‘House of the Dragon’ is an HBO series that takes us back to the world of ‘Game of Thrones,’ of which the former is a prequel. ‘House of the Dragon’ is based on certain sections from George R. R. Martin’s 2018 book ‘Fire & Blood’ just like ‘Game of Thrones’ is based on Martin’s ongoing magnum opus, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’ The plot revolves around the bitter war of succession between two factions of the royal Targaryen dynasty — the Greens and the Blacks.
As we are only in the early part of the adaptation, there is still some time before the inevitable carnage begins. For now, alliances are being made, and relationships are being redefined. Among them, the relationship between Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy as adult and Milly Alcock as teenage) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel), the member of the Kingsguard that Rhaenyra herself selected, is arguably the most complex one. If you are wondering whether they will end up together, we got you covered. BOOK AND SHOW SPOILERS AHEAD.
Will Rhaenyra and Criston End Up Together?
In ‘House of the Dragon,’ Criston is common-born, the son of Lord Dondarrion’s steward. His family is a minor house in the Dornish Marches. Criston is a remarkably skilled warrior. Ser Arlan Dondarrion knighted him following a border conflict with Dorne. In Heir’s Tournament, Criston defeats at least three opponents before facing Daemon Targaryen. After His victory, he asks Rhaenyra for a favor, and she happily grants him that by throwing her laurel wreath at him. Six months later, Rhaenyra inducts him into the Kingsguard.
In episode 4, titled ‘King of the Narrow Sea,’ it is revealed that Criston has accompanied Rhaenyra in her reluctant and unsuccessful search for a husband. After they return to King’s Landing, Rhaenyra ventures into the city with Daemon. When she returns, she seduces Criston.
The following morning, Rhaenyra discovers that her father has found out about her nightly escapade with Daemon, though he doesn’t know about her and Criston. The books describe the following events, and the series will probably change things in the adaptation process. ‘Fire & Blood’ utilizes the unreliable narrator and offers accounts of events from various perspectives. The creators decided quite early in the process that they would not follow the book in this regard and depict the events as if it’s part of a singular narrative. As series co-creator Ryan J. Condal puts it, the show version is “the objective truth of this actual history was, as we saw it.”
In the books, only the account of the court jester Mushroom reports Criston’s involvement while describing the falling out between Daemon and Viserys. After Viserys informed his daughter that she was to marry Laenor Velaryon, Septon Eustace claims that Criston approached the princess, told her that he loved her, and urged her to run away with him across the narrow sea. The vows of the Kingsguard included not marrying, fathering children, and owning lands. According to Eustace, after Criston confessed his feelings, Rhaenyra refused, reminding him of their respective duties.
However, Mushroom claims that it was Rhaenyra who went to Criston, and the latter spurned her. Either way, the events turned them into bitter enemies. And this enmity between them played a critical role during the dance of the dragons. In the tournament celebrating Rhaenyra and Laenor’s marriage, Criston broke a collarbone and shattered an elbow of Ser Harwin Strong or Breakbones, who would later become Rhaenyra’s alleged lover and father to her first three sons.
After Viserys’ death, Criston, who had become the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard by then, crowned Aegon II Targaryen as the new king of the Seven Kingdoms and became known as the Kingmaker. During the dance of the dragons, he served as the Hand of the King and was eventually killed at the battle known as Butcher’s Ball in 130 AC. Rhaenyra also died in 130 AC when Aegon II fed her to his dragon, Sunfyre.