Not long ago, we had panel discussions about the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor from Game of Thrones season 7. Now it’s time for the female cast members. Who was the Best Supporting Actress from season 7? Hear our pics, tell us yours, and vote in the poll!
SARAH: I’m so glad that I got here first this week because everybody’s chomping at the bit to claim Diana Rigg – at least, I assume they are. Who are you if you don’t worship at the altar of Dame Diana? Do you even Game of Thrones? I loved Lady Olenna Tyrell with an all-encompassing passion, not least because the character was safeguarded by such a capable performer.
One of the wittiest and most commanding characters in the Thrones universe, the Queen of Thorns was truly unique, and though it’s lamentable that we had to bid her goodbye, I couldn’t have asked for more from her final moments. Every element of the scene was note-perfect, and though Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was as reliable and authentic a performer as he always it, this was Rigg’s moment in the sun.
To digress a little, it’s worth mentioning that Olenna was one of the finer ‘comedic’ characters in a show that is oftentimes short on laughs. We knew her as a quick-witted old bird who skilfully lambasted almost everyone she met and picked holes in everyone but her beloved Margaery, in whom she could find no flaw. It would be easy for a less talented woman to turn Olenna into a caricature, or a one-dimensional being, so it speaks to Rigg’s class and skill that even in her most hilarious moments, we could see the ferocity of the love she bore for her family, and again, for Margaery in particular.
Recent seasons have given Rigg an opportunity to showcase a vulnerability in Lady Olenna that we hadn’t seen before and which, I suspect, Olenna herself would not care to reveal. Such moments include her one scene with Margaery in season 6, where she learns, via a craftily concealed sketch, that her apparently fanatical granddaughter is still on the side of House Tyrell, and her interaction with the Sand Snakes during that same season’s finale. The way her voice cracks slightly at the line, “she killed my granddaughter,” which serves as a subtle indicator of what must have been a chasm of grief, is one of my favorite Olenna moments. What makes her death scene so magical is that Rigg was given full license to scroll through every emotion she felt.
Resignation, fear, heartbreak, and most importantly, triumph — Olenna didn’t hold herself back when she knew that death was imminent. I got the sense that this is the first time we’ve ever seen the real Lady Tyrell, a woman who sees no reason to mask her feelings with a clever quip because she has nothing left to live for. If that was the intention of the scene, bravo to the showrunners and bravo to the actress. If not, bravo anyway. Diana Rigg breathed life into a secondary character who, like Margaery, was more impactful on screen than she ever was on paper. I am grateful to the show for casting her, and I am grateful that we didn’t have to see her actual death. Such a formidable woman deserved to end on a victorious note, sitting proudly alone after she dropped a bomb on Jaime and Cersei’s world, not slumped over in a heap. The scene was a slice of perfection in an uneven season, and Rigg was the best thing about it.
RICHARD: The ladies delivered some great performances this season, but as Sarah argues so well above, Diana Rigg was handed the biggest, most complex scene and knocked her final hurrah out of the park. I think Rigg wins the WiC Best Supporting Actress statuette (a golden-winged dragon?) hands down.
That’s not to say there weren’t other excellent efforts, even among much-maligned characters like Ellaria and Tyene Sand. In what was probably her last scene in Game of Thrones, veteran actress Indira Varma (Ellaria) tore out our hearts as a mother who, despite her own misdeeds (such as murdering Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella) recoils in agony and horror as Cersei set her up to witness her own daughter’s slow, agonizing death. For her part in the same scene, Rosabell Laurenti Sanders (Tyene) generated intense emotion. It’s too bad the Sand Snakes were never given much to do except leer and snarl; the Dornish fighting girls would have rocked it, given the chance.
DAN: Yes, Diana Rigg probably deserves top accolades for season 7 — her big final scene was written specifically to show off what she can do, and she can do a lot. Whether because of the shortened season or because this is just the way the story is going, a lot of the other supporting actresses had to make due with what they had this year. Happily, they were up to the task.
I’ve always really liked what Gemma Whelan does with Yara Greyjoy. Game of Thrones has been lauded for having a large number of well-developed female characters, which is far from a given when it comes to fantasy fiction. Yara has been flying just under the radar for the length of her time on the show, but her appearances are always memorable. With her dark eyes, untidy hair, and warlike dress, she’s distinctive visually, and Whelan brings the no-nonsense attitude you’d expect from a warrior character. But she also has a mischievous glint in her eye, and a tenderness under that.
Look at the scene in “Stormborn” where she’s flirting with Ellaria Sand. Ellaria needles Theon about his role as Yara’s protector. “Leave him be,” Yara responds, happy to get lucky but still mindful of her brother’s discomfort. But she’s not so mindful as to insist Ellaria stop, and gives Theon a resigned “What are you gonna do?” look right before Euron attacks and ruins everything. This isn’t a great scene, but Whelan sells it, and suggests there’s a lot bubbling under the surface of this character, even if we don’t always see it.
Whelan is also very impressive during the fight with Euron, showing off a physicality we hadn’t seen before. Yara is the anchor of this sequence. We follow her pain as she sees her fleet burn, and her fury as she goes into “F*** it” mode and starts tearing through Euron’s lackeys. And when Theon abandons her, you can see her heart break through her eyes. Euron might as well not be there — she just stares at the space where her brother used to be.
Geez, Yara had a rough day that day. Anyway, rock on, Gemma Whelan. I hope we see a lot more of her in season 8.
COREY: All good choices by my fellow council members. As usual, the women of Game of Thrones bring it, no matter how small the part. And speaking of small parts, my choice has to be Ellie Kendrick (Meera). Though she had but three small scenes in season 7, she was phenomenal.
We first caught sight of Meera in the premiere, “Dragonstone.” Her weariness upon reaching the Wall with Bran Stark in tow was readily apparent. After everything she’d been through (including Benjen not leaving her his horse), Meera’s exhaustion was total. But her best scene was yet to come, and involved a different emotion: heartbreak.
It’s hard not to feel for Meera when she says goodbye to Bran before leaving Winterfell. Everything she’d sacrificed, including her brother Jojen, was seemingly for naught, as Bran goes full-on android on her. Expressing no feeling and making no meaningful statement of thanks, Bran’s dismissal was more painful than anything Meera experienced north of the Wall, and Kendrick sells it well.
Kendrick’s performance in this scene is like a punch to the face, something we all wanted to do to Bran at that moment. Our anger is a direct result of Kendrick’s acting. Bravo.
RAZOR: I’m going with Carice van Houton, of course. Melisandre may not have had many scenes in season 7, but each one was extremely impactful. For instance, her conversation with Varys on the cliffs overlooking Dragonstone shook the Spider to his core. She basically told him when he was going to die, and that’s not something you just say in passing…unless you live in Westeros, apparently.
But Melisandre’s major contribution to season 7 was meeting with Daenerys Targaryen and telling her to summon Jon Snow to Dragonstone. If Melisandre does absolutely nothing in season 8, then she can rest well knowing she brought fire and ice together.
Source: WiC Staff (https://winteriscoming.net/author/wicstaff/)