When the House of the Dragon began its run in August, many wondered how the prequel series to the highly celebrated Game of Thrones will live up to expectations. One of the challenges was whether the series will have characters that viewers would fall in love with. From the very first episode, we were not disappointed as we were introduced to the likes of Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and Lady Alicent Hightower (Emma Carey) whom viewers came to adore. Another character whom we got to see from the first episode was the dashing Dornish man, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). Despite not being a knight at the start of the series, Ser Criston earned his knighthood over the course of the first few episodes. After taking his place in the Kingsguard, he would go on to be a steady hand for Princess Rhaenyra for much of his run on the series so far.
However, Frankel who portrays the dashing knight has revealed that despite striking a composed figure for a large part of his time on the series, this was not entirely how it was at the beginning. Frankel has revealed during an appearance on The Official Game of Thrones Podcast: House of the Dragon, that he had the jitters on his first day on the set of the highly anticipated spinoff series. Per IndieWire, Frankel reveals that he “forgot how to act” and completely froze on camera. “The camera finally got around to me and I swear to God I literally forgot how to act. I couldn’t do it! I didn’t know what to do,” Frankel said. “I remember going, ‘This is it, I’ve totally fucked it.’”
Frankel recalls that in that moment when he could not act, he received support from now former showrunner, Miguel Sapochnik. Sapochnik had marched through “250 background artists” to speak to him, Frankel recalls. “Fabien, what’s up? What’s going on with your face?” the showrunner had asked the actor. Though Frankel was able to get back to doing the job he loves, the actor describes it as an embarrassing moment for him. “It was just the worst fucking experience of my life.”
Frankel’s Ser Criston has been a symbol of composure and calm for the better parts of the series. However, that sense of composure came crashing down in the last episode titled We Light The Way. Cole, who began an affair with Rhaenyra in the King of the Narrow Sea episode, was deeply disappointed when the princess chose the Iron Throne over the love they shared. He flunked when questioned by Queen Alicent revealing an affair she knew nothing about. But his biggest gaffe came at the royal introduction for the wedding between the princess and Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate). Ser Criston went on to attack Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McCleod), Laenor’s lover, at the end of the ceremony. The reason? Ser Lonmouth confronted Cole about his affair with the princess and Cole wanted to keep the secret that way. Ser Criston went on to attempt suicide but was seemingly stopped by the queen, Alicent.
House of the Dragon airs on Sundays on HBO. Episodes are also available to stream on HBO Max. Check out the preview for the next episode: