The Most Uncomfortable Moments In House Of The Dragon Season 1, Ranked

That same evening, though, an equally cringe-worthy moment occurs. It’d be easy to label Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) hooking up with her cousin Daemon (Matt Smith) as awkward. It is, objectively. In the world of “Game of Thrones?” Not so much. Incest is an act that longtime viewers or readers of George R.R. Martin’s work are (strangely) used to, and the Cosmopolitan controversy surrounding coverage of the show’s interfamily indecencies is reflective of that fact. What’s far more unsettling (on “Game of Thrones” own terms), is the way Rhaenyra flirts and toys with Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) in the wake of hooking up with Daemon.

Ser Criston Cole is Rhaenyra’s personal guard. He quite literally serves her. When Rhaenyra invites Ser Criston into her room and begins to flirt with him, the end result is carnal passion. Before consummation, though, the foreplay inspires winces. Rhaenyra ostensibly abuses the power dynamic between the two. What she sees as playful is actually deeply controlling. Cole’s status as a knight and any power he has acquired by serving her, and his rise through Westeros’ class system, is at risk throughout their encounter. 

To Rhaenyra, the moment is empowered and realized sexuality. For Cole, it’s potentially life or death. The fallout from this act (Cole murdering Lonmouth, an alliance between Alicent and Criston) only confirms the gravitas of Rhaenyra’s actions, which are completely oblivious to her at the moment. The more one considers it, the harder it is to stomach.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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