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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Elizabeth Gregory

House of the Dragon: deleted scene shows a top-secret Kingsguard ceremony

Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole

(Picture: © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved.)

House of the Dragon season one spoilers below

A scene that was cut from HBO’s House of the Dragon has been revealed in a sneak peek of a new book on the series – and it shows a full-blown secret Kingsguard ceremony.

The scrapped scene has been detailed in House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty – the official book about the making of the prequel series, which has been written by author Gina McIntyre.

According to Entertainment Weekly, there are two pages in the book dedicated to the deleted scene, which was cut because the creators felt that it gave Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) a “win” too early in the show. Instead, they waited for Dragonstone – and who can forget the powerful moment when the Princess rode her dragon, Syrax, to the Blackwater Bay castle to face her uncle, Daemon (Matt Smith).

The ceremony takes place after Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) is chosen as a Kingsguard. Fans of the show will remember that after Ser Ryan Redwyne (Garry Cooper) died, Ser Harold Westerling (Graham McTavish) became Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, meaning a new guard was needed to fill the vacant spot.

Rhaenyra was given the honour by her father, King Viserys (Paddy Considine), and she chose Ser Criston Cole.

After a brief love affair, the duo became arch-enemies. In fact, Ser Cole took the side of Alicent, made some vicious comments and started being violent to those around him – as a result, he fast became one of the most despised characters on the show.

In the book, showrunner Ryan Condal explains, “Choosing your Kingsguard, your bodyguard, is very important, but it’s indicative of this time period — where they haven’t seen a war in over half a century — that Viserys just fobs off this really important choice to his daughter to try to give her something to do to make her feel like she has weight and significance.

“It’s a story of small choices that lead to big things. She picks Criston Cole, who later becomes the reason she nearly gets disinherited, and becomes one of her worst enemies.”

King Viserys in House of the Dragon (HBO) Viserys officiates the ceremony in the deleted scene (HBO)

Although making the ceremony clandestine was a solution to budgeting and time pressures (it had initially been imagined by the production team as a huge event with crowds of people in attendance), the end product worked well.

Greg Yaitanes, director of episode 2 explained: “We were like, ‘What if we make it like a secret society? It’s done under the cover of night... It’s almost like he’s joining a secret order, is how we approached it.”

According to the book, the scene was shot in the Red Keep throne room and took about three hours to film. Along with the Knights of the Kingsguard actors, Considine, Alcock, Frankel and McTavish were also part of the ceremony.

In the scene, Ser Cole confirms the Knights of the Kingsguard vows (which in the books include being sworn to celibacy). In the TV version, he instead vows to, as EW put it, “hold no titles, nor lands, nor father any children” – less ambitious on the celibacy, then. Viserys is overseeing the ceremony.

The book also includes a photo of the episode’s first assistant director, Charlie Watson, showing Considine (we assume – he is standing off camera) how to properly use the sword to knight Ser Cole, who is knelt on the ground.

Yaitanes says, “We got a more emotional scene than we would have if we would have spent more time shooting this other version. It’s a father-daughter bonding moment where Viserys and Rhaenyra are engaged in an activity together, and it’s a beautiful scene for Cole.”

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