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20220925 192754

An MMA expert breaks down the House of the Dragon wedding fight

thehourlynews 2 weeks ago 0
20220925 192754

This week house of the dragon brought a lot to the ceremonial table: intriguing power couples, bold fashion choices, and, ultimately, a particularly nasty fight.

It is the latter that we are here to talk about today.

[Ed. note: Significant spoilers follow for the fifth episode of House of the Dragon.]

One of the biggest events in the episode is the wedding between Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon, which solidifies the bond between two powerful Westerosi houses. As is often the case with political marriages, the spouses have their eyes on each other: namely their respective lovers, Ser Criston Cole and Ser Joffrey “The Kissing Knight” Lonmouth.

At the wedding, Ser Joffrey deduces that Ser Criston is his counterpart in this four-sided relationship. Joffrey tries to strike up a conversation, hinting that he knows Criston and Rhaenyra’s secret, and advises that the two knights watch out for each other.

That’s going… extremely wrong. Soon after, a commotion erupts on the dance floor, with Criston on top of Joffrey, punching him in the face with reckless abandon. It’s a ground and punch scene straight out of a modern MMA fight (albeit with a combatant in full armor).

Laenor Velaryon and Ser Joffrey Lonmouth lock eyes at Laenor's wedding.

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

Fortunately, I work in the same place as MMA Fighting, the best MMA website in the business. So I got in touch with lead reporter Damon Martin, who also describes himself as a “huge” fan of the Game of Thrones universe.

Martin was impressed by Criston’s ground-and-pound fighting, and compared the gentleman’s technical approach to that of heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes. But he said the young fighter could still up his game.

“Give credit to Criston Cole for his technique with the quick takedown and moving into the mount, where he began to rain down blows on the ‘Knight of Kisses,’ who really needs to work on his defense on the ground, although he now seems that he will never get the chance,” Martin said. “The only real improvement Ser Criston needs to make would be to mix in some elbows to go along with the punches if he really wants to deal maximum damage, but he seemed to be doing just fine with his fists.”

As for Joffrey, the loser in this particular battle (no official confirmation on his condition, but he sure looked in pretty bad shape at the end of the exchange), Martin gave some notes on how he might have avoided his bloody fate.

“Poor Joffrey never got a chance to show any of his fighting skills once he had his back turned,” he said. “It seemed that he had never taken a single fighting class in all those years that he was in the service of House Velaryon in Driftmark. At the very least, Joffrey should have known how to protect himself from the bigger, stronger opponent to keep him close and at least mitigate the damage he was absorbing. Having Ser Criston work at having the freedom to stand tall and throw punches would probably have tired him out, considering he had about 80 pounds of armor weighing him down at the time.”

Ser Criston Cole holds a knife to his stomach in a grassy area in House of the Dragon.

Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO

What about Criston moving forward? We see at the end of the episode that Queen Alicent prevents him from committing suicide. If Criston puts his mind to it, Martin believes he could become a true star in the world of Westerosi MMA.

“Being Criston certainly seems like the complete package,” Martin said. “He has power, speed and a ruthlessness that will probably carry him far in future fights. But dealing with emotion can be a double-edged sword, so he may want to control his anger. Because the day will come when Criston runs into a cerebral opponent, who could take advantage of his inability to separate work from something more personal.

“If he keeps working on that wrestling, he could compete for a WFC title one day (Westeros Fighting Championships, of course).”

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