And now his watch is ended.
Owen Teale did not match the book description of Ser Alliser Thorne, and that’s where that ends.
In every other way, the man- the actor- did something rare on the show, which was to surpass the role given, elevating the character’s importance on the show and in my own headcanon. For me it was the season 1 “Die, like flies” speech he gave to Jon and Sam. That’s the one that made me sit up, take notice, and say “This cat’s different. He means something.”
Owen played Ser Alliser as a man with no humor, virtually no human warmth, as grim and foreboding as that which he worked to defend. His personality reflected much of Castle Black and the Wall, in fact; his was a stark life–he was more stark than Jon Snow could ever be. And some would say he was a man lacking in honor, but I feel he had his own particular code of honor–one that brooked no failing of morality, as he saw it, and certainly no weakness.
I’m exceedingly curious what sort of man Ser Alliser was before he took the black, and I wonder if Owen had somehow mapped that out in his head. (In the books, Ser Alliser’s only “crime” had been in supporting the Targaryens during Robert’s rebellion. And for his loyalty: the Wall.)
(I particularly enjoyed his fight with Tormund, his ’round-the-support riposte attempt especially. For a moment it seemed as though Ser Alliser might get the better of Tormund Giantsbane!)
And so he perished as doggedly as he lived. Olly died with a grimace; Alliser went with the grim certainty that everything he had done leading up to his execution was in the right. Ser Alliser said it himself: he would do it all over again if he could. This was a man who had already stared death in the face so many times, and when it was his time he did not flinch.
“I fought. I lost. Now I rest.”
We say it often. Nina Gold knows her shit. She finds not only the right piece for the massive puzzle that is Game of Thrones, but she often finds people that do much, much more for the role than it may have initially called for.
Owen had distinguished himself as an actor prior to his role on Game of Thrones. His television and film career stretches as far back as 1984, when he appeared in The Mimosa Boys. He played Wil Scarlet in Robin Hood, was in The Thin Blue Line (bloody excellent), and appeared in Belonging and Torchwood (as all Brits are contractually obliged to). And this is only naming a few.
He won a Tony for his stage role in A Doll’s House. He played Roland bloody Freisler in Conspiracy. (How ’bout that, History nerds!)
Ser Alliser died, his role on Game of Thrones ended, but I assure you, Owen Teale is alive and well and thriving. He is married to noted British actress Sylvestra Le Touzel (they met during a production of Henry IV), and is the father of three children. Owen is slated to star in Nocturne, now in post-production, and in the short Panic, slated for this year.
But I’ll end this simply: I absolutely love him as an actor. His presence raises the quality of any production he is in. I would watch Owen Teale in anything, and I will actively seek him out in the future.
Thank you, Owen! Your presence will be missed. But know that you garnered at least one fan. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Give the man your love, House Gatewatch!