Game of Thrones has gotten us used to bloody weddings where much fewer guests walk out compared to those who walked in. This doesn't make the events of the mid-season episode of the fantasy show any less disturbing.
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Why Did Sir Criston Cole Kill Joffrey?
Sir Criston doesn't spell out his motivations for killing Joffrey, the lover of Sir Laenor. The implication is that he did so because he felt that Joffrey was taunting him about his relationship with Rhaenyra.
Earlier on, Criston came to feel bitter and ashamed for having been with Rhaenyra, when the latter refused to run away with him.
Criston did not try to understand Rhaenyra's choice at all, instead revealing everything to Alicent.
During Laenor and Rhaenyra's pre-wedding feast, Joffrey approaches Sir Criston who was rumored to be Rhaenyra's lover, smugly suggesting that they can keep each other's secrets.
Sir Criston seems to view this suggestion as a threat, though beating Sir Joffrey to death because of that is very extreme and frankly hard to watch.
It's possible that Criston was vindictive because Rhaenyra refused to run away with him, and he likely did not wish for her wedding to go smoothly after that.
Why Did Criston Get Away With the Murder?
After murdering Joffrey, Sir Criston, who somehow never gets caught or challenged, goes to the Godswood where he prepares to commit suicide.
However, Queen Alicent, to whom he had confessed his affair with Rhaenyra earlier in the episode, stops him.
It is not clear how anyone, even a knight, could get away with cold-blooded murder, though the Queen's support would have likely helped Criston avoid any charges.
Meanwhile, the implication seems to be that Rhaenyra and Laenor couldn't do much to bring Criston to justice.
After all, doing so would be very hard without exposing their respective affairs and secret agreement to each take their own lovers while married.
While Criston's survival might be backed by book material, the fact that he got away so lightly leaves fans with a bitter feeling.
Joffrey and Laenor's relationship seemed quite heartwarming, and it's sad that another LGBTQ+ character met such a violent fate.
Does Criston Ever Pay For What He Did?
Season 1 sees Criston go from a likable character to one that Rhaenyra fans utterly despise, but book material suggests that he might get what he deserves in the end.
For the latter half of Season 1, Criston is fiercely loyal to Alicent and her children, even when their behavior is outrageous.
Not only has he forgotten everything he might have felt for Rhaenyra, but he actively tries to sabotage her.
During the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, Sir Criston will fight for the Greens, Alicent's fraction.
He will lead around 4,000 men to reclaim Harrenhall but a series of misfortunes sees his forces diminished.
To spare his remaining men, Criston tries to negotiate but Rhaenyra's forces refuse his suggestion and deny him the chance to try his hand in combat.
Criston is eventually decapitated, and, given viewers' fierce hate for him, not too many of them would mind.
It remains to be seen if the tv show will handle his death similarly, though we'll only see Criston's death much later in the Targaryen civil conflict.