If there’s one thing that we know, it is that Ser Criston Cole has become the sworn shield and the biggest ally of Queen Alicent Hightower in her personal vendetta against Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. However, one of the things that we learned in episode 9 of House of the Dragon is that there is a possible development in the relationship between the two, as it was hinted by Alicent that there could be something more between them. So, is Criston Cole in love with Alicent Hightower?
It is possible that Ser Criston Cole is indeed in love with Queen Alicent Hightower, especially after spending a lot of time with one another for years. But the surprising part is that it was revealed by Emily Carey, the actress of young Alicent, that her character was actually in love with Criston.
The development in the relationship between Ser Criston and Queen Alicent is something that we should all keep an eye on, as it could add a new wrinkle to the overall development of the storyline and the rivalry between the queen and the princess. Of course, Alicent is now a widowed former queen that is now free to love another. That said, let’s look at this discussion in greater detail.
Is Ser Criston Cole In Love With Queen Alicent Hightower?
Ser Criston Cole was one of the earliest heartthrobs introduced in House of the Dragon, as he was able to catch the attention of not only Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen but also Lady Alicent Hightower during the first few episodes of the series. However, when he became the sworn protector of Rhaenyra, that was when things went out of control for him, as this led him to sleep with her after the princess seduced him. On top of that, he nearly committed suicide after he killed Ser Joffrey Lonmouth out of rage and lost all honor in his life.
However, the one who rescued him from that dark part of his life was Queen Alicent, who needed an ally in him after she had decided to finally wage a political war against Rhaenyra, following the many different disgraceful things that the princess did during her youth and even after she got married. Since then, Ser Criston has been the sworn protector of the queen and has become her closest ally in court because he was willing to do everything for her.
Of course, we all know for a fact that the queen was still married during the time when she and Criston were spending a lot of time together. Considering that Alicent tries her best to make sure that she was always in a morally upright position and was not about to become a hypocrite, her relationship with Criston was nothing more than just an alliance between the queen and her sworn shield. However, there seems to be a development in their relationship in episode 9 when King Viserys was already dead.
In episode 9, Alicent announced to the Small Council that the king was already dead and Viserys told her that he wished for Aegon to become the new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms instead of Princess Rhaenyra. Lord Beesbury, who was close to both King Jaehaerys and King Viserys, opposed what Alicent said because he knew the king longer than anyone else on that council and was well aware that Viserys was not one to change his mind at the final second. That was when Criston Cole pushed the old man down to his seat hard enough that he hit his head on it and died as a result.
When Ser Criston tried to explain himself, he only said that he wasn’t willing to allow Lord Beesbury to call the queen a liar. Killing a man for a perceived insult was not a normal act for someone who only needed to protect his queen.
Meanwhile, when they found out that Prince Aegon was not in the Red Keep, Otto Hightower sent the Cargyll twins to go looking for him while telling them to bring the prince to him first. Alicent knew about this, and that was when he told Criston to go searching for Aegon. She told him to fulfill this quest to the best of his abilities for all that he felt about her.
Criston’s actions towards Lord Beesbury and Alicent’s words suggest that there is a good chance that the knight is indeed in love with the queen. This is something that the series might want to explore more moving forward, especially in the next few seasons.
But, as of now, this is simply speculation on our part, as there are no clear indications that Criston is indeed in love with the former queen. All we know is that he is incredibly loyal to her and is willing to kill a man for a simple insult.
What Is The Relationship Between Criston And Alicent?
As mentioned, there is a good chance that Criston Cole could be in love with Alicent Hightower but is not able to profess it or manifest it into anything more than just mere admiration because of the fact that Alicent was still married to the king. On top of that, Criston had sullied his white cloak before when he slept with Rhaenyra. At this point, it would be difficult for him to sully his cloak even further as he had taken an oath of celibacy when he became a knight of the Kingsguard.
But there is also a good chance that Alicent is also in love with Criston. Earlier, Emily Carey, the actress that played young Alicent, admitted that her character was actually in love with Ser Criston when she and Rhaenyra were still young. In breaking down how the relationship between Alicent and Rhaenyra turned sour, she said:
“First of all, there’s the betrayal of, ‘You lied to me.’ Then the betrayal of, ‘I swear this upon the memory of my mother,’ which is what you see in Episode 2 with their shared trauma. It’s something that they bond over. Alicent took Rhaenyra to the Sept and showed this emotional vulnerability, and let her see this part of her that she doesn’t really show to anyone. And then it’s the betrayal of, ‘Hold on. You slept with him, and I’m in love with him, and you know this. That’s not fair.’ Alicent is all about duty, through and through. It’s always duty versus heart with her… I’m glad that I got to show how she became this angry woman. And I think that scene is such a turning point.”
In that regard, it is clear that Alicent used to be in love with Criston Cole during her youth, and that was one of the reasons why she ended up getting angry at Rhaenyra as the princess also knew that her best friend had feelings for him. Then again, because Alicent is all about duty, she couldn’t do anything with her feelings for Ser Criston because she was the queen consort of King Viserys.
However, now that Alicent is free of her marriage and is no longer the queen, she could now manifest her love into something more than just a friendship and an alliance with Criston Cole. After all, it was also hinted that Criston is in love with her. And this could be something that the series could take a good look at heading into the future so that they could add more wrinkles to the storyline and the rivalry between Alicent and Rhaenyra.