house of the dragon episode 5 ser criston cole killed joffrey laenor lover
Image: HBO

House of the Dragon Episode 5: Why Did Ser Criston Kill Laenor’s Lover Joffrey?

The stakes were raised once more in House of the Dragon episode 5, as Ser Criston Cole let emotions get the better of him during celebrations for the royal wedding. With the heir to the Iron Throne, Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Ser Laenor Velaryon betrothed to one another, Criston begged the Princess to live a nameless life with him, fleeing to Essos to live out their days. Rhaenyra’s loyalty to the crown and House Targaryen, however, meant that he was rejected. The betrayal and anger he felt at her decision bubbled over the surface at a pre-wedding party, leading to the death of Laenor’s true love, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth. So, exactly why did Criston kill the Stormlands knight?

Why did Ser Criston Cole kill Ser Joffrey Lonmouth in House of the Dragon episode 5?

house of the dragon episode 5 ser criston cole killed joffrey laenor lover
Image: HBO

It’s unlikely that Criston is a raging homophobe. His most obvious motivations were jealousy and rage. Having already expressed his lack of desire to continue a secret relationship with Rhaenyra after her marriage, a confrontation from Joffrey, who confessed his own love for Laenor, tipped him over the edge. He wanted something more than just being the future Queen’s bit on the side. So, when Joffrey proposed they look out for one another by keeping each other’s secrets safe, Criston saw red.

The scuffle, which ended in Criston beating Joffrey’s face into a mushy pulp, came a short while after we saw Laenor approach the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. In-between, audiences watched as Prince Daemon Targaryen stole his niece Rhaenyra for a dance. What he really wanted, however, was to have a hushed conversation, spoken in High Valyrian. He asked her if the wedding was what she really wanted, while Rhaenyra responded that she was simply performing her duties, goading Daemon into making a rash decision, and suggesting he cut down King Viserys Targaryen’s men before stealing her away to Dragonstone, if he was serious about a future with her.

Criston may have been in earshot to hear this conversation, but whether he would have understood the language they were speaking isn’t clear. If he did manage to make out what the pair were saying, though, he would have been furious. It’s also possible that he just saw their body language and fleeting glances to one another, before taking out his frustration on the nearest person. Then, there’s the chance that he just wanted to hurt Laenor, because he was going to get what Criston could never have. After the murder, will Criston now face consequences? It’s unlikely…

Will Ser Criston be brought to justice?

house of the dragon episode 5 ser criston cole killed joffrey laenor lover
Image: HBO

Criston took himself off after the violent end to the pre-wedding party. He removed his armor, before taking a shortsword and placing it just in front of his abdomen. As he appeared close to taking his own life, however, Queen Alicent Hightower approached. She stopped Criston in his tracks, and after making her intentions clear through her choice of clothing at the party, to have her son Aegon Targaryen make a claim for the Iron Throne, it appears as though she will take advantage of Criston’s fury and recruit him to her cause.

With House of the Dragon set to move forward with a time jump, bringing a flurry of new actors into some of the roles, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Criston’s journey continues to play out. Rhaenyra’s future is also a complicated one, as one more marriage follows her first, and a grasp for ultimate power results in The Dance of the Dragons.

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