Curtain Call: Jonathan Pryce

HS

There are castings for Game of Thrones that, when announced, you think “Holy [string of obscenities], we got THEM?!” Actors the fans chose and hoped for, or performers so amazingly gifted there is little dissent even in a fandom likes ours that thrives on debating every little thing. The dream castings.

Heading into season 5, we were lucky enough to get two of those castings. Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell was one. And the other was Jonathan Pryce, taking on the role of the High Sparrow, the man who would outplay Cersei Lannister…for a time. The High Sparrow’s faith and cunning carried him for two eventful seasons of Game of Thrones, but in the end, the Lioness Queen reigned supreme, annihilating all her enemies including the High Sparrow in the season 6 finale.

It seems as though it was just yesterday that Pryce’s casting was announced, along with several others, at San Diego Comic Con 2014.

I was still reeling from the high of having Siddig in the cast, when the video finished up with Pryce, an actor I’ve been a huge fan of for twenty years.

To be honest, I hadn’t invested much thought or emotion into High Sparrow’s onscreen portrayal before then. He was Cersei’s ascetic nemesis throughout the later books in the ASOIAF series. But he’s not the most exciting character, is he? Obnoxiously pious, underestimated and sly in a quiet fashion, even in print we can see her fall coming before Cersei does. He’s not the sexy sort of villain you can root for. He’s the face of the Westerosi Inquisition, and we’re left shaking our heads at Cersei’s folly in empowering the movement and this man.

But putting Jonathan Pryce in the role? You have my full attention. Now I’m interested, now I want more.

Brazil1Strangely enough, it wasn’t his star-making turn in Brazil that made Pryce a favorite (though the Terry Gilliam surrealist cult classic is a great movie). It wasn’t his part as Governor Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or appearances in movies like Glengarry Glen Ross, Ronin, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Something Wicked This Way Comes, HBO’s Barbarians at the Gate, or playing the villain in the 007 flick Tomorrow Never Dies. It wasn’t even his wonderful turn as Lytton Strachey in one of my favorite movies, Carrington.

No, my love for Jonathan Pryce stems from my other nerdy passion in life: musical theater. Like most actors from the UK, he has a strong background in stage performance with plenty of Shakespeare under his belt, and he picked up a Tony Award in 1977 for his work on the contemporary play Comedians. Pryce returned to the stage in the 1990’s, carving out a corner for himself as a musical leading man. Originating the role of the Engineer in Miss Saigon, he was gloriously obscene, sharp-edged and hilarious, shimmying and deal-making his way to another Tony Award. He was Guido in Nine, Fagin in Oliver!, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and performed “Blow Gabriel Blow” in De-Lovely. In 1996, Pryce appeared alongside Madonna in the big screen version of Evita, singing as Juan Peron. In every musical role, he was different and delightful, but in every character, there was a thread of intelligence and wit as well.

Evita

Over the decades, Pryce bounced between the stage and screen, building up a résumé any actor would envy. In recent years, he’s developed a knack for playing men of power, holy men and leaders who were both. And so it’s no surprise that when he found his way to Game of Thrones, it was in the shape of the High Sparrow, a man with a powerful voice of his own, and the will to lead the people.

From the beginning of his time on the show, Pryce’s nameless sparrow was something of a paradox, humble but with the self-possession of the highborn men and women he faced. The cast of Game of Thrones stepped up their game whenever they faced the High Sparrow, with Lena Headey, Natalie Dormer, Diana Rigg, and Dean-Charles Chapman all doing some of their best work while tangling with the wily holy man.

HS Queen of TMy favorite episode for the High Sparrow is “The Gift,” the season 5 episode where we see him challenge the Queen of Thorns and finally arrest Cersei. Pryce and Rigg are a dream pairing, and many were waiting for the tart-tongued Olenna Tyrell to take on the prim High Sparrow. You have to love that touch of humor when each acknowledges their physical failings before getting down to business.

But when he leaves the Queen of Thorns wordless, her threats worthless, it’s a stark (no pun intended) realization: the power didn’t lay where we had been assuming it did all along. “You are the few, we are the many. And when the many stop fearing the few…”

The Tyrells suffer, but Cersei has her own nasty fall shortly thereafter. The High Sparrow draws Cersei in slowly before revealing that Lancel has revealed her own sins to the Faith. She may be the king’s mother and a former queen consort but that’s meaningless to the High Sparrow. The cold light, that touch of malice in his eyes as he wins- if you love Cersei, you’ll want to kill him for it. If you hate Cersei, you’ll be cheering him on. Either way, Jonathan Pryce was brilliant.

He brought his charismatic and focused performance to every episode he was in, until the last. It would have been easy to go over the top with the character, but Pryce was in control, delivering a subtle and smart take on the role. Even in the sept of Baelor, as Margaery warned him that Cersei was up to something, you could see the slight flickers of doubt creep in as he brushed them aside and pushed onward. And at the very end, well- a picture says a thousand words.

High Sparrow, in the Sept of Baelor about to be very blown up

Pryce was everything I could have hoped for in a High Sparrow. He was the dream casting I never considered, and though King’s Landing will be better off without the Sparrows, certainly Game of Thrones will be poorer for not having Jonathan Pryce among the cast anymore.

81 responses

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    1. Oh my god!! Didn’t know he was in ”Evita” and I watched that movie dozens of time…..

      Fantastic actor, loved every scene he was in. His scene with Olenna and Cersei in S4 were simply outstanding.

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    2. I’m really going to miss Mr. Pryce. I didn’t care much about the HS in the books, but my, oh my, the character was really something else in the show, thanks to such an amazing performance.
      A lot of people didn’t like the HS, for being a fanatic or whatever, but I really enjoyed his scenes. It was a real pleasure to have Jonathan Pryce in the show.

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    3. I’ve been continually amazed by his ability to make me like the High Sparrow every now and then, even though he’s quite fundamentalistic.
      Lovely, calm, confident performance.

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    4. He was great on GoT and Brazil is definitely one of the best movies of all time. I really need to watch it again.

      That scene with Margaery this season where he talked about his backstory, you could tell the directors and crew know how good he is from the way the camera focused on him.

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    5. Man, I’ll miss this guy. I hate Cersei (though Lena is amazing at it) so I was glad when he schooled her, thought I love the Tyrell’s, so as with most good GoT characters everything is always grey.

      Only person I’ll miss nearly as much as Natalie. Pryce had hella presence. Definitely see him when reading the books now.

      And I totally agree about the Holy Shit nature of his casting. Loved him in Pirates. Very glad he gave the show a second chance. Definitely a big get on par with Bean and Dance. Really sad to see him go, but will be forever grateful to have had him. He really lent gravitas and prestige to a show with tons, and highhandedly gave it more which is no small task. Really gonna miss him, but hell of a run; and that final non-verbal acting, hell of a way to go!

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    6. I thought it was too funny he didn’t turn out to be Howland Reed, like my daughter insisted. We butted heads on this issue. Hahaha He wss a great actor and will be missed.

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    7. An incredible performance all the way from the slums of KL when Cersei seeks for him to his final moment when he realises that the game is over!

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    8. I will take Jonathan Pryce any and every way I can get him and I loved him as the High Sparrow. The power and emotion he displays in his facial expressions alone pull me into his scenes 100%. When he confronts and arrests Cersei…YES! I could watch that over and over again. He will be sorely missed! Thank you for your amazing work, Mr. Pryce!

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    9. I’m a huge (HUGE!!!) James Bond fan and Tomorrow Never Dies was the first one I ever saw, back when I was 12 or 13, so just like Pierce Brosnan became my template for Bond, Jonathan Price was the template for a Bond villain. I was a fan of his ever since and was incredibly thrilled when he was announced as High Sparrow. And his performance turned out wonderful! He will be missed on the show!

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    10. Many people hated the High Sparrow, but I loved him and every scene he was a part of. An amazing portrayal by an amazing actor. I think we can all agree that he was one of the top 5 best actors of Game of Thrones. Farewell Mr. Pryce, you will be terribly missed.

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    11. One of the greatest actors alive. He IS the High Sparrow in my eyes, he wholly inhabited that character. Loved him ever since I saw “Brazil” all those years ago. He’s always a joy to watch. So many good movies… Baron Munchausen, the Pirates+Carribean series, Glengarry Glen Ross… and he’s in the upcoming series Taboo with Tom Hardy which looks bloody awesome!

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    12. Beautifully written, Sue. One can see you truly were a fan. Mr. Pryce played his role almost too well. He did to the audience what the HS did to Cersei – made you believe he was pious, fair and harmless in his potato sack dress and bare feet, as he reeled you in closer and closer for the final catch. He made the viewer question at first whether or not the HS was sincere, but gradually the HS’s delight in overcoming the high-born showed with every smirk and broken promise. Your depiction of him as the face of the Westeroi Inquisition is pinpoint perfect. That’s what it was, an inquisition. Such a fate as he got was just what he deserved. Too bad he took Margaery with him to his doom. Farewell, Mr. Pryce – your performance was excellent but your character needed to go.

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    13. Johan Sporre:
      I’ve been continually amazed by his ability to make me like the High Sparrow every now and then, even though he’s quite fundamentalistic.
      Lovely, calm, confident performance.

      Pryce made it impossible for me to not root for the High Sparrow. While I cringed at the Faith’s persecution based on their ideals of morality, I think his mission to take down the privilege class a few pegs was pretty dynamic to watch. He was the perfect foil for Cersei, especially since he was a “monster” she created.
      This show is full of dynamite actors but in the presence of Pryce, everyone stepped up their game. That final scene between Pryce and Natalie Dormer was so tense, that final eye lock between them, it was magic.
      There was always thought to be an ulterior motive simmering underneath but seeing as he met an explosive fate, maybe not. Maybe his intentions purely rested on raising up those condemned to being nothing more than the subjects, while reminding the upper crust that they are no better, or more deserving, than those they walk on.
      I loved his performance. While religious zealots are usually impossible to champion, and it could get heavy handed even on this show, to know it was the High Sparrow that finally made Cersei slip into madness is the best gift this entire story line could give. You can bet your ass the people of Kings Landing, as well as noble houses throughout Westeros, are going to be wishing the High Sparrow was still around. What has been unleashed with the Faith’s demise is ten times scarier than anything they dished out.

      Pryce was brilliant.

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    14. Awesome role played by Johnathon. GOT casting continues to be almost perfect.Lost count of the characters that have improved from their book roles.

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    15. The “barefoot zealot”…his presence was mesmerizing regardless of whether or not you liked the HS. Quite a coup to grab an actor like Pryce for the role of the HS. If only he had listened to Queen Margaery…

      Finally, thanks to everyone at WOTW for turning out these Curtain Calls. All were sincere tributes to these actors.

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    16. Ser Pryce, I despised your character with a furious passion, like very few other fictional characters, and that is one of the best compliment I could do for your amazing work in GoT !

      And thank you for all the other characters you’ve played through your carreer. You are a tremendous actor !

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    17. Before GOT, I knew Jonathan Pryce from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as Governor Swann, and from The Brothers Grimm, as a villainous French General. I greatly enjoyed his performances in those movies, and so when I heard he was cast as the High Sparrow, I was really excited. And he did not disappoint.

      The High Sparrow was a very different kind of villain than we’ve seen in GOT. He wasn’t a crazed psychopath (like Joffrey or Ramsay), or a stern, power-hungry patriarch (like Tywin, Roose, or Walder). He was a calm, pious man, who genuinely believed in the righteousness of his cause, but still took visible pleasure in tearing down the rich and powerful (perhaps due to an unprivileged upbringing).

      It was unclear at first what we should think of this man. He was genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of the common folk, unlike Cersei, but as the show went on, his true nature became more clear. And Pryce played it perfectly – both the kind, benevolent priest, and the smug schemer.

      Thank you very much, Jonathan, for your exceptional performance.

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    18. I remember watching that Season 5 casting video back in the summer of 2014 and being stunned that Game of Thrones had managed to book Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow. That shock only lasted as long as it took for that turned to glee – which was about three seconds. What else can I say about him that Sue hasn’t already articulated so wonderfully? The man is a legend.

      The introduction of the High Sparrow in the episode that bears his name was fairly innocuous by design, but even if you somehow didn’t know about Pryce and his remarkable talents, his subtle charisma made it obvious that he would be a major player. For as antagonistic as their characters would become, he and Lena Headey worked extraordinarily extremely well in all of their scenes together. To be fair, Pryce worked well with every actor he was paired with – he raised the level of the playing field, but he never overshadowed his co-stars. That’s a testament to his experience and understanding of what the scene required of him – and his prodigious talent, of course.

      From the moment Pryce was cast, I had dearly hoped that the writers would put him in a scene with Diana Rigg. When it came to pass, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Watching two legendary actors sizing one another up in that context is a luxury few shows other than Game of Thrones can give us (in an episode called “The Gift”, that scene was truly a gift to the fans). But as great as the High Sparrow’s conversation with the Queen of Thorns was, however, it couldn’t eclipse the scene in which the High Sparrow reveals his true plans for Cersei. Pryce’s performance as he digs into that rich, wonderfully written monologue never ceases to amaze me – the combination of his calm menace and the searing fanaticism dancing in his eyes made for an absolutely mesmerizing image.

      During the season, I read some complaints from people who were tired of the High Sparrow dominating the proceedings in King’s Landing and giving so many speeches. While I can understand the sentiment of wanting to wrap up the Faith Militant storyline, I personally found that criticism utterly absurd. I will never get tired of watching Jonathan Pryce deliver speeches. I would happily watch him read the phonebook. I would pay money to watch him sing the phonebook. 😉

      Then, of course, there was the High Sparrow’s origin story in “Book of the Stranger”. I’d always been curious to learn more about where this man came from (no, I ever believed the tinfoil that he was Howland Reed in disguise). It was fascinating to watch a man who was clearly still so driven by power explain how he had renounced worldly possessions and desires. I love the way that the camera holds on Pryce almost the entire time (with a few brief cutaways to Natalie Dormer), and slowly pushes in on his face as he delivers those words. It’s a perfect example of a director recognizing the brilliance of the actor he’s working with, and allowing him to carry the audience through the scene.

      Ultimately, I’m very glad that the High Sparrow got his comeuppance, but I’ll miss Pryce greatly. In the hands of a lesser actor, such a fanatical and imperious zealot could have bordered on insufferable. In Pryce’s hands, he was never anything less than captivating, and frequently transcendent.

      Bryan Cogman certainly seems to agree – he proclaimed that Pryce is his favorite actor in a lovely tribute he posted on Twitter. https://twitter.com/b_cogman/status/748219178977361920 I’m glad that he got the opportunity to work with and write for one of his idols, and that we as audience members got to witness the fruits of that collaboration. When Game of Thrones wraps, Jonathan Pryce will undoubtedly stand as one of the best actors that we will ever have been privileged enough to watch perform on the show. All the best to him going forward.

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    19. He’s such a wonderful, versatile actor. I first encountered him as the voice of Zarniwoop in the original BBC Radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and then just loved him in Brazil. He did a bang-up job as the High Sparrow and will be greatly missed. Who will speak for the smallfolk of Westeros now?

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    20. I did really say out loud “HOLY SHIT JONATHAN PRYCE!” when I saw that casting announcement. I was so happy! I know he’s been in a lot of stuff but when I was a kid I loved The Adventures of Baron Munchausen so that’s the film that sticks in my mind the most when I think of him. Also Pirates of the Caribbean because I just loved him in those movies as silly as they are (lol that wig he wore). I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen Brazil until recently. When I learned he was going to be in GoT I resolved to make time to watch it and I did. He is fabulous and I could listen to and watch him for hours. Happy but sad to see the High Sparrow go. May the Gods judge him justly.

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    21. Well, we did it, Watchers! Nine Curtain Calls in a little over a week, all for one episode. I’m not sure that will ever be topped, outside of potentially the final season and whatever episode gives us the final battle against the White Walkers. Reading all of these lovely tributes (and being privileged enough to write one myself) certainly helped ease the loss of so many talented and wonderful members of this remarkable cast.

      Since we’re in the celebratory vein – and since I’m not sure that I’ll get the chance otherwise – I’m going to throw in a tribute for Hannah Waddingham as Septa Unella here. The character is presumably still alive (Cersei promised that she isn’t going to die for quite a while), but I’d be very surprised if we ever saw her again. So, just in case “The Winds of Winter” was her final appearance, I have to say that I was extremely impressed by the physicality of Waddingham’s performance – the perfectly rigid posture, the authority with which she carried herself, the way she tilted her head and smiled with such imperious condescension. She was quiet, but those few words she did speak before her final scene – “Confess,” and of course, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” – carried a remarkable level of power. With the exception of Hodor, I’m not sure that any character on the show has left more of an indelible impression with less varied dialogue. The “mean Nun” is a well-worn archetype in fiction, but Waddingham helped set Unella apart. Great work on her part!

      I also believe that we’ve seen the last of Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen (who actually got a Curtain Call back in Season 2, back before we knew he would return to the show) and Michiel Huisman as Daario. But since they might still return, it’s obviously better to hold off. After Game of Thrones has safely concluded its run in a few years and the final body count has been tallied, I think it’d be fun to pay tribute to all of those actors who managed to depart the cast without their characters being killed off. A party to celebrate life and good fortune! We can throw it on a boat so that Gendry and Salladhor Saan can come, and Hot Pie can cater. That’s assuming, of course, that none of them return just to meet their end in the next two seasons. *knock on wood*

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    22. He was Guido in Nine, Fagin in Oliver!, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and performed “Blow Gabriel Blow” in De-Lovely. In 1996, Pryce appeared alongside Madonna in the big screen version of Evita, singing as Juan Peron. In every musical role, he was different and delightful, but in every character, there was a thread of intelligence and wit as well.

      Wow I had no idea he could sing! Fagin and Higgins are two of my favorite parts; that must have been wonderful to see. Too bad he wasn’t able to join in with Mace at the steps of the Sept….

      Even without the singing, he blew me away. I really knew next to nothing about him, so I had no expectations. But seeing this man giving comfort to the poor,then speaking with Cersei and excepting her offer without question (which must have surprised and delighted him) then turn into this man of faith looking for ultimate power – well….He got the death he deserved but oh it was fun watching how he played the game. Thank you Jonathan for bringing your many talents to this show, and making the story so much more extraordinary. And next time I see your name, Im going to remember, and be sure to watch whatever you are in!

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    23. Doug:
      He was awesome as Mr. Dark in Something Wicked This Way Comes!

      That was where I first noticed him.. and have followed him since. He was creepy as the high sparrow.. what a great job.

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    24. Firannion,

      I first encountered him as the voice of Zarniwoop in the original BBC Radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

      Oh! Everytime I read that section I hear his voice! How could I have forgotten that! And yes to him in Pirates It seems like several actors on the show are involved in Brazil; think I need to watch that soon.

      Jared,

      It was fascinating to watch a man who was clearly still so driven by power explain how he had renounced worldly possessions and desires. I love the way that the camera holds on Pryce almost the entire time (with a few brief cutaways to Natalie Dormer), and slowly pushes in on his face as he delivers those words. It’s a perfect example of a director recognizing the brilliance of the actor he’s working with, and allowing him to carry the audience through the scene.

      I remember watching that scene, thinking that I’d misjudged him; maybe he was truly a man who wanted to be a St Francis, a man who threw away his easy life to devout to the poor. But the more I watched his face the more I knew – fanatical hypocrite to the last. You wonder if anything he says is true, ever. Amazing acting

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    25. I was stunned when I found out Pryce would be the HS. Having read the books I could see him in the role before his first screen appearance. Loved, loved, loved his take on Juan Peron in Evita.

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    26. Jared: the way she tilted her head and smiled with such imperious condescension

      They showed Hannah in one of the HBO Game of Thrones specials after the airing of the season finale. Hanna was having her Septa makeup and costume applied – the woman is really pretty!! without all that septa get-up. And everyone was talking about how pleasant and lovely she is – she looked pleasant and lovely. But Jared, we might see her again. Do you think that Qyburn would lose the chance to experiment on another body? I don’t. He will let Frankenmountain pull out an arm socket or two or mess with her a bit, but I bet we see a Lady Frankenmountain. With all the “shipping” of couples that’s done on this site, couldn’t you see the uproar a pair of zombies would make?
      Only partially joking, btw. We might see a messed up septa.

      Anyway, your articles are always lovely. Thanks for your work

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    27. Jared: also believe that we’ve seen the last of Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen (who actually got a Curtain Call back in Season 2, back before we knew he would return to the show) and Michiel Huisman as Daario.

      You think that Jaqen’s last enigmatic smile is the last of him? Hope not. I’d love to see him show up at the end, IF Arya makes it through the whole thing, to check on her, from a distance, and smile one last time knowing that his student fared well.
      I was actually sad to see her let Dario go. I wasn’t sure she quite meant it until she used his last name: “Farewell, Dario Naharis.” Ooops, the last name treatment; it’s like an angry parent using a child’s middle name to call them. You know it’s serious. Yet, I kept thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if Dario turned out to actually BE somebody, some prince or some Lord’s wayward son? Someone worthy who could help her position instead of weakening it? But I guess he would have said something. Farewall, Michael Huisman, you have a great ass and it was a joy seeing it. 🙂

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    28. In that last post of mine, it should have read that I was sad to see Dany let Dario go. the way I had written it, it looked like I was talking about Arya.

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    29. Phenomenal casting. A minor character in the book but an absolute giant on screen. Very well put, all the actors brought on their A-game when they were interacting with the High Sparrow. His most memorable scene is the one with Dianna Rigg. We will miss him terribly

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    30. Dogs go “woof”
      Cats go “meow”
      Pigs go “oink”
      and the Sparrows go “boom”

      Sing praise to the High Sparrow, who almost successfully “broke the wheel” long before Daenerys.

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    31. Thronetender: I bet we see a Lady Frankenmountain.With all the “shipping” of couples that’s done on this site, couldn’t you see the uproar a pair of zombies would make?

      I would just love it if it turns out that under her wimple, her hair is dark and frizzy with a big white streak like Elsa Lanchester!

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    32. Jared,

      Another wonderful post from you, Jared. Thank you for your fantastic contributions to this website. Your Curtain Call was one of the best posts I’ve read here and I hope to see future headline contributions from you. When I’m reading here, I often find myself hitting CTRL-F and searching for your name just to see if you’ve left a comment! You raise the level of discourse here to a very high standard.

      We may see Septa Unella again… as the re-animated Bride of FrankenGregor. Imagine Qyburn’s twisted glee.*

      *There is very little chance of this happening.

      Cheers!

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    33. Doug:
      He was awesome as Mr. Dark in Something Wicked This Way Comes!

      He was so great in that movie, that it drives me nuts whenever I think about Disney slashing the budget for that film before production began and its only a shadow of what it might’ve been.

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    34. If anyone here hasn’t seen Brazil, they must do so immediately. IMO, it’s one of the ten best films of the 1980s.

      And Pryce was pretty much perfect on GOT.

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    35. Love this guy…amazing to cast him.

      I always think of Ronin first and he’s not even that big a role in it. I love the sounds of the cars racing in it.

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    36. I would just love it if it turns out that under her wimple, her hair is dark and frizzy with a big white streak like Elsa Lanchester!

      Oh sweet mystery of life at last I have found you!

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    37. HBO and the show runners couldn’t have chosen a better actor than Jonathan Pryce to play the High Sparrow. Absolutely brilliant in all respects and also the only character to have ‘got one over’ on The Queen of Thornes… I loved that scene!

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    38. It’s difficult for me to choose Pryce over the actress who played lady Olenna Martell (Dame Diana Rigg — with a ‘Dame’ being the female equivalent of a Knight!!). They both played their roles expertly. And my bias may be more because of Martin’s pen than these fine actors/actresses.

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    39. ash:
      I would just love it if it turns out that under her wimple, her hair is dark and frizzy with a big white streak like Elsa Lanchester!

      Oh sweet mystery of life at last I have found you!

      Exactly what I was thinking. I miss Madeline Kahn, who died too young.

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    40. Terrific actor and great performance as the High Sparrow. I’m surprised that I haven’t seen him very much on TV and film as he’s always been in my mind as a great actor.

      First time I saw him was probably in “The Ploughman’s Lunch” which is a fairly horribly accurate and cynical look at early 1980s Britain.

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    41. I think I’d mentioned on another thread I’d seen him quite recently in a rerun of “Return to Cranford” playing a self-made man who doesn’t want his son to follow his heart in marriage (the girl the son likes has no fortune) but who relents in the end.

      The High Sparrow, although he was a commoner, shared something in common with Tywin Lannister in that he thought he always had the right of it – which ultimately led to his downfall. Nonetheless, Jonathan Pryce depicted HS very well.

      ash,

      The actress who plays Septa Unella is blonde in real life – and apparently when she played the Walk of Shame she had only given birth 10 weeks previously. Earlier this year she played a “female assassin” in “N or M” – an adaptation of an Agatha Christie story on the BBC.

      Slightly off-topic, I saw a rerun of a TV version of David Copperfield at the weekend – Oliver Ford-Davies (Maester Cressen) played Mr Wickford and Harry Lloyd played young Steerforth.

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    42. Wonderfully written Sue. Thank you! Jonathan Pryce more than deserves all the accolades for his portrayal of the High Sparrow. One of our finest actors, we are very lucky in the UK to have such an enormous depth of acting talent.

      One of the things I loved when I first started watching GOT last year was the number of great actors I recognised in supporting or minor roles. I saw Oliver Ford Davies (Maester Cressen) in Hamlet play Polonius and he was incredible and I recall sitting behind Dame Diana Rigg in a West End theatre and nearly missing half the show, being so star struck haha.

      No one could have played the High Sparrow in a more compelling and convincing way. Jonathan will be missed even though he’s probably glad not to have to work any longer wearing an old sack and suffering from cold feet.

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    43. Dame of Mercia,

      The actress who plays Septa Unella is blonde in real life

      Yes I know (and quite lovely) The comment was a reference to Young Frakenstein.

      and apparently when she played the Walk of Shame she had only given birth 10 weeks previously

      .

      Wow i did not know that!

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    44. Great actor and really elevated that role. Really liked every scene he was in, especially his scene with Olenna in S5E7. The character was always great because, unlike some villainous religious characters, he wasn’t a hypocrite. He truly believed in what he was preaching. He seemed to genuinely care for the poor, and was invested in what he saw as the spiritual growth of characters like Tommen and Margery. But that is also what made him so terrifying. Pryce balanced all of that really well – the strategy and the honesty, the kindness and the brutality of the character. I can’t say I’ll miss him, his time had come, but he really added a lot to the Kong’s Landing storyline, especially last year.

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    45. God I hated the High Sparrow and was looking so forward to getting rid of him. Although he was not a villain in the typical sense of the word, he represents everything that I hate (except, of course, real crime).
      If it weren’t for Jonathan Pryce, the High Sparrow scenes would have been unbearable for me. Thanks to him, I even liked them. Because, as much as I hated the character, just watching Mr Pryce act was a treat.
      I have seen him, I think, in almost everything he has been in, including on stage a couple of times. And I was so happy to have him in GOT as well. Thank you, Mr. Pryce, and thank you, dear GOT showrunners for another excellent cast!

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    46. Jared,

      Yep, Septa Unella is good for a Curtain Call as well… As I have previously stated, I really enjoyed her performance, no matter how abnoxious she was, and I actually found her kind of hot (too bad the Mountain apparently thought so too).
      And yes, I think this is the last time we saw Jaquen and the Faceless Men. And probably Daario Naharis, although I am less certain about him.

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    47. Love these curtain calls. Any chance you could do some curtain calls for characters in past seasons during the break since these are a relatively new thing? It would be a good way to recap as well.

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    48. Morgrim,

      These aren’t new, we’ve been doing them since season 1. Of course back then, we were at WiC. Axechucker created Curtain Calls, and did a good chunk of them. When we started this site, before S5, we brought the concept with us, but the old articles still exist at WiC, and season 5 & 6 Curtain Calls are here.

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    49. batfan,

      I have the exact same association except with Sean Bean and Goldeneye, and I was only 7 or so at the time. So my reaction to the movie was “all those action scenes were awesome, James Bond is cool I guess, but WHO IS THAT SEAN BEAN GUY? He’s my hero!”

      Little kid me also thought Boris the hacker was hilarious.

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    50. Thronetender:
      Beautifully written, Sue. One can see you truly were a fan. Mr. Pryce played his role almost too well. He did to the audience what the HS did to Cersei – made you believe he was pious, fair and harmless in his potato sack dress and bare feet, as he reeled you in closer and closer for the final catch. He made the viewer question at first whether or not the HS was sincere, but gradually the HS’s delight in overcoming the high-born showed with every smirk and broken promise. Your depiction of him as the face of the Westeroi Inquisition is pinpoint perfect. That’s what it was, an inquisition. Such a fate as he got was just what he deserved. Too bad he took Margaery with him to his doom. Farewell, Mr. Pryce – your performance was excellent but your character needed to go.

      I’ve always seen the HS as both highly pious and sincere, even to the bitter end. Jonathan Pryce did, as well, and that’s probably why I’ve loved him in this role.

      It’s interesting to play him, because in the past, I’ve been completely unsympathetic to what some characters are saying, any kind of right-wing character, any kind of extremist character, and I’ve shied away from taking those roles. I don’t want to be that person. And yet I went into the High Sparrow aware of that. Everything he’s doing this season was hinted at in the last season, and his intolerance is there for all to see. I quite like the fact that people are going, “Oh, he’s a horrible character!” And I’m going, “No! He’s one of the good people in Game of Thrones! He’s clearing out all the bad people!”

      High Sparrow appeared for me right about the same time that Pope Francis became pope, and the PR surrounding him at the time was that he was a man of the people. That he would get down with the poor and the maimed, and he would wash their feet. And that’s how you see High Sparrow. He is a man of the people. And a lot of what the High Sparrow wants — to do away with the hierarchy, to promote the revolution of the working man, to represent the people abused by the ruling classes, the monied classes — a lot of that is very good. It’s just along the way, his beliefs are not the greatest, given that he’s quite homophobic and bigoted. But he is a classic revolutionary. That’s a figure we don’t see enough of onscreen. There are endless series about the ruling classes, and you rarely see the other side of it. A little socialist voice stuck its head above the parapet briefly in Downton Abbey, but that was got rid of very quickly. They didn’t want any of that political rubbish marring our Sunday nights! But in season six you’ll find out more about the High Sparrow, about what drives him, how he came to be who he is, and why he’s on this journey.

      http://www.vulture.com/2016/04/jonathan-pryce-game-of-thrones-high-sparrow.html

      Thank you, Jonathan, for being such a believable High Sparrow.

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    51. Best part about the off-season:

      -Tinfoil Theories
      -Filming Spoilers

      I hope there are filming spoilers for a vision at the Tourney at Harrenhal!

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    52. A great character and a great actor. I remember him as Governor Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean but while that character was an idiot, this character was far more serious. He was one of my favorite antagonists (along with Tywin) and probably the most interesting one. A person who tried to help poor people but commited pretty sinister acts towards highborn – basically a combination of Baelor I. and the Faith Militant during the time of Aenys I. and Maegor I. Before season 6, I actually felt sorry for Cersei (during Walk of Shame) but TWOW changed my mind.

      Pryce nailed every scene he appeared in and apart from his final moments, the High Sparrow never looked defeated. That was exactly the type of antagonist Cersei needed to face. I’m glad they gave him more scenes (in the books he appeared in only 4 scenes to date) And his final moment – he went into the air like Jesus

      A bit off-topic: My brother noticed similarities between the High Sparrow and Pope Francis, and my stepsister (who is against the Church in real life) hated him with passion…

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    53. He is an amazing actor and I love him. The first time I saw him was in Jumping Jack Flash with Whoopie Goldberg. For most of the movie he was just a voice then at the very end you got to see who owned the voice. I loved him in Evita, Something Wicked This Way Comes..and basically everything he’s ever done. Although, I am not unhappy to see the HS leave us, I think the fact that I disliked the character so much is tribute too his acting. He was a great HS!

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    54. He really was a dream casting! I knew him and admired him from way before GoT and I obviously had high (no, no, huge!) expectations but, happily and unsurprisingly, he smashed them all. His performance as the High Sparrow was mesmerizing…he’s such an incredible actor. His presence in the show will definitely be missed. All hail Johnatan Pryce 🙂

      Great post!

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    55. Lord Parramandas,

      A bit off-topic: My brother noticed similarities between the High Sparrow and Pope Francis, and my stepsister (who is against the Church in real life) hated him with passion…

      The current pope Francis? The one who won’t judge people who are gay? No I don’t see that at all. HS is a bit of Francis of Assisi or at least professes to be, but he obviously has not followed the work of St Francis. For example from his famous prayer:

      Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

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    56. ash,

      Visual similarities, not similarities in his behavior. And maybe the fact that he is different than his predecessors.

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    57. The Dragon Demands:
      WILL NO ONE RID US OF THIS TURBULENT PRIEST?!

      Wait…uh….yeah…

      Indeed. Will the crater where the Sept of Baelor once stood now become a place of pilgrimage where the faithful go to venerate the martyred St. High Sparrow and pray for miracles? (Now I’m greedily envisioning a spin-off series that’s the Westerosi equivalent of the Canterbury Tales!)

      If Cersei were a subtle thinker, or if she surrounded herself with savvy advisors and actually bothered to listen to them, the dangerous outcome of creating a martyr who could become the focal point of a popular uprising might have been anticipated and avoided. Tyrion as Hand, or Varys, certainly would have spotted it as a possible worse threat than the Sparrows in the long run.

      The TV show won’t go there, I don’t think, with so many plot threads left to wind up in not many episodes. They treated the Sparrows as purely a King’s Landing phenomenon and never really established their connection with broader postwar social chaos and privation among the smallfolk throughout the Kingdoms. But perhaps the books will?

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    58. What an addition to the cast. He really handled this role with gusto, and became a great part of the show, fitting like a glove.

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    59. Lord Parramandas,

      Oh ok then. Maybe some similarities in looks, but not much else 🙂 tho I agree, definitely different than their predecessors

      Firannion,

      (Now I’m greedily envisioning a spin-off series that’s the Westerosi equivalent of the Canterbury Tales!)

      Yes!!!

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    60. Brazil is the only movie I have ever fallen asleep during watching. I hate it. But Jonathan Pryce- how perfect a High Sparrow! The knees/hips banter with Olenna, the ‘what will we find when we strip away…’ speech to Cersei (I think I may have ‘squeeed’ in triumph at that part), his scenes with Margaery….all of it. He was wonderful. May your feet forever more be warm!!!

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    61. Jared,

      I’m going to throw in a tribute for Hannah Waddingham as Septa Unella here. The character is presumably still alive (Cersei promised that she isn’t going to die for quite a while), but I’d be very surprised if we ever saw her again.

      I dunno. She might appear as Qyburn’s next experiment (yikes).

      Seriously, though, nice tribute.

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    62. Pigeon:
      Brazil is the only movie I have ever fallen asleep during watching. I hate it. But Jonathan Pryce– how perfect a High Sparrow! The knees/hips banter with Olenna, the ‘what will we find when we strip away…’ speech to Cersei (I think I may have ‘squeeed’ in triumph at that part), his scenes with Margaery….all of it. He was wonderful. May your feet forever more be warm!!!

      You need to give it another shot. It took me a few tries to get through it. If you don’t change you mind when you see it to the end, you don’t know good filmmaking.

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    63. Melissa: You need to give it another shot. It took me a few tries to get through it. If you don’t change you mind when you see it to the end, you don’t know good filmmaking.

      If it takes a few tries to get through a movie, that is pretty much the opposite of ‘good filmmaking’ in my books. I simply didn’t like it. To each their own. 🙂

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    64. Great tribute to an actor who upped everyone’s game. I am not sure how it is that the Brits have a talent for raising the energy and prestige of even the least of performances. Pryce classes up any production that he is part of which meant that for me, his two years on GOT were catnip (minus the music of course). RIP High Sparrow (former shoemaker), you overplayed your hand dude and there’s only one response to that one, a final scene that had me cheering.

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