Criston Cole's Real Age in House of the Dragon is Surprising

Criston Cole's Real Age in House of the Dragon is Surprising
Image credit: HBO

Looks like the Stormlands' blustery winds have done his skin some good!


  • Ser Criston Cole is not a young character, as his age is closer to that of Otto Hightower.
  • However, the actor who plays him is only 30 years old.
  • His youthful appearance can be explained by his pampered lifestyle, but the makeup artists should have added some wrinkles.

HBO continues to delight fans of George R.R. Martin's work with the release of the second season of House of the Dragon. Although only three episodes have been released as of this writing, the plot has already provided a myriad of events that swing victory back and forth between the Greens and the Blacks. And many of the key players in the midst of the civil war continue to grow in influence, bringing Westeros closer to the tragic but pacifying outcome of the Dance of the Dragons.

In the current season, Fabien Frankel's Ser Criston Cole has taken on a special role. Of course, as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under Viserys I, he already had a lot of political clout, which led to Aegon's claim to the Iron Throne. But now he has gained even more influence by being named the new Hand of the King under Aegon, replacing Ser Otto Hightower.

In this context, many fans wonder if Criston is too young to be so adept at political maneuvering, both behind the scenes and on the field. The answer may surprise you, as the character is much older than he looks.

How Old Is Ser Criston Cole?

Martin's 2014 book The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones, which provides a lore of Westeros and Essos, states that Ser Criston Cole was born in 82 AC. Since the current events of House of the Dragon take place at the intersection of 129 and 130 AC, he is now about 47-48 years old.

By comparison, Otto Hightower is calculated by fans to have been born before 76 AC (probably much earlier), meaning he could be anywhere from 54 years old at that point, though more likely closer to 60. Thus, the age difference between Criston and Otto is not as critical as their appearances might suggest.

Wait, Isn't the Actor Too Young for the Role?

Remarkably, while Kriston is supposed to be a middle-aged man by now, his portrayer, British actor Fabien Frankel, is currently only 30 years old, making him even younger than 32-year-old Emma D'Arcy (Rhaenyra is now about 32-33).

Of course, Frankel is a talented enough actor to carry a much older character and demonstrate how much of his age is inevitable as the war progresses. While he was an active enough schemer in the first season, he's now too irritable and tired from the antics of Allicent and Aegon. But while the Dance of the Dragons has taken its toll on Otto's physical appearance, Criston still looks like a young man.

The Make-up Artists Should Have Aged Him More

Otto Hightower, on the other hand, has changed incredibly since the time jump. While he had thick golden hair in the first season, he is now all gray and wrinkled. The man has been the hand of three kings at once, and that could not help but affect him.

Criston Cole's Real Age in House of the Dragon is Surprising - image 1

Of course, Fire & Blood describes Ser Criston as an attractive man whose appearance charmed all the ladies around him, and he spent most of his life in the privileged serenity of King's Landing. However, the lack of even small gray hairs and wrinkles amidst the constant stress and horrors of war leaves fans scratching their heads. Maybe artists should work more on his makeup, because no matter how beautiful he is, Criston Cole is no longer young.

A new episode of House of the Dragon will air on HBO and will be dropped on Max on July 7, 2024.