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House Of The Dragon Fans Really Hate One Particular Character - Here's Why

Contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon" Season 2 Episode 2: "Rhaenyra the Cruel"

There are, to be fair, a lot of extremely odious characters to be found on "House of the Dragon." Before the season premiere of the show's sophomore season, Prince Daemon Targaryen, played by Matt Smith, successfully has a young child beheaded in front of his mother. Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans) and his daughter Alicent (Olivia Cooke) are always up to no good together as they scheme to win the battle between Alicent's faction of Team Green against Daemon and his wife-niece Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy), who head up Team Black. Alicent's son King Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney) is, to be frank, very gross on several levels. With all of that said, it's Ser Criston Cole, played by Fabian Frankel, who's catching a lot of heat on social media for, well, being the worst.

Over on X (formerly known as Twitter), fans are positively freaking out about how much they hate Ser Criston. As user @mysaria_ put it alongside a GIF of a man jumping headfirst towards a television, "me trying to fight criston cole. if he has a million haters, then i am one of them. if he has ten haters, then i am one of them. if he has only one hater then that is me. if he has no haters, then that means i am no longer on earth." Unofficial "Game of Thrones" fan account @LordSnow included a photo of a young Rhaenyra (played by Milly Alcock) sneering with the caption, "Me every time I see Criston Cole on screen." @BK1889 was quite blunt: "I will be the leader of the Criston Cole hate club."

Fans truly cannot stand Ser Criston Cole

Those posts on X weren't the end of the Ser Criston Cole hate train — instead, they were just the beginning. "the entire internet coming together to hate on criston cole i used to dream of this," @Targ_Nation wrote with a short clip of Octavia Spencer's eminently meme-able horror character Ma looking smug. @aaliyah_royal1 featured a photo of the dog formerly owned by royal ratcatcher Cheese (Mark Stobbart) — who was now infamously kicked during the child murder plot that takes place in Episode 1, "A Son for a Son" — with the caption, "Lord take his pain, quadruple it, and give it to Criston Cole." As for @heathen_king, their post simply reads "any time Criston Cole is on screen" alongside a screencapture of "Ted Lasso" standout Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) that reads, "And I hope he dies of the incurable position of being a little b*tch." 

Others went to bat for their preferred ruler Rhaenyra, like @itshelenwhat: "criston cole had a certificate degree in his dedication to ruining rhaenyra's life." Some wished pure violence upon the character; alongside a clip from the Jenkins and Jonez podcast, the caption reads, "Us #HouseOfTheDragon fans are a reasonable bunch. We don't ask for much. Just a gruesome death for Ser Criston Cole. Maybe even sprinkle in a little disembowelment for some razzle dazzle if you'd be so kind." In the end, @davidmackau summed it all up pretty perfectly, writing, "really love that his central character trait is being really hot but also just a complete flop at everything he does. in a way, he is representative of so many."

What, exactly, has Ser Criston Cole done wrong according to House of the Dragon fans?

Okay, so why, exactly, do people hate Ser Criston Cole with such a burning passion? To really get into it, we'll have to go all the way back to the first season of "House of the Dragon," where Ser Criston impresses a young Rhaenyra in a joust, ultimately leading her to name him to the Kingsguard. Ultimately, the two have a one-night stand, at which point Criston falls head over heels in love with the young princess — who, at that point, is the declared heir to her father King Viserys I's (Paddy Considine) throne. When Ser Criston asks Rhaenyra to run away with him and leave the royal life behind, she refuses, and he's left despondent until Alicent (played at that point by Emily Carey) steps in and sways him to her side.

It's bad enough that Ser Criston gets so upset that a teenager doesn't want to abandon her royal life and responsibilities that he decides he despises Rhaenyra from that point forward. Not only does he start sleeping with Alicent (now Cooke) after Viserys' death, but in Season 2 Episode 2, titled "Rhaenyra the Cruel," Ser Criston devises a plot to have Rhaenyra killed (and is sure to call her "the b*tch queen" in the process, which is a really classy touch). Even aside from his treatment of Rhaenyra, Ser Criston is now Commander of the Kingsguard and Hand of the King to Aegon II (ousting Otto in the process), and fails spectacularly at both of his jobs when he's too busy with Alicent to notice that her grandson is being brutally murdered elsewhere in the castle. Ser Criston is, all things considered, a huge jerk, but some fans are taking things a bit too far.

Fans are attacking Fabian Frankel personally — instead of just insulting his character

Unfortunately, all of this (legitimate) criticism of Ser Criston Cole has led to a situation where the actor, Fabian Frankel, appears to be limiting comments on social media due to the wild backlash. As @westerosies wrote on X, Fabien Frankel has now limited his comments on Instagram due to harassment. Please remember to separate the character from the actor. Fabien has done a wonderful job portraying Ser Criston Cole and he deserves praise for it."

Popular YouTube account New Rockstars echoed that sentiment, pointing out that all Fabian is doing is following in the footsteps of other "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon" performers who have played truly disgusting characters. Alongside pictures of infamously awful "Game of Thrones" players like Ramsay Bolton, Joffrey Baratheon, and Cersei Lannister — played by Iwan Rheon, Jack Gleeson, and Lena Headey, respectively — the post reads, "It takes a truly great actor to play a universally despised character. Game of Thrones is full of them. Fabian Frankel's Ser Criston Cole is in good company."

It should go without saying that actors shouldn't be harassed over the characters they play onscreen, no matter how awful those characters might be (and Ser Criston is definitely pretty awful). Still, it's true that Frankel's talent is the main reason as to why everyone finds Ser Criston so infuriating; he's turning in a top-notch performance that needs to be appreciated. You can watch Frankel's performance — and hate the fictional Ser Criston if you like — on Sunday nights at 9 P.M. EST on HBO and Max.