grow. It is not made clear what Joffrey said to Criston to cause him to respond in this way, although it is implied that he kept bringing up Criston’s relationship with Rhaenyra.
After that, Criston goes to the godswood, takes off his white cloak, draws his dagger, and is about to plunge the blade into his own heart when Alicent Hightower stops him. Criston finds out that the Queen saved him after he killed a man and almost killed himself. This makes the Queen and Criston Rhaenyra’s main enemies in the upcoming House of the Dragon war.
Why Ser Criston Cole Killed Joffrey Lonmouth?
Although Criston tends to be calm and collected, dealing with the fallout from his relationship with Rhaenyra brings forth a degree of emotion that wasn’t previously shown in House of the Dragon. When Joffrey approached Criston and revealed that he was aware of his relationship with Rhaenyra, it was evident that Criston no longer could bear to hear about it.
Others in the realm shared Criston’s perception of himself as Rhaenyra’s “whore,” in addition to his own. He knew Joffrey was the most likely target for Criston’s wrath because the memory of sleeping with Rhaenyra was now a reminder of breaching his sacred vows and Joffrey had just shoved it in his face.
When Joffrey brought up the affair with Criston, it was also indicated that Rhaenyra had told Laenor about their night together (even though she did not), which could have given Criston hope that other people would learn the truth as well.
Although killing Joffrey was actually a more immediate means for Ser Criston Cole to avoid being reminded of the affair, he probably also saw it as a way to prevent the affair from coming to light. Instead of concentrating on killing Joffrey specifically at that point, Criston was turning his resentment and humiliation toward himself.
Criston probably didn’t believe that killing a guy at House of the Dragon episode 5’s wedding would make his punishment any worse because the information about him breaking his Kingsguard vows was already known by others.
Why Criston Was Going To Take His Own Life?
After killing Joffrey, Criston hides out in the godswood and gets ready to commit suicide. He lays his white cloak on the ground before bending to his knees, making it obvious what symbolism he is trying to convey. The greatest status anyone in Criston’s family had ever attained, joining the Kingsguard was regarded as the most significant thing he had ever done.
By sleeping with Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon episode 4 and killing an innocent man in episode 5, Criston swiftly tarnished his white cloak, making him feel unworthy to wear it or to live knowing he had lost it. Alicent wouldn’t tell on him and put him through torture for his sins, but Criston couldn’t keep living with the guilt of breaking his vows every day.