Curtain Call: Dominic Carter

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“Are you drunk? I won’t have my honour questioned by an imp!”

“I’m not questioning your honour, Lord Janos. I’m denying its existence.”

So went the infamous words of one Tyrion Lannister, there setting to spark the beginning of a series of very unfortunate events befalling one Lord Janos Slynt. This poor man’s fall was as spectacular and meteoric as his rise; Janos was born but a butcher’s son, after all, and rose through the ranks of the city guard to eventually command the Gold Cloaks. But in his fall he left a trail of woe that would impress Dolorous Edd.

Janos_Slynt_Guardia_de_la_Ciudad_HBOHis acts of infamy included not only his all-too-easy fall from a cushy lordship, but even more famously hiding in the larder (“in a puddle of his own making”) during the Wildling assault on Castle Black, and then ending in a spectacular miscalculation of Jon Snow’s Starkness.

Slynt was rude, arrogant, piggish, insufferable, and played with sneering relish by Dominic Carter — an actor who has been on the show and in the role since year one. Suffice to say we’re not sad to see Slynt lose his head, but I’ll personally miss Dominic’s spot-on portrayal of a character little removed from George R.R. Martin’s novels.

maxresdefaultAnd let’s face it, it’s easy to root for the good guys — especially when he or she has a truly loathsome foil, and Dominic, through Slynt, made their jobs that much easier.

People will speak of his season 2 barb-filled exchange with Tyrion as their favorite scene, or possibly even his final defiance of Lord Commander Snow… but my personal favorite will always be the look of terror in Slynt’s eyes that turned into some weird semblance of relief when Grenn (played by the able Mark Stanley) relieved Lord Janos of his duty atop the Wall, allowing a better commander — our heroic Jon Snow — to take charge. Slynt stammered a weak bluster and promptly fled.

images (1)(Yes, I was actually rooting for him to survive that night. A good coward is hard to come by in television these days. Too many bloody heroes!)

In his assorted weaknesses, Slynt was all too human, and therefore all the more real to me, and to many others. Sure, people loved to hate him. But he will be missed.

And though Slynt’s watch has ended, Dominic remains — I have been assured — hale and hearty, with head intact. (Or at least it “might grow back”, as he stated in his Twitter account, @dominiccarter7) (He then added, shades o’ the Kingslayer, “The things we do for art.”)

Dominic is a veteran of television, with credits in shows like Doctors and Coronation Street, and played four different characters in the television show The Bill. His lauded spate on Game of Thrones will likely open a few more doors, if he cares to…

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Once he grows his head back on fully, I mean.

Thanks for everything you gave, Dominic! You’ll never be forgotten.

Give ‘im your love, Gatewatch faithful!

59 responses

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    1. Sometimes with characters like this, people just despise them so much they completely forget an actual person is playing the part. That is a great compliment to the actor in that case. I feel like that happened here.

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    2. Unpleasant characters get no love from the audience, but Dominic played his role very nicely. Well done sir!

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    3. When Jon Snow eats, will he say “7 Blessings” for the PANTRY PROTECTOR Janos Slynt who kept the food safe from Wilding bellies!?!?!

      Jon said Stannis’ army was eating too much food at Castle Black — hey dumbStark, THE ONLY REASON YOU HAVE FOOD IS LORD JANOS GUARDED IT!!!

      For the Larder is secure, and Full of Food

      RIP Lord Slynt

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    4. I loved his portrayal of Slynt. He was such a cowardly, slimy guy in the books, and Mr. Carter brought that out beautifully. Playing such an obsequious pissant so well cannot be easy, and Carter made it seem effortless. That said, Slynt deserved to have his head removed for what he did to Ned.

      The North Remembers.

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    5. Dominic was great as Janos. In some ways I think they could have easily replaced him with Alliser Thorne for Season 4 onwards, rather than having to reintroduce 2 characters, but I think it’s testament to the performances of both Dominic and Owen that they reintroduced both.

      Well played, and I hope he gets to play some more great characters (whether they are nice, or loathsome) in the future.

      And now his watch is ended.

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    6. Such a good performance. Always couldn’t stand the character and wanted to smack him in the head…which is exactly how I felt about him in the books.

      Couldn’t help but feel a touch sorry for Janos with his fear in “High Sparrow” in that last moment but it was too late after all his misdeeds. Well done on Carter’s part though!

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    7. Such a brilliant portrayal of a gutless, opportunistic, mean-hearted boot licker.

      I too hope this show has opened some doors for Mr Carter.

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    8. Jeb:
      Dominic was great as Janos.In some ways I think they could have easily replaced him with Alliser Thorne for Season 4 onwards,rather than having to reintroduce 2 characters,but I think it’s testament to the performances of both Dominic and Owen that they reintroduced both.

      Well played,and I hope he gets to play some more great characters (whether they are nice,or loathsome) in the future.

      And now his watch is ended.

      Both were such great and memorable characters that is would have been a shame if they didn’t come back.

      The guy who plays Thorne is just as good as Carter. Carter can play slimey just with his mannerisms. And the guy who played Thorne, when told he would be 1st ranger, portrayed like 5 different emotions without saying a word. Masterful.

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    9. His performance was always solid, but his final scene was his best, by far. The amount of pathos he was able to evoke in those final moments was remarkable. By the time Jon’s sword fell, I had no bloodlust left. All that remained was deep pity for this poor scared pathetic man whose bravado could no longer hide his fear.

      Bravo, Mr. Carter. Your screen time was brief, but your performance was nothing short of spectacular.

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    10. Sue the Fury:
      Such a good performance. Always couldn’t stand the character and wanted to smack him in the head…which is exactly how I felt about him in the books.

      Couldn’t help but feel a touch sorry for Janos with his fear in “High Sparrow” in that last moment but it was too late after all his misdeeds. Well done on Carter’s part though!

      I came here to say the exact same thing. In the books I cheered out loud at this moment. I expected the same in the show. But for a moment I actually wanted to Jon to spare his life.

      This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the excellent performance Carter turned in. As a horror fan, I’ve seen plenty of characters unsuccessfully beg for their lives and felt nothing.

      I wish him well in his career.

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    11. He was never going to be the “head” of the organisation.

      He really lost his “head” in the heat of battle.

      He never could make “head” nor tail of life on the wall.

      Ok i’l stop. 🙂

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    12. WeirwoodTreeHugger: I came here to say the exact same thing. In the books I cheered out loud at this moment. I expected the same in the show.But for a moment I actually wanted to Jon to spare his life.

      This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the excellent performance Carter turned in…

      I too had a tiny measure of sympathy for him in the end…but just for a moment. I truly will not miss Janos Slynt.

      Carter was great in this role and I hope there are many more roles in his future.

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    13. Kudos to Mr. Carter for dedicating over 4 years to this show – the perfect Janos Slynt! (Must have been fun to play against Peter D.)

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    14. Anyone care to speculate what Janos and Gilly discussed during their precious hour together in seclusion? Gilly must confess!

      Janos, may you spend eternity in the Stranger’s grip for what you did to King Robert’s bastards.

      Dominic Carter…respect and thanks!

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    15. Wonderful performance of a completely despicable character. Didn’t know Mr Carter was on Twitter- if he’s as enjoyable there as Meryn Fucking Trant is, I’ll truly be lost in the world.

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    16. Dominic Carter, well played. Lord Janos Slynt, it’s Faceless Man that you want to become, not a headless one

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    17. Good riddance Lord Janos! Big ups to Dominic Carter, for playing that fuckface with such conviction. That scene back in S2 with Tyrion was memorable- very well acted; setting the stage for poetic justice.

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    18. Dominic Carter did a wonderful job as Janos Slynt. While I feel confident in saying that the former Commander of the City Watch of King’s Landing – how he loved to to remind everyone of that fact – was no one’s favorite character, Carter’s contribution to Game of Thrones should not be overlooked. The character of Lord Janos has so few redeeming qualities (verging on none) that the role that Carter was tasked with could easily have been a thankless one. Indeed, it could have been a disaster in the hands of an unskilled performer: cardboard cutouts and villainous cartoons are no fun to hate. But part of the reason why Slynt’s demise was ultimately so satisfying is because Carter was so successful in finding the humanity in the man he was charged with bringing to life on screen. To be sure, it was often the very worst of humanity that he was called upon to depict. But Carter showed us that darkness without vanity or complaint, and often with remarkably memorable style.

      For a character who is widely considered to be a second-tier villain (as much as either of those terms can apply to a show like Game of Thrones), Janos racked up a pretty notorious resume during his run on the show. He betrayed Ned Stark, ultimately to his death. He presided over the slaughter of Robert Baratheon’s bastards and personally murdered an infant girl – still perhaps the most heinous act ever depicted on a show that has provided no shortage of contenders for that title. After he was sent to the Wall, he never wasted a chance to undermine Jon Snow – he even surreptitiously tried to have him killed. And when the Night was darkest and the Watch was under siege, Slynt was the only fit brother who forsook his duty and resorted to cowering in a cellar until the battle was over. The hatred he engendered was well-earned.

      Throughout it all, Carter perfectly captured Janos’s arrogance, cruelty, obsequiousness, and cowardice – a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that he appears to be a thoroughly lovely man in real life! Every interview I’ve seen with a Game of Thrones cast member who had the opportunity to work with Carter has been highly complimentary – most notably Kit Harington, who raved about Carter’s performance during Janos’s final moments. That’s a mark of respect for a true professional.

      I can’t say that I was sorry when Jon Snow passed his sentence and took Slynt’s head – it is an iconic moment in the series, and Lord Janos had more than earned his fate. But Carter’s performance in that moment elicited my empathy, and I did feel a pang of regret that the show was losing a great actor who had been a part of this world since the very first season. There aren’t that many of the original crew left, after all!

      Congratulations to Dominic Carter for a great run on Game of Thrones! I wish him all the best in whatever comes next … as long as it isn’t commanding the City Watch of King’s Landing. No good can come of that. 😉

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    19. He gave a truly wonderful performance. I won’t miss Janos Slynt, but Dominic Carter certainly deserves acknowledgement for what he brought to the character.

      Not only did he play a cowardly, duplicitous scumbag to perfection, but in his last moments, he actually did gain a degree of pity from me (something I had never felt for him before, and never AT ALL for his book counterpart), when he said “I’m afraid. I’ve always been afraid”. It really shows how a man, when confronted with his own mortality, can finally recognize and admit all of his faults. And Dominic played that masterfully.

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    20. Dominic Carter = great portrayal of saggy d#ckbags for loose c%ntswags.

      Off topic: Does anybody think that show Brienne thinks that Sansa/Littlefinger is heading to the Wall. Sansa and Pod did mention the as a possibility last season. It seems like everybody agrees she’s heading for Winterfell. Did she explicitly say “Winterfell” in s05e03? I ask this because of the dialogue foreshadowing her wanting revenge against Stannis. I could imagine her getting sidetrack to make a move against Stannis on his way to Winterfell. This might coincide with the fire at the camp where Stannis looks to be planning an attack on WinterBoltonfell in the trailer.

      Thoughts?

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    21. Goodbye Lord Slynt and many thanks for a brilliant portrayal Dominic. Another memorable character says goodbye to our epic story.

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    22. The Bastard: Both were such great and memorable characters that is would have been a shame if they didn’t come back.

      The guy who plays Thorne is just as good as Carter.Carter can play slimey just with his mannerisms.And the guy who played Thorne, when told he would be 1st ranger, portrayed like 5 different emotions without saying a word.Masterful.

      Pretty much this

      Both are doing well. In this case they need both, eg to have Slynt as the so-called “illegitimate” enemy of Jon but Ser Alliser is the “legitimate” enemy, eg there IS a need to distrust the Wildlings etc so Janos Slynt was a good foil to Ser Alliser Thorne as much as he was Jon Snow

      Plus if we think back to the Battle of Castle Black, excellently done, eg they can have Slynt play the snivelling coward to promote Jons herosim

      At the same time no one can deny that Thorne did very admirably which is what some Jon lovers would have to accept. I enjoy this as it means it is not black and white like TV audiences would like it to be

      It would be easy to merge Thorne and Marsh into one, I don’t reckon Thorne will be at the centre of it – indeed I expect the First Ranger gig is a valid excuse to have him off-screen at seasons end so his character can be preserved for later as in the books – but if Thorne was central to Ides this would totally undermine any legitimate criticism of Jon

      I liked the dialogue where they (Jon and Thorne) discuss whether they should have blocked the tunnel, it’s true that it is always easy to criticise but when you do command it is not so easy, so I guess we will now have a reversal of that dynamic re accommodating the Wildlings

      Well done to Carter, I agree this will indeed probably open some doors for him

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    23. I felt the instinctive urge to smack his at all times when he was on screen. Kudos to Dominic’s acting (and yet another nod to Nina Gold). One of those portrayals that is impossible to shake on rereads of the books – in a very good way. The Sheriff of Nottingham done with some real depth.

      He also looks like a sexy Despicable Me – Gru in those head shots… I’m very awkwardly confused in my feelings now…

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    24. Just some speculation

      Does anyone think Maester Aemon is going to die during his kill the boy speech because he was seen coughing during the election and in episode 3 Sam said he wasn’t in attendance because he was feeling sick

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    25. What a jerkoff. He played it so perfectly. And once again, the show manages to give you a twinge of sympathy as someone is about to die, whereas in the book I felt not a shred of sympathy.

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    26. Ser Blount Sarkasm:
      Dominic Carter = great portrayal of saggy d#ckbags for loose c%ntswags.

      Off topic: Does anybody think that show Brienne thinks that Sansa/Littlefinger is heading to the Wall.Sansa and Pod did mention the as a possibility last season.It seems like everybody agrees she’s heading for Winterfell.Did she explicitly say “Winterfell” in s05e03?I ask this because of the dialogue foreshadowing her wanting revenge against Stannis.I could imagine her getting sidetrack to make a move against Stannis on his way to Winterfell.This might coincide with the fire at the camp where Stannis looks to be planning an attack on WinterBoltonfell in the trailer.

      Thoughts?

      My guess is that Brienne’ big choice this season will be a moment where she is forced to choose between protecting Sansa and killing Stannis, or worse yet from her point of view, helping Sansa help Stannis. I can easily see Brienne taking an Abel/Mors Umber type of role. Conflicting vows and oaths is the core of Brienne’s character arc. Since our favorite zombie is likely out of the show, something similar needs to replace it in terms of Brienne’s character development.

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    27. Somehow I mostly remember Slynt him as the one who killed Bobby B’s infant bastard daughter Barra in Littlefinger’s brothel. I rather enjoy that he was executed by a bastard, heh.

      Definitely did not feel bad to see his head roll. It was a great performance till the end. Thanks Dominic!

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    28. Congrats and adios to Dominic Carter, for giving a great performance as one of the most vile characters in ASOIAF. A peronal worst of mine, for what he did to Ned!

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    29. Played the character really well. A piece of shit, but he still felt like a real person, not a cartoon…making him even easier to hate, maybe.

      I actually felt bad for him when he asked for mercy from Jon, which is a real testement to his acting. I had been looking forware to his death ever since we learned Carter was coming back, yet I still felt a twinge of sadnees for him when he died. Another great talent gone.

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    30. Hodor Targaryen:
      Played the character really well. A piece of shit, but he still felt like a real person, not a cartoon…making him even easier to hate, maybe.

      I actually felt bad for him when he asked for mercy from Jon, which is a real testement to his acting. I had been looking forware to his death ever since we learned Carter was coming back, yet I still felt a twinge of sadnees for him when he died. Another great talent gone.

      This, and you could almost have understood/forgiven Jon if he had chosen to be merciful at the last instant, despite the numerous evils Janos had done.

      Dominic did a great job, especially as he is not well known as an actor even here.

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    31. Being based in the UK for me his face is one of those that one recognises from TV without being able to put a name to it (though that may change after his stint as Janos Slynt). He did manage to make one loathe his character and feel pity at the last.

      Slightly off-topic – and probably only people of ho-ho-ho “mature” years (like Sincerely Thine) will know what I’m talking about, but I’ve just realised that Peter Vaughan (Maester Aemon) played “Groutie” in prison comedy “Porridge” and Shirley’s Dad in “Citizen Smith” (well some of the series of “Citizen Smith”). They were both comedies – very different to GoT.

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    32. Loved this Curtain Call, I’m happy to see that we’re celebrating an amazing portrayal of a despicable character! Not only heroes will be remembered.
      Congrats to Dominic Carter, he did a perfect job!

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    33. “I’m afraid. I’ve always been afraid.”

      And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the theme that hides in plain sight throughout ASOIAF. Jaime throws Bran out a window. The Hound slaughters Arya’s young friend at Joffrey’s command. They do this because they are afraid of the consequences if they don’t.

      The difference is they are granted redemption arcs, and Slynt wasn’t. They become fan favorites, they have (to a certain extent), plot armor, and we are allowed into their heart and soul and humanity in a way not granted to a peripheral character like Slynt.

      As viewers and readers, we align ourselves with our imagined better selves on screen or page (the heroes) and pass judgment on the characters who fall short (the cravens and villains).

      Yet in Slynt’s final moments, we see an aspect of ourselves we prefer to deny. Are we ever really courageous in our daily lives? Are we ever truly put to the test? Do we really take any risks, except in our imaginations? As employees in our workplaces, how often do we cower in fear of bullying bosses (or, heck, HR!) lest we lose our livelihoods? Face it people, we fold–almost every time.

      And that doesn’t even bring up what Brienne once referred to as “battle courage.”

      In the world of GoT, you would lose not only your job but your head. It’s ironic that the only time in his life Slynt stuck his neck out (challenging Jon), he got himself killed.

      Deep down, in the real world, there’s a little bit of Janos Slynt in us all. His final words showed us that. He suddenly became identifiably human.

      It was a small grace note. It came and went. But it gave the execution meaning beyond mere comeuppance.

      Moments like this make ASOIAF what it is, and why we so cherish it.

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    34. If it wasn’t for actors like Dominic C, where would others, like Peter D be? Sometimes, I wish awards were won by the lesser cast-members, in recognition of their efforts. When you’ve grown to dislike a character as much as most have with Janos Slynt, that’s all down to the actor. The same went for Jack, portraying Joffrey.
      Janos Slynt’s fall from grace is classic. It’d be good if GRRM got around to a book based on the lesser characters, like Janos. Butcher’s son to being in charge of Gold Cloaks, surely that has a story worth telling.

      BIF – And now his watch is ended!

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    35. Dame of Mercia:
      Being based in the UK for me his face is one of those that one recognises from TV without being able to put a name to it (though that may change after his stint as Janos Slynt).He did manage to make one loathe his character and feel pity at the last.

      Slightly off-topic – and probably only people of ho-ho-ho “mature” years (like Sincerely Thine) will know what I’m talking about, but I’ve just realised that Peter Vaughan (Maester Aemon) played “Groutie” in prison comedy “Porridge” and Shirley’s Dad in “Citizen Smith” (well some of the series of “Citizen Smith”).They were both comedies – very different to GoT.

      I remember Groutie ( he was the prison hard man) , and Citizen Smith – rest assured that you may not be the oldest person on this site 😉

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    36. WRT to Janos Slynt

      “ This so-called Lord of Harrenhal is a butcher’s whelp upjumped by the Lannisters. Small wonder he is venal and corrupt.”
      – Ser Denys Mallister
      Samwell POV – ASoS

      My take on him was that he got to where he was simply because his value was that he was the most corrupt and more easily bribed than anyone else. You don’t need to be brave to carry out guard duties or work in the City Watch ( a few men with swords and armour can even arrest a douche like Karl “the fookin legend “Tanner without too much bother if they take him by surprise). No great surprise that The Powers That Be would rather have a slimeball in charge to organise their dirty work than an honest, honourable and brave man ( Yes Baelish – that means you!).

      Most of us know people who seem to be promoted way past their real ability, mainly because they are very good at taking credit for the work of others and weaseling their way to the top of the greasy pole through browntongueing. Janos had most likely never been in a battle situation so without the power to order others around while keeping himself out of danger no wonder he crumbled when it came to a real fight (in the show anyway – in the books the emphasis is more on his remaining much more easily manipulated than being the master manipulator he stupidly thinks he is.).

      In some ways, in GRRM world it’s actually more of a surprise that after Tyrion deals with his BS and to all and intents and purposes internally exiled he finally meets such a humiliating end being a character that people love to hate and therefore a prime candidate to go from undeserved strength to undeserved strength in the NW.

      And now his watch is ended!

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    37. Credit where credit is due. As he became a weakkneed sociopath and enjoyer of puddles of his own making, I respect what Lord Janos brought to the table. He brought the Stark out of Jon.

      Makes you wonder when Jon starts to Targ it up. “WHERE ARE MY DIREWOLF!?!”

      Congratulatios Dominic.

      Have to agree with most here, among horrible deeds such as dropping little kids out of towers, rapes, unjustified or justified beheadings, Bolton’ing, burning men alive for dubious reasons, chopping off limbs and appendages for the heck of it, and killing unsuspecting kings at their weddings, stabbing an innocent baby to death in front of her mother counts as one of my top-3 cruelest moments in GoT. And I still felt sympathy the first, second and third time I saw the episode.

      As for the rest of that dubious Top3:
      Probably only preceeded by how they.. added.. bellystabbing to the Red Wedding and followed by Craster’s MO.

      Sure, whichever Walder it was that stabbed Talisa probably didn’t have a choice out of fear of being ousted from la famiglia or life for that matter, but L-Walder sure did. Perhaps he feared the possibility of an unborn Stark haunting him.. Being as old as he is, I doubt he would’ve lived to see little Ned’s revenge.

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    38. Always good to have a character around who makes you feel good about yourself because you’re simply a much better person than them in every way!

      Thanks for that, Dominic. Not only did you show Slynt as nasty every second he was on screen, you showed him scared every time as well. Sometimes scared that he’d lose position and sometimes scared of physical danger, but always, always a coward.

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    39. Arya havin’ a larf?,

      I suppose in my aside about a couple of Peter Vaughan’s former roles I should have mentioned also that people who would remember them would most likely be from the UK – I think a few British TV programmes make their way on to PBS in the USA (“Daft-town Abbey” for example – though I shouldn’t judge I’ve never seen it) and maybe Canada but their number I feel is less than the amount of US programmes that are imported into the UK.

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    40. Well done, Mr. Carter – especially for evoking sympathy at the very end. This is one of the standout elements of GoT, that we can feel regret at the death of the most odious characters. Looking forward to seeing how it will be done with Ramsey, when Sansa finally hands him his just desserts.

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    41. Great performance, while it was great to see Janos go, I don’t feel the same about Dominic. I wish him good luck in the future, I’ll keep an eye on his future projects.

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    42. Carter was great, another character actor in this show that just nails the role.

      I was glad to see him off’d!! Haha…I wonder how many Unsullied remembered that he played a key role in selling Ned Stark out.

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    43. Impressive acting.

      I wasn’t sure if it were Janos’ end till it was his end. He did get a good, quick death. That might have been mercy compared to what his life might have become.

      Either way, I remember being surprised when Janos actually appeared in Castle Black. I though he’d be written out of the show after that Tyrion scene. And I’m very much glad Dominic Carter stayed in the show for years to come after that.

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    44. I’m only sad Jon didn’t order to hang him initially. But indeed, like Joffrey, great portrayal of a despicable character.

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