Why Ser Criston Cole Killed the Knight of Kisses In House of the Dragon

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole in House of the Dragon, House of the Dragon logo

Joffrey Lonmouth, also known as the Knight of Kisses, was strangely killed by Ser Criston Cole during a feast in House of the Dragon Season 1.

From asking for Rhaenyra Targaryen's favor in a jousting tournament in the House of the Dragon series premiere to becoming one of the most despised characters in Season 2, Ser Criston Cole has gone through quite a character arc thus far in the HBO series.

On many occasions, he has stained his conscience and nobility behind closed doors, leaving them darker than his coveted white Kingsguard cloak.

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Why Did Criston Cole Kill Joffrey Lonmouth?

Modway through House of the Dragon Season 1, Rhaenyra Targaryen agreed to be married to Laenor Velaryon, Corlys Velaryon's son and heir to Driftmark.

This match was set up so that the royal line could be further strengthened, but there was only one real problem with the marriage - neither Rhaenyra nor Laenor truly loved one another in a marital manner and had no desire to have children.

Laenor Velaryon and Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon Season 1

For example, when their marriage was being set up and Rhaenyra was permitted to spend time with Laenor, the audience learned that she had feelings for others, such as Ser Criston Cole.

At the same time, it was revealed that Laenor harbored no ill will toward Rhaenyra at all, but that he simply was not attracted to women and instead pursued men.

At the end of Season 1, Episode 4, Rhaenyra and Criston finally gave into their temptations, resulting in the pair engaging in sexual intercourse and Rhaenyra losing her virginity (or maidenhood according to Westerosi language).

Criston Cole and Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon Season 1

So, in the following episode, Criston proposed that Rhaenyra run away with him and start their own life together in Essos away from the Iron Throne and Westerosi laws and customs.

However, knowing that she was still the heir to the throne, Rhaenyra refused Ser Criston's proposal and instead went forward with her agreement to marry Laenor.

Laenor Velaryon and Joffrey Lonmouth in House of the Dragon Season 1

When the two spoke, she found out about his love for men, and the audience found out that his specific lover was Joffrey Lonmouth, the Knight of Kisses.

Rhaenyra and Laenor, understanding one another's wishes, agreed that their marriage could be entirely open, allowing Rhaenyra to further a behind-the-scenes relationship with Ser Criston and Laenor to continue his with Joffrey.

However, Ser Criston did not like this idea, and, still angry with Rhaenyra for not accepting his proposal for them to run away together, told her that he would not be her "whore."

At this point, after being rejected by Rhaenyra and now knowing that he was nothing more than her paramour, Ser Criston grew increasingly hostile toward her, and even blamed her (as well as himself) for taking his honor and nobility when they engaged in sexual relations.

Alicent Hightower and Criston Cole in House of the Dragon Season 1

So, Ser Criston then confessed what he and Rhaenyra had done to Alicent Hightower, who then became increasingly upset with Rhaenyra for lying to her and for giving up her innocence outside of marriage.

Ser Criston, who was then seen at the wedding celebration for Rhaenyra and Laenor, was beside himself.

Joffrey Lonmouth and Criston Cole in House of the Dragon Season 1

However, he was finally pushed over the edge when the Knight of Kisses himself approached Criston and informed him that he knew of Criston and Rhaenyra's relationship.

Not much else was shown on-screen, but the Knight of Kisses did suggest to Criston that the two couples work together in order to make both of their relationships thrive.

Criston Cole in House of the Dragon Season 1

Moments later, a commotion broke out on the floor, and it was then revealed that Ser Criston was on top of the Knight of Kisses, beating him to a pulp (literally).

Then, in a matter of seconds, the Knight of Kisses was dead due to Ser Criston's actions.

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What Did the Knight of Kisses Say to Ser Criston?

It is not entirely clear what Joffrey Lonmouth said to Criston to finally make him snap, but it can be inferred that, for lack of better terms, Ser Criston had just snapped.

Ser Criston was already troubled by breaking his vows and having sex with Rhaenyra and was also hurt by her rejection of his proposal. On top of that, Criston found out that Joffrey knew of their relationship, so he likely knew that word would spread and everyone else would also know soon enough.

In a classic case of the straw breaking the camel's back, Criston just had too much on his conscience, and Joffrey's words didn't help matters.

A later scene in the Godswood where Criston was about to take his own life further indicates that he was ridden with so much guilt and anguish that he just couldn't take it anymore, and Joffrey just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (and saying the wrong thing) that Criston took out his emotion on the Knight of Kisses.

It is also important to mention that this beating of the Knight of Kisses did occur at Rhaenyra's wedding, so attending that likely only added to Criston's frustrations.

Season 1 of House of the Dragon is available to stream on Max, and new episodes of Season 2 are released on HBO and on Max every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Read more about House of the Dragon:

The Dragons of House of the Dragon: Visual Guide to Every Dragon and Their Rider (Photos)

Why Did Aegon Marry His Sister Helaena In 'House of the Dragon'?

How Does Otto Hightower Die In House of the Dragon?

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Release Date
June 16, 2024
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- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.