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Criston Cole will wear a chain of hands in House of the Dragon Season 2, here’s why it’s important




New set photos from House of the Dragon season 2 reveal Ser Criston Cole at Rook’s Rest leading the army of the Greens. He is clad in his Kingsguard armor, but his helmet seems to be uniquely designed to signify his position as Lord Commander.

The most noticeable and significant detail that we can see is the chain around his neck, an interlocking chain of hands that signifies his newly appointed position as the Hand of the King to King Aegon II Targaryen.

The special thing about this chain is that it is designed exactly according to the description from George R.R. Martin’s book series. And not just that, it also turns out that we’ve seen this chain before.

What does the House of the Dragon set leak reveal?


Fabien Frankel’s stunt double is seen in the photos, wearing the armor of Criston Cole and leading the Green army on Cole’s horse. The set photos were taken in the Spanish cities of Cáceres and Trujillo during the filming of a victory procession scene after the Battle at Rook’s Rest.

As we know from the books, King Aegon II will appoint Criston Cole as his new Hand, replacing his grandfather Otto Hightower after Daemon reclaims Harrenhal.

The history of the Hand’s badge of office in Game of Thrones

The badge of office for the hand of the king appears to differ for every separate individual. In the case of Ned Stark, both in the books and the TV show, the badge of office was a pin in the shape of a hand that was also a clasp or brooch that kept his cloak in place.

The book series, however, depicts Ned Stark wearing a brooch of silver. Another notable Hand, Bloodraven, wore a brooch of iron during the Blackfyre Rebellions in the Dunk and Egg books.

In the TV series, every Hand of the King, from HotD to GoT, all wear a pin that is either golden or coated with yellow metal. The exception was Tyrion, who was given a pin made of white metal, possibly silver, when he was appointed Hand under Daenerys.

Read more: Criston Cole and Gwayne Hightower head to battle in latest House of the Dragon leaks

The significance of Tyrion’s chain in the book series


Though Tyrion wore a golden brooch as Hand of the King to Joffrey, he also wore another symbol of office, very briefly. The chain that we see Criston Cole wearing in the leaked set photos also appeared in one solitary episode of Game of Thrones – S2e9: Blackwater.

For Tyrion, the chain of hands is symbolic in more ways than one. The book series includes a bard named Symon Silver Tongue, who wrote a song about Tyrion and Shae in which he quoted, “For hands of gold are always cold, but a woman’s hands are warm.” This was in reference to Tyrion’s position as the Hand of the King as well as the fact that he was a Lannister, one of the most prosperous Houses in Westeros.

Lannisters have golden hair and a golden lion as their sigil, and Tywin was jokingly said to have “shit gold.” The phrase “hands of gold” also applied to the chain of hands that Tyrion wore around his neck as Hand of the King. In the book series, Tyrion and Tywin were the only two Hands who were known to have worn this chain.

The symbolism of the chain also applies to the death of Shae. When Tyrion finds her in Tywin’s bed-chamber, she has the same chain around her neck. Tyrion uses it to strangle her to death while quoting the song.

Why does Criston Cole wear the chain?

It may be significant that Tyrion wore this chain during the Battle of the Blackwater in an episode written by George R R Martin himself. It’s been speculated that the author himself requested that the chain be included in the episode, as it has a special significance in the books.

It is more significant in the Blackwater episode as Tyrion constructed a large chain doused with wildfire to destroy Stannis’ fleet in A Clash of Kings. Blackwater was also Tyrion’s last episode as Hand of the King before Tywin assumed the position.

The fact that Criston Cole wears the same chain may have multiple explanations. The most likely explanation would be that the TV series has adapted the chain of office as one that is worn by the Hand of the King, specifically when he rides into battle.

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Since we have only seen the chain in two instances, one being Tyrion during the Battle of the Blackwater and the other being Criston Cole after the Battle of Rook’s Rest, this is a plausible conclusion to draw. However, since we haven’t yet seen pictures of Cole wearing the brooch of the Hand, it may be too soon to say.

Read more: The Green Army prepares to fight a dragon in new House of the Dragon leaks


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