Why Doesn’t Rhaenyra Elope with Criston in House of the Dragon? Explained

Find out why Rhaenyra shot down Criston's offer to elope.

In House of the Dragon episode five, we finally start to see a division between Ser Criston Cole and the queen-to-be, Rhaenyra Targaryen when she turns him down. Let’s take a look at why Rhaenyra doesn’t elope with Criston in House of the Dragon.

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Why Doesn’t Rhaenyra Elope with Criston in House of the Dragon?

There are a few different reasons why Rhaenyra shot down Criston’s plan for them to run away to Essos together. Some or her reasons have to do with what she appears to believe on the outside and others potentially go a bit deeper than that.

For the Betterment of the Realm:

There’s a reason why Viserys named Rhaenyra his heir instead of Daemon. Partially to spite him, but the king also saw his younger brother as too volatile and prone to making major decisions without much foresight. It works for Daemon in battle since he’s extremely skilled and having a dragon doesn’t hurt his chances either.

Additionally, Rheanyra knows first-hand that her uncle is unfit to rule Westeros. She knows that if she’s gone, there would be a power vacuum where Daemon could swoop in and overthrow a relatively weak king like Viserys or challenge an infant’s right to the throne.

With a clear line of succession from Viserys to Rhaenyra and Laenor Velaryon, Daemon’s path to becoming king would be much more difficult.

Agreement with Laenor:

While at Driftmark with Laenor, Rheanyra and her groom agreed to put on a good face for the public while spending time with their true loves in private. The Targaryen princess assumed that Criston would be up for this deal instead of Eloping, but he shot down the idea instantly.

While, both Laenor and Joffrey Lonmouth seemed to be okay with the arrangement, Criston Cole made it abundantly clear that he was not when he viciously murdered Joffrey at the wedding of Laenor and Rhaenyra.

Rhaenyra Just Wants the Power of a Queen:

Sure, you can say that she was doing it for love or for the stability of Westeros, but it’s clear that Rhaenyra has her heart set on becoming the queen. It was a bit of a selfish proposition by both of them, but there’s truly nothing at this point that would stop Rhaenyra from becoming queen.

While Rhaenyra doesn’t come out and say it, there’s no denying that her willingness to lie to her best friend, commit to a sham marriage, and shoot down her love’s idea to elope tells everyone what her goals are.

She Didn’t Love Criston:

This goes all the way back to the night when Rhaenyra went out into the city with Daemon. After he led her on and abandoned her at the brothel, the princess returned to her room where Criston was conveniently on duty.

Essentially, Criston was her rebound. She enjoyed his company and he loved her. Unfortunately for the knight, Rhaenyra didn’t feel the same way for him. She certainly enjoyed having him around, but she never truly loved him all while having other goals in mind.

That’s all there is to know about why Rhaenyra doesn’t elope with Criston in House of the Dragon. House of the Dragon is available to stream right now on HBO Max.

Featured Image Source: HBO

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Omar Banat
Omar is a UofM Duluth graduate who is obsessed with Smash Bros. Video games are life, but life is not video games. Playing Games Since: 1991, Favorite Genres: Puzzle, Platformer, Action-Adventure (mainly Metroidvanias)