While last night wasn’t the House of the Dragon season finale, it felt like one in many ways. Partly because of the events that have transpired, but also as we bid farewell to key cast members, young Rhaenyra, Milly Alcock and young Alicent, Emily Carey, who are now being recast with Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively. , starting next week, when the show jumps ten years ahead in time.
But what a final they had.
There was a lot going on yesterday, most of which ultimately revolved around a surprising figure, Ser Criston Cole. Follow spoilers.
Cole had been pushed to a breaking point by Rhaenyra, who sees him less as a love interest and more like a toy. Lest we forget, the Kingsguard is supposed to be chaste, so Cole broke his oath by sleeping with Rhaenyra. He posits her a hugely implausible plan that they would run off together across the ocean, which she usually laughs at.
Later, Cole is summoned by Alicent to try to get him to confess that Rhaenyra did indeed sleep with Daemon, as Alicent learned about the abortion tea Rhaneyra was given by the Grandmaster at her father’s request. It seemed as if this might get Rhaenyra off the hook, since then the situation would look like she just slept with Cole, not Daemon, at least for Alicent, but it’s one more thing Rhaneyra didn’t tell her supposedly best friend.
It seems Alicent has been convinced by her father that she will have to face Rhaneyra directly unless she wants her children killed in the future as they will challenge her rule. She enters the welcome dinner late, dressed in the Oldtown “war” shades of green.
At the dinner itself, Cole is provoked by Laenor’s love, who foolishly reveals that he knows Cole and Rhaenyra are in a relationship, while revealing his own relationship with Laenor. This seems to be the last straw for Cole, who snarls and kills the man in the middle of the dance floor, just as Daemon and Rhaneyra have a moment in full view of everyone else.
The end result? Rhaenyra and Laenor wed in a quiet ceremony just a stone’s throw from the pool of blood where Laenor’s lover died, and he probably hates her now. Alicent stops Cole from committing suicide out of “dishonour” and it seems likely that he will be recruited to be her ally and perhaps a spy against Rhaenyra advancing within the Kingsguard. Viserys is collapsing, but next week’s previews say he’s not dead yet.
So it wasn’t quite the Red Wedding, full of mass betrayals and mass death, but it was still pretty brutal and horrific, with just one death likely changing the course of the entire series. Next week we’ll see how these characters evolve a decade later, and with new actors playing them. House of the Dragon remains gripping, as always.
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