Tuesday, March 31, 2015

10 underrated Game of Thrones performances

By s. Tuesday, March 31, 2015 ,
Game of Thrones is the show with the biggest ensemble of regular cast members currently airing - the show has nearly 30 cast members credited as regulars and hundreds of characters.  A number of actors received their Emmy nominations, there were many wins for Peter Dinklage and there is a lot of love for people like Conleth Hill, Gwendoline Christie and Michelle Fairley, whose lack of Emmy nomination and win borders on travesty. But today I wanted to focus on the wonderful performances by those who are very supporting in the ensemble - some appearing in just few episodes, some gone from several seasons and some only with the new season promoted to series regulars. Here are those who are just wonderful and contribute so much to the series being so incredibly well acted:

 10. Missandai
portrayed by Nathalie Emmanuel (season 3,4,5)

"Valar morghulis" 

Daenerys had great female characters in her storyline from the beginning - her cute handmaidens were not just gorgeous but also tough and because of them we got several lovely scenes of Daenerys standing up for women and having relationships with someone other than men who either desired her or tried to control her. But in season 3 we got the best female addition to her storyline - the charming, kind Missandai played by gorgeous Emmanuel who is so lovely it almost makes you not hate the writers for that silly romance subplot involving her and Grey Worm.

9. Walder Frey
portrayed by David Bradley (episodes 1x09, 3x09, 3x10)

 "The King in the North arises..."

Walder Frey is arguably the most despicable character in the entire series - a man with no loyalty and honor, who is responsible for the Red Wedding. David Bradley only appeared in three episodes (but said he will return in future seasons) and he is unforgettable as the appalling villain. Even if we have to wait to see him for several years once he shows up again we are still gonna be rooting for him to suffer.

8. Alliser Thorne 
portrayed by Owen Teale (season 1 - current)

 "Tonight, we fight! And when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand! The Night's Watch will stand! With me now! Now with me!"

Thorne who we saw being mean to poor Jon Snow and scared shitless Samwell since season 1 is one of the only charismatic guys in Night's Watch - thank the Lord that storyline has any, Stannis is joining that subplot this year and Harington's performance improved so much, because man, it was difficult to get into that one season 1. But Thorne really became a badass in his own right with his awesome speech in the battle episode of season 4, which was pretty much one of the very few good things about this episode.

7. Locke
portrayed by Noah Taylor (season 3,4)

"The fuck are you doing to my bear?!"

Locke is the show's replacement for the character of Vargo Hoat, most well known for his lisp. I remember how upset the people were when it was announced that the show is creating some new character in the place of Hoat but Noah Taylor, who is such an charismatic actor, completely owned the part and gave us so many hilarious one liners ("We only have one bear", "Who the fuck is Jon Snow?"). If only the showrunners didn't write him out in such a stupid way....

6. Maester Luwin 
portrayed by Donald Sumpter (season 1,2)

"All of them, my Lord?"

It was nice seeing someone who cared about the Starks so much, giving the boys the support while Ned was in King's Landing and Catelyn joined Robb in his war. Maester Luwin was such a kind character and his death is still one of the saddest in the series. There were also so many great little touches in Sumpter's performance, my favorite being his pride of Robb's courage as he asks him to call all the banners to defend his father.

5. Osha 
portrayed by Natalia Tena (season 1,2,3)

 "The cold winds are rising."

George R.R. Martin liked Tena's portrayal so much he is writing a little more for the character in his new books. Tena is really great in the part, making the storyline somewhat interested singlehandedly. She plays a wildling who becomes the prisoner of the Starks and in the end a guardian of both Bran and Rickon. Last we saw her she was taking Rickon away to safety and she is said to return in the future seasons.

4. Viserys Targaryen 
portrayed by Harry Lloyd (season 1)

 "That's all I wanted, what was promised."

Looking back at the series, you realize how many great characters were there that are no longer alive in the show. And how surprising that Viserys, Daenerys' arrogant brother, was only in the show for six episodes - I still remember all of his scenes very well and Lloyd was just fantastic in the role, balancing the characters' cruelty, obsession with power and being a scared little boy inside so well.

3. Qyburn 
portrayed by Anton Lesser (season 3,4,5)

"There will be pain."

Qyburn is one of the best cast characters in the show - he looks exactly like Martin described him - like a sweet, gentle, kind man. But in reality Qyburn is a monster, conducting experiments on alive subjects. We still haven't seen the depths of his evil, but we will soon.

2. Thoros of Myr 
portrayed by Paul Kaye (season 3, please God season 5)

"I knelt beside his cold body, and said the old words. Not because I believed in them, but... he was my friend. And he was dead. And they were the only words I knew. And for the first time in my life, the Lord replied. Beric's eyes opened. And I knew the truth: our God is the one true God... and all men must serve Him."

Thoros of Myr is a fascinating character - red priest who was on the verge of losing his faith, who drinks way too much and who is a part of Brotherhood without Banners. He has a real power - time and time again he has brought his friend Beric Dondarrion back from the dead. Kaye, who resembles William Hurt to a freaky degree, was just excellent in the role and he was one of the very few males in the series not intimated when sharing the screen with luminous Carice van Houten. I really hope we will see him again, perhaps even in the new season.

1. Roose Bolton 
portrayed by Michael McElhatton (season 2,3,4,5)

 "The Lannisters send their regards."

McElhatton, just like Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, makes his character so charismatic, interesting and compelling, you are almost disgusted at yourself for enjoying his scenes, because they are both such bad men. Roose, a member of cruel Bolton house which flays people and who himself killed Robb Stark and participated in Red Wedding, is one of the most clever characters in the show - what's great is that there is also a great deal of humor injected to his scenes as he berates his monstrous bastard son Ramsay and downright trolls people (who can forget that scene where Jaime literally fall to his knees after Roose leading him to believe, briefly, that something happened to Cersei?). If there is one character who deserves to meet his end from Stannis (which is something that I really hope happens in future books and the show) it's him. Funny bit here - there is some confusion in fandom as some keep mixing Dillane and McEhatton up.

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The queens shall rise and fall in the first trailer for Game of Thrones season 5


  1. Nice list and even greater leading places.

    I honestly thought before that Dance played both Roose and Tywin. That guy playing villainous Roose totally deserves 1st place on the list.

    1. Yeah the guys do look alike on the show! But really a whole group of people seems to confuse McElhatton with Dillane, less so with Dance, but I'm sure it happened at times too

  2. Excellent list! I'm glad Roose is #1. I hate myself for having such a weird old man crush on him. lol But Roose was such a monster in the book, yet he was so interesting. McElhatton just elevates all of that.

    Other smaller performances I like were Kate Dickie as Lysa (she was perfect) and Joe Dempsie as Gendry. At first I was kind of annoyed they made Gendry so much older than Arya in the show, but just watching Dempsie in a few scenes made me get over that.

    And I can't forget the first guy that played The Mountain. They should've kept him throughout the series. He was perfect.

    1. You're not the only one, most of the tumblrs I follow that fangirl over Dillane, fangirl over this one too :) I think they largely diminished how awful he is in the show, hell, next to Ramsay he is a reasonable, sane guy :)

      I considered Dickie but I thought the material in season 4 failed her a bit, they really messed up some of the Eyrie scenes. Jesus Christ, this CGI in her fall scene...:/

      Gendry is someone I consider more supporting than these, a bit bigger role.

      Oh absolutely. I heard he dropped out to do The Hobbit? Wow, what a mistake :)

  3. Nice list! I love how there are a few Harry Potter alums in the GoT cast :)

    Roose is a great choice for number one. And I'd add Katie Dickie too, since she still was great even when her material wasn't up to her level.

    1. She almost made the list :) I only wish she had better scenes in s4

  4. I wish I knew who these people were!!! I'm not reading anything you wrote here for fear of any spoilers, but I will eventually know who they are, I promise!

    1. I really hope you see it soon and like it! It's crazy entertaining

  5. Great post! I think David Bradley is such an under-rated actor. He stands out in everything I've seen him it.

    1. Thank you! Yes, he's extremely memorable and often times splendidly cast

  6. David Bradley is awesome. Even as Filch in the Harry Potter films.

  7. couldn't agree more on #4, he did leave quite an impact! very happy to have found your blog by the way, cheerio

    1. Thank so much! Harry was wonderful in the role.

  8. Great list, so many amazing underrated performances on GOT! I hope to see Harry Lloyd pop up on another show or movies. I think because his character was largely unlikable to many fans it was harder to appreciate what a great performance he gave.

    My other personal faves are Osha, Walder Frey and Roose. I hope Osha comes back at some point.

    1. He actually shows up in a lot of things, just recently he was in Riot Club and Theory of Everything, also I saw a trailed for new movie with Mark Strong and Vera Farmiga and he is in that too :)

      I'm sure she will!

  9. Wish I could add something here Sati, but hey I did recognize Noah Taylor, I didn't know he's even in GoT. Very cool!

    1. He was:D Unfortunately they killed him off :/

  10. Ooohhh this is such a great list. I was thinking about Viserys the other day and that it seems as though he was in way more episodes. Harry was so great, shame his character was doomed!

    1. Thank you! Yeah he made such a big impression it sure feels like he was in more eps!