WARNING! This article contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9, “The Green Council.”Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) has officially fallen out of favor with House of the Dragon fans after a sequence in season 1, episode 9 “The Green Council” earned the character social media’s scorn. House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, and features a band of characters with the dignified last names familiar to the original series, most notably Targaryen. The cast is rounded out with characters from the series’ source material, George R.R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood.
Cole’s backstory is an admirable ascent from a common man to the respectable position of a knight in the royal Kingsguard. Early in the series, he was intimate with teenaged Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock), and once posed that the two flee King’s Landing together forever. Since Rhaenyra’s rejection, Cole has been bitter towards the Princess and allied himself with her one-time friend turned rival, Queen Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke). Now a loyal servant of the Hightowers, known as “The Greens”, Cole has chosen his side of the Targaryen civil war.
In House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9, the small council convenes after King Viserys (Paddy Considine)’s death by leprosy. It’s revealed that Otto Hightower had been secretly plotting with senior members of the court to install Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) as King, much to the surprise of the Master of Coin Lord Beesbury (Bill Paterson). Lord Beesbury, a peripheral character in the series but one with the unmistakable look of Westorosi wisdom, dissents against the plot and stands to begin castigating Hightower and his cohorts. Ser Criston approaches Beesbury from behind, forcibly shoves him downward, and smashes his head into the table, killing him. Check out some fan reactions to Lord Beesbury’s death below:
How Ser Criston Cole Became One of House of the Dragon’s Most Hated Characters
It’s unclear if Cole murders Beesbury intentionally or by accident; in either case, he owns the killing without remorse. Cole draws his sword on Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Harrold Westerling (Graham McTavish) to defend his sudden act of violence as a gesture of good will towards Queen Alicent, which strengthens the perception of Cole’s loyalty among members of the small council. But, fans have decided that Beesbury was right in that the small council’s mission to undermine Rhaenyra’s ascension to the Iron Throne is an unjust cause. To the viewers, there is a righteous side to the Dance of the Dragons, and Criston Cole is not on it.
Also in House of the Dragon season 1, episode 9, Cole begins to forge an important relationship with Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell), the younger brother to the new King and next in line to the throne. While searching Flea Bottom for Aegon, Aemond tells to Cole that he believes he is better suited and more deserving of the throne than his brother. If he were unshakably loyal to Alicent, Cole might’ve reported Aemond’s closeted aspirations to rule to the Queen as a sign of disloyalty in the ranks. Aemond bested Cole in swordsmanship during episode 8 “Lord of the Tides”; this low-stakes battle during a training exercise could be foreshadowing more action to come between Cole and Aemond.
Next: Full Breakdown Of Aegon Becoming King & All Future Implications
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