Wait, Is This HOTD Dreamboat Related To Oberyn Martell?
Let's consult the family tree.
Many of the new characters in House of the Dragon are ancestors of key players in Game of Thrones who fans already know very well. It’s pretty easy to see how Rhaenyra and her Targaryen family are related to Daenerys, but there are a couple other connections that aren’t so immediately apparent. For one, Rhaenyra’s close friend, Alicent Hightower, is actually a distant ancestor of Margaery Tyrell, and the knight who fought for Rhaenyra’s favor in the series premiere, Ser Criston Cole, may or may not be related to the Martell family, who were very prominent players in Game of Thrones. However, this connection is much more tenuous, and there’s a lot still unknown about Criston.
In the time of Game of Thrones, Dorne is ruled by House Martell, whose members are known for their expertise with swords and fearlessness in battle, which the series premiere revealed are traits Criston clearly shares. This connection goes deeper than Criston just being a great fighter like Oberyn Martell, though. The key link between Criston and the Martells is their shared ethnic heritage. Although Criston was born in the Dornish Marches, which, despite their name, are not actually part of Dorne, George R. R. Martin’s novels confirmed he actually is of Dornish descent.
Unfortunately, Criston’s lineage isn’t as easy to trace as the more high-born characters. What fans do know about his story seems to suggest that although he may be an indirect ancestor of the Martells, there isn’t a direct connection like there are with other characters.
Spoiler alert: Explaining Criston’s family tree will likely spoil future House of the Dragon events, so don’t read on if you want to be unspoiled. In the books, Criston remained true to his Kinghtsguard oath to never marry or have children, although he did break his pledge after growing closer with Rhaenyra. The two had a torrid affair, but it didn’t result in any kids, so when Criston met his end in the midst of Rhaenyra’s conflict for the Iron Throne, he effectively ended his direct family line.
Since it’s unknown if Criston had any siblings, right now, viewers just don’t know if or how he may be connected to the Martells outside of simply sharing the same Dornish heritage. Hopefully, now that House of the Dragon is a TV series, it will shine some more light on Criston’s family ties.
New episodes of House of the Dragon air Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.