House Of The Dragon’s Graham McTavish Reveals Savage Line Cut From The Show Involving His Character And Ser Criston Cole

From left to right: Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling and Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole.
(Image credit: HBO)

Over the course of Season 1 of House of the Dragon, Ser Criston Cole became one of the most disliked characters, by viewers and various other characters on the show. There were so many people he betrayed, namely Rhaenyra. However, Graham McTavish’s character, who is also a part of the king’s guard, revealed how his character felt about learning Criston’s true colors, and a savage line of dialogue that his knight almost got to throw at the Queen’s sworn protector.

McTavish, who plays Ser Harrold Westerling on HOTD, was the lord commander of the king’s guard while Viserys was king. However, after the king’s passing and the Greens stealing the throne from Rhaenyra, Ser Harrold began to question his loyalties to the throne. This really became the case after his fellow knight, Criston Cole, murdered a man on the small council for not agreeing with the Greens. It was a moment of terrible realization for the knight who had helped Cole rise to a higher status in the castle, and the actor behind Westerling told TV Line just how hurt he was by Cole, saying: 

But yeah, I mean, it’s a slow realization for him, and by the time we get to Episode 9, I mean, it’s all he can do not to literally just kill him on the spot.

While many viewers saw through Criston Cole early on, especially after that wedding episode, Episode 9 of HOTD proved to be a breaking point for a few knights. However, while one went off to pledge his allegiance to Rhaenyra, McTavish’s character left the small council meeting and abandoned King’s Landing, not to be seen again in Season 1. 

However, before he left the castle, his character was scripted to have one more savage line targeted at Criston Cole. Sadly it was cut, but McTavish explained why, and what the line was:

There was actually a line which I was a bit disappointed it didn’t make it in, where I’m facing off with him in the end. It was about ‘The rats in the Red Keep have more honor than you.’ He really let him have it in that sense. Yeah. And I understand why they would have maybe kept that out, because if you have that statement, what is the reaction from somebody? What is the believable reaction from somebody as hot-headed as Criston Cole? So, I can see why they might have left it out, but that’s certainly what he’s thinking, that this person standing in front of him has no honor. None.

It would have been epic to see McTavish’s character square off against Cole, and murmur or yell that intense line at the evil knight. However, I do understand why it was cut. We’ve learned that Ser Criston is not afraid to kill anyone who wrongs him or those he’s loyal to, and if Ser Harrold would have said that, there is no way he would have made it out of the castle. 

While McTavish’s character wasn’t in the finale of HOTD, I’d assume his character will be making an appearance in Season 2 of the Game of Thrones prequel. It’s clear that the Targaryen family is on the brink of war, and I’d imagine the Lord Commander of Viserys’ king's guard will be back to help out the rightful queen to the Iron Throne (and hopefully give Criston Cole what he deserves). 

We’ll have to wait quite a while to see what happens next on House of the Dragon and if Ser Westerling returns to participate in the Dance of the Dragons. In the meantime, you can stream one of the highly talked about shows on the 2022 TV schedule with an HBO Max subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.