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House of the Dragon star reacts to shocking social media abuse following episode two

Fabian Frankel plays Ser Criston Cole on the hit show


House of the Dragon star reacts to shocking social media abuse following episode two© HBO
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
June 25, 2024
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House of the Dragon star Fabian Frankel has limited his comments on Instagram after receiving social media abuse for his role as Ser Criston Cole in the hit HBO series. Warning, spoilers ahead for season two episodes one and two. 

In season two episode two, Ser Criston Cole is dealing with intense guilt following the death of Aegon and Halaena’s young son as he was having intimate relations with Queen Alicent Hightower when he was meant to be protecting the family. 

WATCH: Watch the trailer for Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon…

Instead of taking responsibility for the error, he blames a member of his Guard, Ser Arryk, and sends him to his death with an order to attack Rhaenyra on Dragonstone by posing as his twin brother, who is one of Rhaenyra’s guards. The plan ultimately leads to both of the twins' deaths. 

As a devastating tragedy rips through the Hightower faction, the Council has to think fast about how it could be used to their advantage.
As a devastating tragedy rips through the Hightower faction, Criston deals with his guilt

While the storyline quickly made viewers “hate” Ser Criston Cole, some fans trolled the actor himself over the plotline, leading plenty of his followers to come to his defence. 

One person wrote: “HELLO! I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND EVERYONE TO KEEP THE CHARACTER AND ACTOR SEPARATE! THANK YOU,” while another added: “I'm sorry HOTD fans are bothering you, you don't deserve any hate for playing a character, love you Fabien.” 

As a devastating tragedy rips through the Hightower faction, the Council has to think fast about how it could be used to their advantage.
Criston sends a man to his death

A third person added: “You have no idea how angry the guy you perform makes me but you are charming and a great actor because you make me hate Sir Criston Cole.” Another fan wrote: “Please remember to separate the character from the actor. Fabien has done a wonderful job portraying Ser Criston Cole and he deserves praise for it.” 

Although Fabian has limited comments on his Instagram, he appears to be taking the reaction in his stride, sharing a photo with actors Luke and Elliott Tittensor, twins who portray Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk on the show, cheekily captioning it: “Sorry boys… Love ya.” 

© HBO

However, on X, formerly known as Twitter, fans of the show have plenty to say about his character, with one posting: "Now Criston over here projecting his failures on Ser Arryk and sending him on a suicide mission. I really hate this man.” Another person added: “Now Criston over here projecting his failures on Ser Arryk and sending him on a suicide mission. I really hate this man.” 

A third joked: “Me trying to fight Criston Cole. if he has a million haters, then I am one of them. if he has ten haters, then I am one of them. if he has only one hater then that is me. if he has no haters, then that means I am no longer on earth.” 

House of the Dragon is back for season 2
House of the Dragon is back for season 2

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about his role, Fabian said: “He's very much set up as one thing, and as the show goes on, changes a great deal. That was what was exciting to me. 

“He’s very much set up as a noble, well-meaning knight there to protect Rhaenyra. And for those who've read the book, he isn't that by any means.” 

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