More than one romance was ripped apart in this week's House of the Dragon.


Following on from last week's episode, King Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine) pursues a marriage between his heir Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) and Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), the son of Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) and Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best).

This is all after Rhaenyra had a wild night out with her roguish uncle Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) before getting passionate with her sworn protector, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) of the Kingsguard.

However, Rhaenyra's complicated love life reaches a brutal climax in this week's instalment and here is what went down.

**Spoiler warning for House of the Dragon episode 5**

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So, events were certainly tense in House of the Dragon episode 5, We Light the Way.

The royal wedding of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen to Ser Laenor Velaryon left a few people unhappy but the most distraught and resentful was her former lover, Ser Criston Cole.

After losing her virginity to her Kingsguard knight in episode 4, Rhaenyra continued a romantic relationship with Ser Criston but this had not stopped her from accepting her father King Viserys' marriage plans for her.

Rhaenyra, for the sake of duty and to secure her future place on the Iron Throne, agrees to marry Ser Laenor and is even aware that he is gay and has a lover in Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), "The Knight of Kisses".

Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Theo Nate as Ser Laenor Velaryon in House of the Dragon
Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Theo Nate as Ser Laenor Velaryon in House of the Dragon HBO

However, Rhaenyra is willing to take a pragmatic approach to marriage and for it to be open, with the pair proving allies to each other and having children, but pursuing their own adulterous romantic relationships.

Ser Laenor even discusses this with Ser Joffrey himself, the latter of whom is aware that Rhaenyra has her own paramour in Ser Criston.

Sailing back from Driftmark where the marriage was agreed to King's Landing, Ser Criston makes his own proposal to Rhaenyra: to run away together and forge a new life.

Ser Criston suggests they marry across the Narrow Sea in Essos and be happy together away from the politics and dangers of the court.

However, Rhaenyra chooses her family, duty and desire to ascend the Iron Throne over her romantic feelings for Ser Criston.

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon HBO

The suggestion that they continue their affair after Rhaenyra marries proves a sore point for Ser Criston, who will not be her "whore" and is furious that he broke his vow of chastity as a member of the Kingsguard for her.

As a man scorned and ashamed of his behaviour, Ser Criston confesses his actions to Queen Alicent Hightower (Emily Carey) who spares him after learning the truth about Rhaenyra's sex life.

Ser Criston is clearly heartbroken and angry when serving at Rhaenyra's wedding celebrations to Ser Laenor but is tipped over the edge when approached by Ser Joffrey who makes clear his knowledge of Ser Criston and Rhaenyra's affair and suggests they work together as two couples.

Later, when a brawl breaks out on the dancefloor, Ser Criston is seen brutally beating open the skull of Ser Joffrey, in a blind rage over Rhaenyra marrying another man, his shame over breaking his vows and also disgust at the thought of being involved in a polygamous arrangement.

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon HBO

The chaos of the brawl means we do not see the immediate trigger for violence but Ser Criston is clearly so ashamed of it all that he considered taking his own life in the Godswood of the Red Keep until interrupted by Queen Alicent.

Despite the fury and rage and dampening the spirit of the wedding, Ser Criston did not prevent Rhaenyra from marrying the heartbroken Ser Laenor.

So, now Ser Criston is alive but has Queen Alicent as an ally, both of them having been scored by Rhaenyra in their own ways.

Will they prove a formidable force to be reckoned with?
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House of the Dragon airs on Sky Atlantic and is available on NOW – find out more about how to sign up for Sky TV. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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