news culture House of the Dragon: what happened to Criston Cole? What to remember from episode 5
Episode 5 of the Game of Thrones spin-off has just been released and once again raises a number of questions. We dissect with you “We light the way” to find out what the sequel to House of the Dragon has in store for us.
The following paper spoils the events of the first five episodes ofHouse of the Dragon. If you want to keep the surprise, we advise you to watch them before diving into this reading. In addition, we will discuss upcoming events in future episodes of the series. If you want to know as little as possible, be careful when reading.
- The sense of details
- The return of the Purple Wedding?
- The true face of Criston Cole
The sense of details
As Larys the Clubfoot says, it’s important to listen and watch what’s going on. This is all the more true of this fifth episode which shows us a lot of things without being explicit. Viserys’ weakness, for example, continues to be shown throughout the episode. Whether it’s in the looks of pity, his begging posture, his inability to hold a speech to the end or to ensure calm at his daughter’s wedding, the king is clearly no more than a shadow of him. -same. It is therefore not surprising to see him collapse at the end of the episode. Again, there is strong symbolism. The old generation is collapsing while the new one draws, not without difficulty and sacrifice, its future.
Attention, we are going to evoke a point present in the teaser of episode 6 in this paragraph. If you don’t want to spoil yourself, feel free to skip to the next one. No, Viserys is not dead. We indeed see it in the teaser for episode 6 which takes place ten years after the events of “We Light the Way”. Nevertheless, his health seems to be reaching a critical point and the war for his succession has never seemed so close. This episode therefore marks a kind of point of no return and this on many points: end of childhood, entry into the world of political strategies for Rhaenyra, beginning of the real rivalry with Alicent, formation of two marked camps with their faithful…
Alice’s character, too, is built throughout this episode around small, important details. The abortion tea put an end to his blind trust in the princess. It is now the feeling of betrayal, revenge and the quest for power that dominate. She thus begins to take the lead by investigating on her own or by deciding not to apply the sentence that should be incumbent on Sir Criston Cole, for example. A scene which is preceded by a shot showing Alicent overlooking the castle and the courtyard in which there is a vacillating Viserys, symbol of a power that is gradually beginning to change hands. This importance of the visual even goes as far as the choice of colors which confirms Alice’s decision to finally take an active part in the fight for the succession. By wearing a green dress (symbol of war for the Hightower) at the wedding of Rhaenyra and Laenor, she is clearly against the lineage that this union could generate and in favor of the one that is hers and that she has finally decided to protect and place on the Iron Throne (without this being said explicitly).
The return of the Purple Wedding?
And yes, there was a wedding in this episode, and it was a bloody wedding. Decidedly, in the universe of Game Of Thrones, the happiest events never go as planned. If the episode of “The Purple Wedding” had been the scene of a massacre as surprising as it was striking, “We Light the Way” is intended to be more sober but just as impactful. Everything was looking good though. Despite an arranged marriage, Rhaenyra and Laenor have managed to work out an arrangement that allows everyone to give free rein to their inclinations. It is therefore a happy marriage, as they rarely are in this universe. And even Daemon Targaryen, who makes a grand entrance by taking advantage of the welcome reserved for the Velaryon family, does not seem to want to disturb the party.
Admittedly, he tries to convince Rhaenyra to abandon this arranged marriage and join him, but does not make a scene either. Surprising for Daemon who has accustomed us to being more casual and theatrical. Especially since he gave himself the means to make their union possible, going so far as to cause the death of his own wife. But the fiery Targaryen has more than one card up his sleeve. Even before being forcefully dismissed by Rhaenyra, he places other pawns on the side of Laena Velaryon who should also join him in the next episodes . This once again shows that Daemon is as calculating as he is power-hungry and has carved many paths to achieve this. Hard to say if he really has feelings for Rhaenyra under these circumstances, although we could certainly have learned more if a tragic event had not come to put an end to the celebrations.
Once again, blood is shed, plunging the ceremony into a chaos that we can see echoing that which will be caused by the war for the succession. It’s Joffrey Lonbec who is badly finished with his fists, his broken face recalling the gore and raw aesthetic to which the series has accustomed us Game Of Thrones. Once calm has returned, Laenor, having just lost her lover, pronounces her vows with a broken heart. Rhaenyra looks at him, her eyes misty, witness of the suffering of her recent husband but especially of the loss of her lover to her too.
The true face of Criston Cole
This episode is very important to understand the power games and alliances that will be forged in the next ones. As you can imagine, Ser Criston Cole will play a decisive role in this whole story. Until now, it was difficult to see him ally with anyone other than the princess, but everything changes with this episode. First of all, you have to understand one thing: as Commander of the Royal Guard, Criston Cole took a vow of chastity. And like any White Coat (or almost), the honor and respect of his wishes are paramount to him, they define him in a certain way. By sleeping with Rhaenyra, he therefore not only flouted her vows but also her honor. Why did he do it if these were so important to him? Well for love…
When Rhaenyra refuses her offer to run away with him, two realities confront Ser Criston Cole. First, she doesn’t love him as much as he loves her. If she certainly appreciates him, she considers him more as an object of desire allowing her to satisfy her desires and moreover does not care that her actions tarnish the honor of the knight. It is also frustrated by the scene not materialized with Daemon that she had thrown herself on Criston Cole and not because she was deeply in love with him. Secondly, by refusing to marry him, she definitively buries her honor which could have been saved by their union, or rather silence the guilt he feels. You can see it in her face, which displays barely disguised anger: Rhaenyra’s decision changes something in Ser Criston Cole’s mind, something profound.
So when, during the ceremony, Joffrey Lonbec sees fit to joke, not without a touch of threat, with Ser Criston Cole, it’s the drop of water that makes the vase explode. The latter then sees it as a way to unleash the hatred he feels against Rhaenyra, but especially against himself. This same hatred which will then give him the desire to end his life. It is interesting to note that in the book, the murder of Joffrey Lonbec does not take place during the ceremony, but during a tournament given on the occasion of the wedding. The choice of directors gives this death a strong symbolism, changes the conditions of this marriage and allows us to see the cruelty that Ser Criston Cole can show. A cruelty which he will show throughout the Dance of the Dragons, in which he will play an active role, but probably not in the camp of Rhaenyra.
This episode indeed marks a change of allegiance for Ser Criston Cole. If no word is said to that effect, it’s clear that Ser Criston Cole doesn’t want anything to do with Rhaenyra by the end of the episode. The princess he loved so much betrayed him, while another character was particularly compassionate and helpful towards him: Alicent Hightower. First, she keeps his secret and decides not to make him suffer the consequences (which she normally should have done). Second, she prevents him from ending his life and gives him back the honor he thinks he has lost. Alicent, still dressed in green, has just found the first soldier to lead her son’s war for the throne. The parallel with the marriage of Rhaenyra and Laenor makes this change of camp even more striking. Directly after this tragedy, it is also in a heavy and hasty atmosphere that they exchange their vows. What was supposed to be a happy and light marriage becomes a sad marriage, indeed chaining the two young people to their obligations. A sense of danger hangs over this union and the line of Rhaenyra, thus introducing a very dark sequel for the next episodes.
But despite the ambient tension and this family ready to explode, things will not immediately escalate. Episode 6 takes place ten years (approximately) after this one. Ten years of respite before everything explodes? Nothing is less sure. What we do know, however, is that these are two changed women that we are going to find, both physically and mentally, as the insinuation Episode 6 teaser below.