“It shows a mirror to how men truly behave”: House of the Dragon Latest Episode Becomes Meta-Commentary on Toxic Masculinity as Ser Criston Cole Personifies Incel Energy
Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon has remained the ideal man — loyal, well-intending, brave, chivalrous, and the underdog who was able to rise above his station to become a Knight of the Kingsguard. But experience dictates not all is as it looks in the land of the politically charged Westeros. Every action underlies a deeper conspiracy and every decision hides a selfish truth. Ser Criston Cole did not rise to a station of power in a land reigned by corruption by depending on his good looks and heart of gold.
Ser Criston Cole’s Recent Turn of Character was Necessary
Historically, all major events that happened in the fictional universe of George R.R. Martin have a minor, escapable trigger in the past that acted as a pinch point in the narrative building up to it. Whether directly responsible or not, the trigger and the major event almost always end up having devastating results in the aftermath. Take, for instance, Arya witnessing the beheading of Ned Stark and Robb Stark refusing to marry Lord Frey’s daughter and the repercussions of both led to the massacre of the House Frey at the hands of Arya, the agent of Death.
Although the path treaded by Ser Criston Cole is nether seven seasons in the making nor does it hold the grandeur spanning immense character arcs marred by harrowing tragedies, it still begs to be deconstructed. In the face of it, the character set up by Fabien Frankel at the very beginning of House of the Dragon starts warming up to the audience slowly with his affable demeanor. This makes the evil turn even more delightful to watch — and not simply because the monotony of politics was getting tedious, along with Viserys’s useless and overbearing moping.
The inevitability of Ser Criston turning sour was set in stone with the beginning of his non-starter relationship with Princess Rhaenyra. It was doomed from the very beginning because the society is built on fragile pillars of hierarchy and unwritten laws dictate the joining of houses that can match their powers. A decorated guard is not entitled to a transgression by publicly being beside the Targaryen heir, but the closed-room drama was too humiliating for a man to bear. The all-too-well-known label of “a woman scorned” soon swapped genders when the knight began to grow increasingly hostile after Rhaenyra’s wedding to Ser Laenor Velaryon, at first showing signs of disgust and betrayal which soon manifested into murderous rage and duplicity.
Ser Criston’s Personality Mirrors our Contemporary Culture
The modern world has become familiar with the incel culture, i.e. a sub-section of the online crowd, mostly men, who are defined by their involuntary celibacy and grow resentful of women because of the latter’s lack of interest or attention in them. Theories now indicate a striking resemblance between what Ser Criston personifies in House of the Dragon to that of the incel culture. Beyond that, the formerly valiant knight also exhibits a singularly extreme toxic masculine behavior (aside from Ser Joffrey’s murder, which was downright psychopathic) once he realizes Rhaenyra will not give him exactly what he wants.
alicent and cristen cole the only ones in kings landing losing sleep over rhaenyra’s sex life it’s just too funny to witness #HouseOfTheDragon
— cowboy like jo (@secretIanguage) September 26, 2022
Ser Cristen Cole is that cringe guy who doesn’t get what he wants from a woman he’s into and then turns against her like a spurned petty bitch #HOTD
— Zuzu (@ZuzuOnFire) September 26, 2022
The way I thought a beautiful romantic relationship would grow between Cristen and Rhaenyra, but no.. fucking Cristen Cole turns out to be a petty, insecure, manchild.#HouseOfTheDragon #hotd pic.twitter.com/SZLwZHHL1i
— Tsuki 🍒 (@Ttsukii0) September 26, 2022
when Ser Cristen Cole starts spilling all his regret about soiling his Goldcloak and breaking oaths to the Queen instead of taking it to the grave#HouseOfTheDragonHBO #HouseOfTheDragonEp5 pic.twitter.com/glsxSDgfR4
— Ramya Ku Chalo (@idlidosa2) September 19, 2022
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday except Ser Cristen Cole
— christian (@chrstnbntz) September 19, 2022
CRISTEN COLE IS A SIMP!!! ITS BEEN 10 YEARS BRO MOVE ON
— Kevin Morales (@_KMoe4) September 26, 2022
Ser Criston Cole was the once romantic character who would be adored by the audience as the voice of reason and the love interest for Rhaenyra. But even though Rhaenyra Targaryen takes the crown (pun intended) for being the entitled and petty princess that she is, it is no match for the misogynistic and vindictive bully who goes from bad to worse with his fragile ego and spurned sensitivity.
House of the Dragon is now streaming on HBO and HBO Max.