Ser Criston Cole cast for House of the Dragon!

fabien frankel

Oh happy day- George R.R. Martin came down from the mountain and donned his froggy cap once again for some casting news! The ASOIAF author himself announced the newest casting for House of the Dragon, confirming a role that will be very familiar to Ice and Fire fans. Martin announced that the Kingmaker, Ser Criston Cole, will be played by Fabien Frankel.

Cole plays a key role in the Dance of the Dragons, as his nickname hints. Martin gives the actor a worthy intro on his blog:

He is the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven.   He has no claim to lands or titles, all he has is his honor and his skill with sword and lance.

He is a challenger, a champion, cheered by the commons, beloved of the ladies.

He is a lover (or is he?), a seducer (or is he?), a betrayer (or is he?), a breaker of hearts and a maker of kings.

….

In some of his other roles, Frankel has been the son of Dennis Franz (NYPD BLUE) and the lover of Emilia Clarke (LAST CHRISTMAS).   And now he is getting tangled up with some more Targaryens.   We shall see how that goes.

Welcome to Westeros, Fabien.

And do keep that sword sharp.

It’s exciting to see another legendary character cast! We finally have a face for the name and the deeds. I’m looking forward to seeing what Frankel brings to the HOTD mix.

27 responses

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    1. WHOOHOO!!!

      It’s been a while since I’ve checked in (which means I’ll be binging posts now)… Are we still doing Hodor?

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    2. Pigeon,

      I can help you out with some Fire and Blood excerpts! Hidden some of the information in case of spoilers! 🙂

      He’s a member of King Viserys’s kingsguard, a melee champion, 23 years old with black hair and green eyes:

      During that same fateful year, Ser Criston Cole was appointed to the Kingsguard to fill the place created by the death of the legendary Ser Ryam Redwyne. Born the son of a steward in service to Lord Dondarrion of Blackhaven, Ser Criston was a comely young knight of three-and-twenty years. He first came to the attention of the court when he won the melee held at Maidenpool in honor of King Viserys’s accession. In the final moments of the fight, Ser Criston knocked Dark Sister from Prince Daemon’s hand with his morningstar, to the delight of His Grace and the fury of the prince. Afterward, he gave the seven-year-old Princess Rhaenyra the victor’s laurel and begged for her favor to wear in the joust. In the lists, he defeated Prince Daemon once again, and unhorsed both of the celebrated Cargyll twins, Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk of the Kingsguard, before falling to Lord Lymond Mallister.

      With his pale green eyes, coal black hair, and easy charm, Cole soon became a favorite of all the ladies at court…not the least amongst them Rhaenyra Targaryen herself. So smitten was she by the charms of the man she called “my white knight” that Rhaenyra begged her father to name Ser Criston her own personal shield and protector. His Grace indulged her in this, as in so much else. Thereafter Ser Criston always wore her favor in the lists and became a fixture at her side during feasts and frolics.

      During the tourney when Team Green (Alicent) vs Team Black (Rhaenyra) became a thing, “Ser Criston Cole, wearing Princess Rhaenyra’s favor, unhorsed all of the queen’s champions, including two of her cousins and her youngest brother, Ser Gwayne Hightower.”
      There are rumors Criston and Rhaenyra had an affair — and over who pursued who. In one account:

      When Viserys arranges for a marriage between his daughter Rhaenyra with that of Laenor Velaryon, Rhaenyra objected, observing that Laenor may most likely be homosexual and has never showed any interest in women. Viserys pleaded with Rhaenyra, cajoled, and finally laid down the law with her — threatening her heirship. Rhaenyra caved.

      So that night, there are two accounts: one is Criston comes to Rhaenyra, encouraging her to come with him across the Narrow Sea and marry him. He explained he could become a sellsword but Rhaenyra refused him, saying that is not a life she could live as she is a Targaryen princess.

      A contrasting account is Rhaenyra came to him and offered him her maidenhead but Criston would refuse to break his Kingsguard vows. So she angrily goes to Ser Harwin Strong, who wanted Rhaenyra. Strong takes her virginity.

      Either way, this turns Criston against Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra later gives her favour to Harwin Strong so Criston, denied the favour once always bestowed to him by Rhaenyra, wears Queen Alicent’s
      favour and wins the tourney — and quite aggressively (leading to the death of one of the challengers) — at Rhaenyra and Laenor’s wedding. Viserys was angry the conduct Criston displayed while Alicent requested Criston as her personal protector and Criston goes Team Green. He trains Alicent’s sons, and eventually supports Aegon.

      Upon Viserys’s death, “the green council” gathers in Alicent’s chambers. They argue who should inherit the crown — Viserys’s son Aegon or the heir he named himself, Rhaenyra. Criston, among others for obvious reasons, speaks against Rhaenyra inheriting the crown:

      Ser Criston Cole spoke up. Should the princess reign, he reminded them, Jacaerys Velaryon would rule after her. “Seven save this realm if we seat a bastard on the Iron Throne.” He spoke of Rhaenyra’s wanton ways and the infamy of her husband. “They will turn the Red Keep into a brothel. No man’s daughter will be safe, nor any man’s wife. Even the boys…we know what Laenor was.”

      When Lord Beesbury refuses to support taking the crown from Rhaenyra, he is either imprisoned where he dies or Criston kills him:

      As to what happened next, our sources differ. Grand Maester Orwyle tells us that Lord Beesbury was seized at the door by the command of Ser Otto Hightower and escorted to the dungeons. Confined to a black cell, he would in time perish of a chill whilst awaiting trial.

      Septon Eustace tells it elsewise. In his account, Ser Criston Cole forced Lord Beesbury back into his seat and opened his throat with a dagger. Mushroom charges Ser Criston with his lordship’s death as well, but in his version Cole grasped the old man by the back of his collar and flung him out a window, to die impaled upon the iron spikes in the dry moat below.

      Either way, after Beesbury, there is no more dissent. The death of the king is kept quiet I believe, and they prepare for war against Rhaenyra. Cole arrests any who may support Rhaenyra.

      Criston would later crown Aegon. Aemon is unhappy with his grandfather, Otto Hightower, as Hand and makes Criston his Hand instead (““My new Hand is a steel fist,” he boasted. “We are done with writing letters.”). They plan the vengeance against Rhaenyra for the death of Helaena’s son, Prince Jaeherys, by Blood and Cheese (“We will pay the princess back in her own bloody coin,” he told the king.”)

      Cole’s forces take Duskendale and Rook’s Rest, where Aegon and his brother Aemond kill Princess Rhaenys (not Rhaenyra!), Aegon is severely wounded. Aemond does not assume the style of ‘king’ but takes on the title of ‘Protect of the Realm’ in Aegon’s stead for about a year with Cole still as Hand (“And so one-eyed Aemond the Kinslayer took up the iron-and-ruby crown of Aegon the Conqueror. “It looks better on me than it ever did on him,” the prince proclaimed.)

      Aemond and Cole take Harrenhal and when Cole is marching the forces south, he is ambushed by Rhaenyra’s supporters from the North. Cole, knowing they have geater strength, tries to negotiate for their lives. Ser Garbibald Grey refuses. So Cole challenges challenges three to fight him. Longleaf the Lionslayer opts for three more to face Cole. And he dies!

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    3. Oh yes, I’ve seen this actor very recently – he played Dominique in “The Serpent”. He was excellent.

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    4. Adrianacandle,

      As I don’t mind spoilers, on the contrary, I enjoyed getting information about the previously unknown character, thank you! Is this from Fire and Blood? I have just begun reading the book.

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    5. Shy Lady Dragon: As I don’t mind spoilers, on the contrary, I enjoyed getting information about the previously unknown character, thank you! Is this from Fire and Blood? I have just begun reading the book.

      Yes, all those included excerpts are from Fire & Blood! It looks like you’ll be getting familiar with the story as you’ve begun reading it as well! I’m currently trying to re-familiarize myself with it 🙂

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    6. Adrianacandle,

      I’ve been thinking at rereading ASOIAF for some years, as my book knowledge has been fading away and my several (read: many) times of watching the TV show has blurred the lines even more. I don’t clearly know why I haven’t, but I’m sure it has something to do with being disappointed by not getting new volumes.

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    7. Shy Lady Dragon:
      Adrianacandle,

      I’ve been thinking at rereading ASOIAF for some years, as my book knowledge has been fading away and my several (read: many) times of watching the TV show has blurred the lines even more. I don’t clearly know why I haven’t, but I’m sure it has something to do with being disappointed by not getting new volumes.

      Oh, yes, that’s very understandable because it’s always disappointing when we’ve still not got the unpublished books. Still, I have a modicum of hope. Foolish hope, probably, but hope 🙂 Fire & Blood does contain completed stories but the only thing is it reads more like a history book, which can be pretty dry, rather than from character perspectives (Dunk & Egg is written that way too).

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    8. Adrianacandle:
      Pigeon,

      I can help you out with some Fire and Blood excerpts! Hidden some of the information in case of spoilers! 🙂

      He’s a member of King Viserys’s kingsguard, a melee champion, 23 years old with black hair and green eyes:

      Ah, perfect! Thank you! 😊❤

      I believe I shall hate him. 😄

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    9. Adrianacandle,
      I don’t mind the history book style because I like history, I think, and I have read real history biographies (several about Napoleon). I haven’t finished The World of Ice and Fire, but I found it generally enjoyable. What I didn’t like, actually, was Dunk and Egg, which I know a lot of people love, because I had had no idea what to expect. And it was no ASOIAF… I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters, not even the protagonists 🙁

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    10. Pigeon,

      No problem!!

      I’m undecided how I feel about Cole but… I’m kind of hoping for a love to hate, depending on how his character plays out 😀

      Shy Lady Dragon,

      I don’t mind the history book style because I like history, I think, and I have read real history biographies (several about Napoleon). I haven’t finished The World of Ice and Fire, but I found it generally enjoyable. What I didn’t like, actually, was Dunk and Egg, which I know a lot of people love, because I had had no idea what to expect. And it was no ASOIAF… I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters, not even the protagonists 🙁

      That’s fair! But yeah, if you found The World of Ice and Fire generally enjoyable, you should feel the same about Fire & Blood. I found them to be written in the same styles 🙂

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    11. Congrats! Love the GOT connection with Emilia Clarke from “The Last Christmas”! Welcome Lord of Blackhaven!

      https://www.google.com/search?q=lord+of+blackhaven+criston+cole&client=ms-android-hmd-rev2&prmd=inv&sxsrf=ALeKk01yvF07JNZvliGVc1WcDReVa-cZqg:1618557511979&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwin3bLMnILwAhWVGc0KHWPsByoQ_AUoAXoECAIQAQ&biw=412&bih=763&dpr=2.63#imgrc=na3bQ5EboSl33M

      That rather lengthy Google search link takes you to a rather dashing rendering of Criston Cole…🤓

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    12. Adrianacandle: Oh, yes, that’s very understandable because it’s always disappointing when we’ve still not got the unpublished books. Still, I have a modicum of hope. Foolish hope, probably, but hope 🙂 Fire & Blood does contain completed stories but the only thing is it reads more like a history book, which can be pretty dry, rather than from character perspectives (Dunk & Egg is written that way too).

      Although I agree that Dunk & Egg stories are not written using POV like ASOIAF, it’s not nearly as dry as the historical feel of Fire & Blood (or the Princess and the Queen Novella). I thought Dunk & Egg was written in more of a usual 3rd person narrative with dialogue. I quite enjoyed reading them, and I did connect with the characters and the world. Princess and the Queen read more like an outline of the historical facts that were somewhat embellished by the Maester. That style felt more like a homework assignment to me than enjoyable immersive reading, but that’s just me. I wasn’t the best history student in school, so I’m sure it’s a matter of preference.

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    13. Tron79,

      Although I agree that Dunk & Egg stories are not written using POV like ASOIAF, it’s not nearly as dry as the historical feel of Fire & Blood (or the Princess and the Queen Novella). I thought Dunk & Egg was written in more of a usual 3rd person narrative with dialogue. I quite enjoyed reading them, and I did connect with the characters and the world. Princess and the Queen read more like an outline of the historical facts that were somewhat embellished by the Maester. That style felt more like a homework assignment to me than enjoyable immersive reading, but that’s just me. I wasn’t the best history student in school, so I’m sure it’s a matter of preference.

      That’s understandable. I didn’t mind the history book-like feel of TWOIAF, Fire & Blood, or the Princess and the Queen but I can see how they’d present themselves as a slog to read through if it’s not your style. What I did like was that, per real history, there were conflicting accounts of what happened though 🙂 I think that opens up something for HotD to be explored.

      Mr Derp,

      I don’t know much about this particular character, but he sounds a bit like Jon Snow sans the royal lineage.

      If you’re up for reading the character outline I tried to do in the spoiler-coded area (albeit with quite a few typos), I don’t think he’s much like Jon Snow. He’s a tourney champion and fighter, he was raised as the bastard son of the steward of a lord, he gains quite a prestigious position within Viserys’s kingsguard even per Westerosi standards, and doesn’t really appear to suffer much scorn or derision per Westerosi stigma but seems quite popular in-universe.

      And seems to want some control over the workings of the realm via who sits the throne with Aegon, Alicent’s son, appearing to be less stubborn and willful.

      I believe he’s also supposed to be quite charming, outgoing, and dashing more ala Jaime, especially in the beginning, but I wouldn’t say he or his story is really like Jaime’s either.

      I think he’s an interesting character though, especially with maester accounts over pieces of his story differing.

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    14. Adrianacandle,

      Well swing and a miss on my part! Thanks for the info. I’ll check out the spoiler coding when I get a chance. Would love to get to know these characters more.

      At least there’s finally some new info to dissect!

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    15. Mr Derp: At least there’s finally some new info to dissect!

      Yes! I was happy to see this new update for HotD!

      I’ll check out the spoiler coding when I get a chance. Would love to get to know these characters more.

      No problem! Please forgive the many typos in that write-up -_- One important typo that needs to be corrected:

      *Aegon is unhappy with his grandfather, Otto Hightower, as Hand and makes Criston his Hand instead.

      Hopefully, there will be Fire and Blood experts by the comments section who can illuminate more info and thoughts on these characters 🙂

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    16. “Seven save this realm if we seat a bastard on the Iron Throne. They will turn the Red Keep into a brothel. No man’s daughter will be safe, nor any man’s wife. Even the boys ….”

      — Ser Criston Cole

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    17. Also, musical interlude. While I know music like this type will more than likely never be part of any GOT related show, I still rather like it and think it haunting, beautiful and melancholic. M83’s “Outro” has been used in other circumstances, but in this instance for the show “Versailles”, it was its opening theme. Was never a huge fan of the show, but I found the music compelling…

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    18. Adrianacandle,

      Before reading do you think reading Fire and Blood before hand would enhance or discourage being invested in the series?
      I am one of those who watched S1 of GOT.. rushed out and got all the books.. read them and proceeded to watch the series unfold. Also, I wasn’t as upset with the last season the majority seems to be.

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    19. GustafGreyjoy,

      If there is a book/are books, I most always like to read them beforehand because I like knowing what may possibly happen 🙂 It can also help me understand the story on-screen better in some instances

      (like His Dark Materials)

      whereas other times, like with Fire & Blood, I like having that broad outline.

      In my view, this particular story in Fire & Blood isn’t as detailed as an account like maybe a novel would be. Because it mimics a real-life history book/historical documentation, in-universe septons and maesters sometimes have different/contrasting accounts over what really happened. Consequently, the truth of events is unknown in some instances and perhaps HotD will reveal the truth, which may offer some surprise details. HotD also offers a lot of room for fleshing out details and characters because its account in Fire & Blood is fairly bare-bones.

      With Fire & Blood, I think reading the chapters pertaining to HotD can help sort everything out before one starts watching but I don’t think it’s imperative here though 🙂

      I hope that helps!

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    20. Wolfish,

      Thanks a lot! Gods be praised, nobody I love has been taken by the Stranger, so yeah, I must admit I’ve been lucky! Hope you have been just as lucky!

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    21. Interesting that we are still getting casting news for this as they prepare to start production. Can’t say I recognize the actor at all especially from Last Christmas (which I actually quite enjoyed), was he a one night stand for Emilia in it as I thought the male lead had more oriental ancestry.

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    22. loco73,

      I thought ‘Versailles’ was well acted but also thought that the REAL history of France at the time of King Louis XIV was interesting enough without changing it and they cut out real life characters like Cardinal Mazarin’s nieces. I’d liked Alexander Vlahos as grown-up Mordred in ‘Merlin’ and he’d been good in a couple of daytime TV roles and as the eponymous hero (anti-hero?) in BigFinish’s audio series ‘The Confessions of Dorian Gray’. In fact I liked the cast generally – Maddison Jaizani who played Sophie could play a Stark, though she’s dark-eyed rather than blue-eyed. If I don’t know the real history of a fictionalised story about real people if it’s well acted and the story is convincing but while I’m certainly not an expert on the Sun King I knew enough to think “That’s not right” at times. I didn’t bother with the third series.

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