Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Actor

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Time to bring out the big guns- or swords, as it were. The time has come to vote for the Best Actor of Game of Thrones season 4.

Between loving and dying and fighting for their lives, our nominees’ characters had one hell of a year.

As previously announced, there was no preliminary round for this category. The nominees were determined already, since the field was narrow enough.

Your nominees are:
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

Kit Harington as Jon Snow

Rory McCann as the Hound

You have 48 hours to vote, beginning from right now!

82 responses

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    1. Rory, he had his best season to date as well as getting a chance to tell his origin story himself. Also he had a great combination of funny, dramatic and intimate scenes and performed them all perfectly.

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    2. I know Peter Dinklage will win this easily but I chose Kit Harington. This was the season where I changed my mind about his acting. I was one of these people who didn’t identify with his Jon Snow and thought he was not strong enough to play a so important character in a show full of talent. He definitely changed my opinion this season, so I have to give him credit for that. Kudos to Kit.

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    3. It’s between Peter and Rory

      EDIT: but they were all great. Kit finally got where we wanted him (serious props to him in season 4), Dance has always been the perfect Tywin and Nikolaj is just the right Jaime

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    4. I went with my sentimental favorite and went with Rory. I love Peter and think he could win this award on a pretty consistent basis, but I loved the Hound all season long.

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    5. Charles Dance is a boss and will never not be my favorite overall, but considering Season 4 exclusively I may end up choosing Rory here.

      I won’t vote for Kit Harrington but I will say that unlike previous seasons, he deserves to be in the conversation. He stepped up in a huge way this year.

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    6. This. Is. Not. Fair.

      All the actors are superb, but the Sandor character has surprised me the most for how important and compelling he’s become over the seasons. So Rory got my vote.

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    7. Peter or Rory… Rory or Peter… It’s really between those two this past season, as they more than any of the other actors got the best material to play with. Peter was great as always (even when the writing was questionable), leading to some iconic scenes, and Rory finally got handed some of the best stuff (even besides the chicken scene) and knocked it out of the park. There’s really not much to separate them… So, do I vote for the Giant or for the Underhound? After much reflection, and by feeling rather than by reasoning, I went Rory.

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    8. Her father’s dead, her mother’s dead, her brother’s dead. Winterfell is a pile of rubble, not even two chickens to be found.

      Remember where the heart is?

      Not even one second’s hesitation on this category, the only performance to date that even approaches Rory in season 4 is Alfie in season 2, and I think Rory still wins that contest by a nose.

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    9. jjp: I won’t vote for Kit Harrington but I will say that unlike previous seasons, he deserves to be in the conversation. He stepped up in a huge way this year.

      He can’t touch the heels yet of the likes of Owen Teale in the rousing speech/leadership department in my opinion, but he’s definitely improved a lot from the previous seasons. And his hair is still as good as ever.

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    10. I knew this was going to be hard – all five of these actors made their characters come off the pages in three dimensional complexity and brillance. When I reread the books, I see and hear them. I can’t imagine anyone else in their place. Part of me wants to vote for Dance since this was his last hear. Actually in a fair world, we could just give all of them the prize and be done with it. But no – It has to be Peter. It was always Peter. Thats my vote and Im sticking to it (unless one of you comes along to make me change my mind, of course)

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    11. Nicolaj Coster-Waldau was the standout actor of season 3, and he was good in season 4, but I don’t think the material was at the same level, so he didn’t stand out as much.

      I ultimately voted for Charles Dance as Tywin. He brings a lot to that role, and he had some great scenes this year, even if his death scene was underwhelming.

      Peter Dinklage, sigh, I’m just at a point where the writing of Tyrion’s character prevents me from really appreciating the work he’s doing. The highest compliment I can pay Dinklage is that I wish he was given the chance to play the complex Tyrion of the books.

      Kit Harrington is, much like Emilia Clarke, an actor whose performance is heavily dependent on the material, which has been a problem much of the time, but largely not in season 4. But even then, he’s really not in the same league as the rest of the people in this category.

      Rory McCann finally got to do some real acting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins this, even if he didn’t get my vote.

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    12. Last year my heart longed to vote for Dance yet I forced myself to vote for Nikolai who was just so superb I could cry.

      This year… Dance it is, all the freaking way.

      Rory, who will likely win, is my close second

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    13. Good category. Nicolaj is excellent but he didn’t really have anything too juicy to work with this season. Charles Dance and Peter Dinklage were the usual excellent selves and Kit really started to come into his own as Snow did. Going for Rory though as he was magic in every scene he was in. He pips Tyrion to the post for me. Could have easily been Tyrion if they’d executed the last episode confrontation between him and Tywin better but I personally think they dropped the ball a bit on it.

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    14. In my book, this season it should be Harington or McCann. But it’ll be either Dinklage or Dance. That’s fine, too, everyone on the list deserves praise.

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    15. This is the first year I’ve been able to accept Kit Harrington as a decent actor. He has improved considerably which is great. He’s still far from the levels of greats such as the other four though and I was shocked to see that he’s a contender. My vote goes to Peter Dinklage on this one.

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    16. Wow.

      Incredibly hard choice.

      Nicolaj Coster-Waldau was the easiest to eliminate. He deserved the Season 3 award, but his material this year was not as compelling or showy for him. He was very good, of course.

      I also felt Charles Dance overall had a stronger season of material to work with in the third season, though he had some great standout moments, none of which was better than the clip in this post, where he talks to Tommen about being a king. Were it not for the botched Sept scene, that’s the scene everyone would have talked about in that episode.

      Kit Harington was a boss this year. He carried Watchers on the Wall on his back, and was great in the finale too, with the Mance negotiation, the sensitive scene with Tormund, and breaking up at Ygritte’s funeral.

      And it’s bizarre to think Peter Dinklage hasn’t been given the love yet. He has a number of great, standout scenes this year and excellent moments, and if he wins, all the more power to him on it (he should eventually get a default win in this thing, one would think).

      But I’m also going with Rory McCann, who really had one of the season’s most heartbreaking arcs. It’s a testament to his skill that so many of his moments – the fight at the inn, the dying farmer, his confession to Arya about his brother, the Brienne battle, and his “death” are among the season’s highlights. So I went with him, even though I really expected to vote Dinklage. And I’m not looking back.

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    17. Look, Rory was very good this season. His monologue about his scars was well done and his last scene with Arya was one of the best scenes of the season. Those are two very good scenes with really good acting on his part.

      But there were more moments like that with Tyrion. Dinklage had like five or six moments that truly resonated with ne emotionally, thanks in large part to his acting. I don’t think anyone, even Rory, can compete with the sheer volume of awesome.moments Dinklage had (his goodbye to Pod, everything trial related, his cell scene with Oberyn, his last scene with Bronn, his killing of Shae and Tywin). Gotta go with Dinklage.

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    18. A very strong quintet and the performances all round were superb. Would be very happy if PD or CD get the nod but if Rory doesn’t win I’m going to eat every fucking whore in this brothel.

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    19. Tyrion naturally wins.

      Though I’m still 100% PO’d about how much his character was whitewashed the last 3 seasons, that’s not PD’s fault. He did a great job with the material which was still really powerful regardless.

      I don’t get why CD is up for best actor by the way. His role has always been a supporting one, not a lead one IMO.

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    20. Very tough choice here…but I went with Charles Dance. He was brilliant as Tywin. And Charles is just so charming that he won me over.

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    21. Well, goes without saying I am a Rory/Sandor “fangirl”, so he easily gets my vote. He had some great moments in Seasons 1-3 but in Season 4 he knocked it out of the park. The first and last episode of the season was absolutely highlighted thanks to his performance.
      And when he told Arya the story of his burns, we got to see his vulnerability first hand. Sullied knew it was there but damn, it took a long time for D&D to catch up.
      I don’t think Rory is under-rated but I really feel like he surprised a lot of fans who where on the fence about The Hound.
      Peter was brilliant and is a close 2nd for me. Kit and Charles both had good seasons and NCW, while Jaime isn’t really a favorite of mine, was solid as always.
      But…come on! I looked forward to the continuing adventures of Arya & The Hound more than any other storyline this season, so no other way it can go. Rory FTW!

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    22. I’m kind of surprised how much love Rory is getting. he might actually have a shot.

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    23. I love Rory! He performed brilliantly in s4 and Sandor is my favorite male character in the show. But I went with Peter this time because of the imprisonment/trial performance he gave… it was amazing and intense. For that he gets my vote.

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    24. Also adding to the kudos for Kit Harington. I think he’s always been good, it’s just that Jon Snow’s not a bleedin’ poet so he doesn’t usually have moments to shine like Dinklage and others. But becoming a leader of the Night’s Watch gave him the agency and initiative Kit needed to make his talents more obvious To the doubters.

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    25. Almost voted for Dance, cuz he a BOSS, but then scrolled down and saw Sandor’s face. Lying in the dirt, mortally wounded, his heart-rending delivery of those two small words — “Do it!” — was, to me, indicative of the kind of acting chops that deserve to be recognized. To be able to convey that much emotion with two syllables… man, what a talent.

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    26. Dinklage will win, and I could argue a case for Rory McCan for his last scene alone, but my vote goes to Charles Dance. He is the man.

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    27. I had to go with Rory McCann. Peter Dinklage is an excellent actor, and he had very powerful scenes in season 4. But he also usually has very meaty and extended scenes and dialogues to work with. Something The Hound or Jon Snow, seldom had. McCann left a powerful impression with less screen timen and less words to deliver. I think he was brilliant!

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    28. I voted for Charles. He nailed every scene he had, while the others has some flaws here and there. Minor flaws, but still.

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    29. Odd. As much as I loved both Charles Dances n Peter Dinklages performances, I just voted for Rory McCann.

      I suppose it has something to do with the range of emotions he’s had the opportunity to display. With how much new stuff we learned about/have seen of the Hounds’ inner workings this season. Tywin never showed anything but contempt, anger, or statesman wisdom. What ticks off Tyrion we already knew from last season.

      In that same vein, Jaimes arc was a bit of a disappointment.

      Kit shone in episode 9, but I can’t seem to remember any of his scenes before that…so yeah.

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    30. Queenofthrones:

      I don’t get why CD is up for best actor by the way.His role has always been a supporting one, not a lead one IMO.

      I agree with you. Tywin was always a supporting character in his children’s storylines, and that was obvious this year. But to be fair, it’s difficult to come up with five male lead actors for season 5 (as opposed to five leading actresses, which was easy and obvious). Characters like Theon, Bran or Stannis were the focus of their storylines, but their storylines were side storylines this season, and they had very little screentime. Charles Dance/Tywin at least was one of the people with the biggest screentime in season 4 (he was 6th, after Tyrion, Jon, Cersei, Jaime and Sansa). Although I think it’s debatable whether Oberyn could have been considered more or less of a “leading” character compared to Tywin.

      I’m glad Pedro was put in the Supporting character category though, because I don’t have to choose between him and Rory.

      Peter Dinklage was fantastic in episodes 6 and 7 – particularly in the trial scenes and, my favorite, the scene with Oberyn, where you could see the changing emotions on his face. Based on that, I thought he would be a lock for best actor. However, episode 10, which should have been his biggest moment, was a big disappointment as far as the Tyrion material goes in general. Most of it was because of the writing, but I think the show version of events would have been more convincing if Dinklage had been playing him as full of rage and despair, rather than going from something that looked like curiosity when he went up to his father’s room, to sadness during the Shae and Tywin scenes. I don’t know how much of it can be considered his fault, he was presumably directed to act that way, and the writing made Tyrion’s emotions and motives so muddled. But whenever I criticize the writing of those scenes, defenders say that “Tyrion had a lot of reasons to kill his father, because he abused him all his life, wanted him dead, let him be convicted of a crime he didn’t commit”… Well (ignoring the fact that that’s not how the show presented it, they presented it as Tyrion killing Tywin because of Shae), if they wanted to sell Tyrion wanting to kill Tywin from the moment he went up, or at least being so full of rage he just wanted to confront him without thinking about the consequences, then Dinklage should have been playing him that way! And even the Tyrion/Tywin scene fell flat for multiple reasons; mainly writing issues, but if he had played Tyrion with half of the rage he showed in his big scene in his film debut “Living in Oblivion”, where his character is fed up with being given stereotypical fantasy roles and has a huge rant about lazy directors who use dwarfs for dream scenes, Tyrion’s (anti)climactic scenes in the Tower of the Hand in episode 10 would have been much stronger.

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    31. Rory for sure. He has been so underrated to date. He practically stole every scene he was in for humour delivery and range of emotions.

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    32. Annara Snow: Charles Dance/Tywin at least was one of the people with the biggest screentime in season 4 (he was 6th, after Tyrion, Jon, Cersei, Jaime and Sansa).

      And there’s your answer. Yes, he’s a “supporting” player in the storylines of his children, arguably. But his screentime is huge, and his actions direct so much of what’s happening in Westeros that while you can argue he’s a supporting player in Tyrion’s story, he is in some ways the lead player in the story of Westeros. Much in the same way that while Stannis is a lead player in his story, he is still a side story in the entire story of Westeros at this point.

      Also: in the preliminary voting, while Pedro’s split between lead and supporting was 1 to 10, and Rory about 1 to 6, Charles Dance was about a ratio of 5 to 4, favoring lead actor. We did take that into account. It seems fairly obvious.

      Annara Snow: But whenever I criticize the writing of those scenes, defenders say that “Tyrion had a lot of reasons to kill his father, because he abused him all his life, wanted him dead, let him be convicted of a crime he didn’t commit”… Well (ignoring the fact that that’s not how the show presented it, they presented it as Tyrion killing Tywin because of Shae),

      And I still disagree here. I think if you somehow think the show was presenting the death of Tywin as solely because of Shae, you’re not effectively seeing what isn’t being said in that scene – and even what IS being said. Particularly his last line to him: “I’m your son. I have always been your son.” That says more than any other line. And he could have treated him like a son, and he didn’t.

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    33. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Again that argument that I’ve already addressed. Like I said, if they wanted to sell the idea that Tyrion was already determined to kill Tywin when he went up or at least furious enough with him to angrily confront him without thinking about the consequences, Dinklage should have looked angry and desperate rather than mildly curious as he went up to his father’s room. Which makes you wonder what the heck was he even doing there, instead of running away.

      Not that he looked really furious as you’d expect from a man in “I’m going to kill my father” mode at any point even after the Shae scene.

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    34. A superb group to choose from. I think Kit wins the most improved category, Rory was just fantastic in every scene, Charles Dance is THE perfect Tywin Lannister, and Peter Dinklage (as usual) was epic. I DEMAND A TRIAL BY COMBAT! He would have gotten my vote except I’m Jaime’s girl 😉 I agree Jaime had better material in Season 3 (bathtub scene anyone?) but he deserves to be in the top 5 for the subtle transformation Jaime undergoes in Season 4. Everything is changing for him and it might not be the most dramatic material but it’s important to the story none the less and you really feel for him. Give Nikolaj some love! 😉

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    35. Annara Snow:
      Greatjon of Slumber,

      Again that argument that I’ve already addressed. Like I said, if they wanted to sell the idea that Tyrion was already determined to kill Tywin when he went up or at least furious enough with him to angrily confront him without thinking about the consequences, Dinklage should have looked angry and desperate rather than mildly curious as he went up to his father’s room. Which makes you wonder what the heck was he even doing there, instead of running away.

      Not that he looked really furious as you’d expect from a man in “I’m going to kill my father” mode at any point even after the Shae scene.

      That was the amazing thing about Tyrions performance there. The sweetness and remorse he showed after killing Shae, when initially he was hurt and shocked at finding her there. If Shae didn’t go for the knife, I think there would have been a different outcome than the books (regarding Shae’s fate). But the way that scene played out proves that Tyrion went up to see his father for all the reasons the show has given us since S1. He wasnt going to let Tywin win. There was no other explanation necessary. Yes, the book gives us an immediate reason for Tyrion to confont Tywin because of Jaime’s admission. However, D&D took the appropriate route by not having that be the reason since Tysha was never established in the show as someone worthy, like the books did, and most likely would have confused the viewers not familiar with the books if they mentioned her again out of the blue like that.

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    36. Hello sisters and brothers,
      writing/voting from Germany, on a rainy night, for the first time, my vote goes to Rory .Although stuck with a translation which cannot cope with the English version (or whatever charakters like Bronn keep speaking) the character the hound was deepening from episode to episode was great acting. And its typical his quotes were in the finals of other contests. Culmination, episode 10, his nightmarish dissolution from Arya, Maisie Williams playing the whole range from an erinys of the greek drama to a frightened child – and back again, and his futile effort to achive a merciful death -arghhhhhhhh, which means, my English is fading away. In German, you can use the term “Liebestod”,which means death not only for a loved person, but also has the significance of something dear, a sacrifice. In this sense, it was one of the most impressive scenes I have seen, based on a minimum of dialog. Although, I do hope we´ll see him again in season 6, maybe…as in westeros, death could be hard to achive. It is known.

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    37. This is one is difficult, so I’ll just write my train of thought.

      I love Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is the obvious favorite (his chilling trial speech still gives me goosebumps.) Then, this is Rory McCann’s (likely) last season, as well as Charles Dance’s, and they both had an amazing last hurrah. Finally, Kit Harington has convinced me at last as Jon Snow; he was pretty damn good in Season 1, slipped a bit in Seasons 2 and 3, but here he was back with a vengeance. Such a good performance from the guy, especially in “Two Swords”, “The Watchers on the Wall” and “The Children.”

      The first one I’ll delete from my possible candidates is Jaime. Not because Nikolaj wasn’t awesome; it’s just that he’s been consistently awesome and we’ll still get to enjoy how his character develops in the future. The same cannot be said for Harrington, whose performance this year was a surprise for me, or McCann or Dance, who are done with the role and had an amazing send-off. And you know, then there’s Tyrion.

      Here’s the thing. I loved Harrington and he’s now awesome as Jon Snow, but he’s still not amongst my top favorites and I do not think his performance was stellar. Great for Jon Snow, mind you, but still. And I really enjoyed the Hound this year, but Charles and Peter still come on top.

      So… now what? The father-killer or the killed father? Here’s the thing: I’ll get to vote for Tyrion in the future, I’m sure, as I would have been for previous seasons if I had been part of WiC for a long time. But this is Charles Dance’s year for me.

      It’s a difficult decision and I’m really unhappy about it. But… that’s gotta be it.

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    38. This one was very difficult. Extremely so for me. I had to choose eventually and I went with Peter. It was his performance during the trial that eventually got my vote for him over Rory. But only by the smallest of margins. Because honestly… Rory killed it as an amazing Sandor this season and his duo with Maisie brilliant.

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    39. Had to vote for Rory as The Hound. His acting was just phenomenal this season.

      Honourable mentions go to Kit Harington (this was definitely Jon Snow’s best season… two bad he didn’t get good material 2 years ago), and Peter Dinklage who is always good.

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    40. Peter. Charles would be second. Then Rory and last but not least Nikolaj.

      It was the trial scene that decided my vote.

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    41. Harrington showed me more this year than he ever has before, but he’s not quite on par with the others. But for the first time, I’m looking forward to Jon’s story next season.

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    42. I would have loved to vote for Charles Dance since it was his last season and he owned so much.
      But I also went with Rory since his transition was amazing. He went from a small side character in season 1 to one of the most compelling character is season 4. Simply amazing.

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    43. I voted for Peter Dicklage.
      It’s not like the rest of actors were half bad. In fact the were from decent to great.
      However, Peter is always the one who outshines everyone else (at least in my opinion).

      Glad though, that Pedro Pascal wasn’t in this category, because then I would be torn to choose between the best two performances of this year (once again, in my opinion).

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    44. Peter Dinklage hasn’t won the award for the best actor yet. He lost with Sean Bean, Alfie Allen and NCW. He should have won for season 2 – his best season (my favourite scene was that from “Garden of Bones” when he recruits Lancel). So, maybe this is time. But if McCann wins, I would be glad too.

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    45. I voted for Kit. Already thought he did a good job.
      A silent brooding character is tougher to sell then a charismatic witty one, even more so for a young actor at the start of his career. But Kit has really grown as an actor the way Jon has grown as a person. I also like what Kit has done with Jons voice(which sounds bit different from his own voice). Going from sounding like a young naive kid who knows nothing to a seasoned warrior who does know things. I appreciate little details like that in a performance and it shows the effort he puts in his character.

      NCW and Peter Dinklage are always great and already have gotten their well deserved praise.

      Charles Dance and Rory McCann also great and amazing but in my opinion should have been in the supporting category since both of them didn’t have a personal journey/arc to go through as a character and didn’t change much. They could have been replaced with Alfie and Isaac(showing Isaac some much needed love too).

      But I understand the reasoning for including them here and with so many great rich characters portrayed by great actors it all gets a bit blurry.

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    46. With maybe a second’s hesitation towards a truly amazing actor in Charles Dance (who was always the only actor I could see possibly bringing Tywin to life)- I choose Rory McCann.

      The Hound has long been my favourite character, especially in the show, because of Rory’s brilliant performance which was just amped up to 11 this year with the fantastic material and screen time he had to work with. Plus of course there’s the emotional reaction of this most likely being the last we’ll see of him.

      I’m going to miss having you on my screen, you wonderful giant Scotsman.

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    47. Rory McCann;

      Charles Dance was excellent but the character didn’t have to change episode to episode. The Hound went from villain to quasi-good guy in stages.

      Liked Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in scenes involving regret and redemption, but he couldn’t pull off any romantic angles with Cersie or Brienne.

      Kit Harrington hasn’t sold me on Jon Snow as a leader; as a role player he is great, but not as the head honcho. John Bradley-West (Samwell) and Owen Teale (Ser Alliser) routinely outshine him.

      Peter Dinklage is good but stale. His arc has come to an end, pitied dwarf who gets revenge on his father. The end.

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    48. “Your brother was not a wise king. Your brother was not a good king. If he had been, perhaps he’d still be alive.” Charles Dance is simply too awesome, too commanding not to vote for. But if Rory wins, that’s fine with me.

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    49. Had to go with Kit Harrington and one of the my troika of favourite characters (Tyrion, Danny and…) Jon Snow!

      I loved his story arch since the beginning, but this season the change was even more marked and perfectly sets up what is to come!

      Here is also a little goodie…an animated GoT mini-recap! Most might have seen it, but what the hell!

      http://vimeo.com/108210854

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