How Does Ser Criston Cole Die in House of the Dragon? (& What Happens to Him)


One of the characters that took a quick 360-degree turn during the events of House of the Dragon is Ser Criston Cole, who used to be so devoted to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen as her sworn shield but immediately turned on her and became Queen Alicent Hightower’s protector and greatest ally. In that regard, he is one of the enemies that Rhaenyra has to defeat in her quest to become queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Ser Criston, of course, ended up dying due to his treachery. So, how does Ser Criston Cole die in House of the Dragon?

Ser Criston Cole dies during the Butcher’s Ball in the middle of the Dance of the Dragons. This happened after Rhaenyra took King’s Landing while Criston was marching to Harrenhal to take the castle. After taking the castle, he marched south to meet up with the Hightowers but was met and killed by the Blacks.

One of the classic examples of a scorned lover is Criston Cole, who was quick to change sides after getting rejected by Rhaenyra. In that regard, it was his hatred for Rhaenyra that made him forget about his honor and dignity when he himself crowned Aegon II as the king of the Seven Kingdoms. And he paid for his treachery with his life during the Targaryen civil war.

What Happens To Ser Criston Cole In House Of The Dragon?

During the first few episodes of House of the Dragon, we were introduced to the handsome knight named Ser Criston Cole, who was skilled enough to defeat Daemon Targaryen in a duel. This allowed him to earn a place in the Kingsguard as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen’s sworn shield. And this was also one of the reasons why they became close enough to the point that they made love after Daemon left Rhaenyra all alone in King’s Landing during their night out together.

criston 2

Criston wanted to redeem his sullied honor by proposing to Rhaenyra that they get married and run off to the Free Cities together. But Rhaenyra wanted to remain in Westeros to rule as queen while continuing her affair with Criston, who didn’t want to be her whore. As such, he became a scorned lover that ultimately learned to hate her for forcing him to forget about his honor and dignity when she slept with him and rejected his love after.


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Ten years after Rhaenyra married Ser Laenor Velaryon, Ser Criston became Queen Alicent’s sworn protector and most trusted ally in their mutual quest to bring Rhaenyra down. And then, years after getting rejected, Criston was still bitter about what Rhaenyra did to him a decade ago, as he held on to his grudge for a very long time.

Eventually, Ser Criston Cole becomes Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and this only made Alicent much more powerful as she had the Kingsguard and the Hand of the King on her side during King Viserys’s final years. Eventually, Viserys died, and Criston and Alicent assembled the Small Council to convene while keeping the king’s death a secret from the public. All but one of the members of the Small Council agreed to put Aegon on the Iron Throne. As such, it was Ser Criston Cole himself who crowned King Aegon II using Aegon the Conqueror’s crown, as he went on to become known as the Kingmaker.

Aegon II crowned
Aegon II Targaryen is crowned by Criston, by Douglas Wheatley

It was this moment that allowed the Dance of the Dragons to happen, as Rhaenyra Targaryen wasn’t willing to allow her younger brother and Ser Criston to take the Iron Throne away from her. And Ser Criston, as Lord Commander, became one of the most loyal fighters on the side of the Greens.

During the war, Aegon II, known to be an impatient man, became frustrated with Otto Hightower’s slow and methodical ways of doing things, as this led him to fire his own grandfather and replace him as Hand of the King with none other than Criston Cole. This allowed Criston to rise to the position of the second most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms. And it was as Hand of the King that he was able to win several decisive battles during the Dance of the Dragons,

One of the most important battles that Ser Criston himself planned was the ambush on Princess Rhaenys and Meleys during the Battle at Rook’s Rest, as this allowed the Greens to defeat one of the seasoned dragonriders of the Blacks. He was also the one who urged Aemond Targaryen to march with him to Harrenhal, which was being held by Daemon Targaryen at that time.

However, when Criston and Aemond reached Harrenhal, Daemon was nowhere to be found. That was when they found out that he joined Rhaenyra in their assault on King’s Landing. Neither Criston nor Aemond was there to protect the capital from Rhaenyra, who took King’s Landing and sat on the Iron Throne for about half a year.

How Does Ser Criston Cole Die?

After Ser Criston Cole and Aemond Targaryen took Harrenhal, he urged the prince to march with him south and join the large Hightower army led by Lord Ormund Hightower. But Aemond refused to do so and decided to fly around the Riverlands to burn the different Black settlements using Vhagar. As such, Criston had to march south without the protection of a dragonrider and a dragon, as the Blacks saw this as a good opportunity to weaken the Greens.

Cole tried to march down to the south to join up with the Hightower host there, but they were steadily harassed by the Rivermen that were allied with the Blacks. As such, when Criston and the Green army were about to reach the Blackwater Rush, they were met with an army of Blacks that outnumbered them thoroughly.


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Criston Cole understood that they had no chance to win that battle, so he tried to surrender so that the Blacks would spare his men. But he was refused, as this led him to challenge the lords that were there to meet him. He was struck down by archers as the Rivermen killed Criston Cole and his men during the event known as the Butcher’s Ball. Criston’s head was decapitated from his body and was used by the Blacks to intimidate the Greens in the event known as the First Battle of Tumbleton.

In the end, Criston Cole died without even seeing the end of the war that he helped start. It was merely because he was a scorned lover that he betrayed Rhaenyra and decided to support Alicent and Aegon’s claim to the Iron Throne. It was a fate befitting a traitor, as he lost all of his honor when he decided that Rhaenyra was not fit to be queen just because she rejected him.

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