Episode seven of “House of the Dragon” was one of the twistiest and most shocking yet, but it did leave a lot of viewers with a question about what might have been going on off-screen: Are Queen Alicent (Olivia Cooke) and Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) sleeping together? If they are, that would have inadvertently led to the fight that tore the Targaryen family apart. Let’s consider the facts.
The relationship between the two started in earnest in episode five, after Criston slept with Rhaenyra (played then by Milly Alcock). Alicent speaks to him to see if he knows anything about Rhaenyra sleeping with her uncle, Daemon (Matt Smith), but Criston confesses to their own liaison instead. Alicent feels betrayed because she defended Rhaenyra’s virginity to the king (though technically Rhaenyra hadn’t told her she hadn’t slept with anyone, just that she hadn’t been intimate with Daemon). At the end of the episode, Criston kills Rhaenyra’s husband’s lover, and he almost decides to kill himself, but Alicent stops him.
In the next episode, we meet them again after a 10-year time jump, and they’re clearly thick as thieves. Criston is Alicent’s sworn sword, keeping watch outside her chambers. They also gleefully share rumors about the children of Rhaenyra (now played by Emma D’Arcy) and Laenor Velaryon (John MacMillan) together. And in episode seven, they somehow seem even closer. Criston is glued to Alicent’s side, and they’re even framed in the same shots together. When Lord Larys (Matthew Needham) looks in her direction, Criston seems defensive. And the knight refuses to give up his shift standing outside Alicent’s door at night.
All of this would be slightly suspect, but what takes the insinuations to another level is the fight that breaks out between Aemond (Leo Ashton), Jacaerys (Leo Hart), Lucerys (Harvey Sadler), Baela (Shani Smethurst), and Rhaena (Eva Ossei-Gerning). All five go at it loudly in the hallway, and you can’t help but wonder where the Kingsguard are, who should definitely be watching the hallways and protecting these kids from each other. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) wonders the same thing later, but gets no answer. But Criston is at Alicent’s side during the fight over Aemond’s lost eye, and when she attacks Rhaenyra with a dagger, Criston is happy to rush into the chaos with her.
Could Ser Criston have missed the children’s fighting in the hallway because he was entertaining the queen in her chambers? It would be quite the surprise from Alicent, whose hatred of Rhaenyra is fueled by self-righteousness about the different ways they conduct their sex lives. Alicent has only slept with the king, while Rhaenyra has had multiple partners before and during her marriage. Yet, if Alicent is sleeping with Criston, she wouldn’t be the first person to be a hypocrite, so it’s definitely still on the table.
Ser Criston and Queen Alicent’s Relationship in the Book “Fire and Blood”
In George R. R. Martin’s “Fire and Blood,” Alicent and Criston are definitely close, and they form the center of the greens alliance. The book never makes it clear why, exactly, Criston chose that side in the war. There’s no mention of a romantic connection between them.
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