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Criston Cole's House Of The Dragon Season 2 Haircut Explained By Fabien Frankel

Contains spoilers for "House of the Dragon" Season 2 Episode 3 — "The Burning Mill"

In any given episode of "House of the Dragon," there's a lot to keep track of. On the one side, you've got Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke), King Aegon II Targaryen (Tom Glynn-Carney), and their faction Team Green; on the other, there's Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D'Arcy), her husband-uncle Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), and the rest of Team Black. This is all to say that, within this universe, there are a ton of characters and so much going on at any given moment, which means you may not have noticed that, in the third episode of the series, a character got a haircut.

One did, though — and it happens midway through the third episode, "The Burning Mill." At first, Ser Criston Cole, played by Fabien Frankel, has his same, slightly longer haircut, but when he rides out to try and take Harrenhal alongside Gwayne Hightower (Freddie Fox), his hair is quite a bit shorter. So why is this? During a roundtable attended by Decider writer Meghan O'Keefe, Frankel explained the chop.

"Well, for me, the haircut was a really big thing because it's a military thing," Frankel told O'Keefe. "You know? It's impractical to have long hair in a battle. It just is. And short hair is practical."

Fabien Frankel says Ser Criston Cole uses his clothing to express

According to Meghan O'Keefe, she responded to Fabien Frankel's revelation about his haircut by pointing out that the character tends to place a lot of importance on what he's wearing at the time. By this point in the narrative, Ser Criston Cole, a humble Dornishman, is both Hand of the King to Aegon II and Commander of the Kingsguard for the terrible, impetuous boy king, and he certainly ties his own self-worth to his white cloak that designates him as one of the most powerful fighters in the kingdom.

Unfortunately for Frankel, he had to pause his analysis of Ser Criston because he almost spoiled something huge. While responding to O'Keefe, "That's such an interesting observation and actually very, yeah, there's a scene in Episode 8. I won't say what it is, but —"

Luckily, Frankel's co-star Matt Smith was also at the roundtable and stepped in. "For god's sake, don't give away Episode 8!" Smith joked, before threatening to toss a water bottle over his colleague's head (in jest, obviously). "Anyway, the haircuts! Good," Frankel concluded. "The armor is different. He looks different." Ser Criston can change his outfit all he wants, but he's still one of the most openly despised characters on "House of the Dragon," which is really saying something. Why is that?

Ser Criston Cole is a highly controversial figure on House of the Dragon

There are so many evil and awful characters on "House of the Dragon," but week after week, fans seem super mad at Ser Criston Cole. After the first season, when a young Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) seduces and rejects Ser Criston Cole, the knight forms a serious vendetta against the queen, allying himself firmly with Alicent, and that's just in Season 1.

In Season 2, it's revealed that Ser Criston and Alicent are carrying on a secret relationship behind the backs of her son's court, which presents an enormous problem one evening — while Alicent's grandson and Aegon's eldest heir Prince Jaehaerys, a young child, is beheaded in front of his mother and Aegon's sister Queen Helaena (Phia Saban), Ser Criston isn't doing his job (because he's in bed with Alicent). In retaliation and presumably out of shame, Ser Criston sends his half of the Cargyll twins, Ser Arryk (Luke Tittensor), to impersonate his brother and Team Green warrior Ser Erryk (Elliot Tittensor) to Rhaenyra; this completely fails, and both twins die in battle.

With all of this data, it's easy to see why fans hate Ser Criston. Sometimes, in moments of crisis, people change their hair to try and change their outlook on life, but if Ser Criston's behavior doesn't shape up soon, a little haircut isn't going to make fans forget about his litany of perceived sins.

"House of the Dragon" airs new episodes on Sunday nights on HBO and Max at 9 P.M. EST.