Game of Thrones' Targaryen Spinoff Just Cast a Major Player

Centuries before these two caused problems, their ancestors were even more brutal.
Centuries before these two caused problems, their ancestors were even more brutal.
Photo: HBO

You’ve heard of the Kingslayer and now you’re about to meet the Kingmaker.

A Song of Ice and Fire writer George R.R. Martin posted on his Not a Blog today to reveal that actor Fabien Frankel has been cast as Ser Criston Cole in HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. “He is the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven. He has no claim to lands or titles, all he has is his honor and his skill with sword and lance,” Martin wrote. “He is a challenger, a champion, cheered by the commons, beloved of the ladies. He is a lover (or is he?), a seducer (or is he?), a betrayer (or is he?), a breaker of hearts and a maker of kings.”

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Now, unless you’re a hardcore Thrones fan, all of that probably doesn’t mean much to you. It’s important though, and here’s why. About 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, Ser Criston Cole was a member of the Kingsguard for Viserys Targaryen, the King of Westeros, and the fifth Targaryen to sit on the Throne. (He’ll be played by Paddy Considine on the show.) When that Viserys died (spoiler alert), Cole convinced Viserys’ son, Aegon II, he should take the throne, despite Aegon’s older sister, Rhaenyra (who’ll be played by Emma D’Arcy on the show), having been groomed by her father to do so. That leads to the violent, crucial civil war that came to be known as the Dance of the Dragons.

That was basically the beginning of the end for the Targaryens, and will be a big part of this new show. Since it was his suggestion that got the whole ball rolling, history nicknamed Cole “Criston the Kingmaker.” You can read more about how the Targaryens began to lose their grip over the Iron Throne here.

As for Frankel himself, he hasn’t had quite the career of Criston Cole but this show might just do the trick. Up until now, he’s probably best known for playing the son of Dennis Franz’s NYPD Blue character in a TV movie and playing opposite an actress named... Emilia Clarke in the Paul Feig movie Last Christmas. Which means, yes, Frankel has interacted with a Targaryen before.

House of the Dragon is expected to reach HBO next year.


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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo. Formerly of Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and Slashfilm. AP Award-Winning Film Critic and CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.

DISCUSSION

Tired: Unsure about the show because of season 8.

Wired: Love the ASAOIAF universe and excited for a new creative team to tackle what is essentially a weird political fantasy history book.