Curtain Call: Essie Davis

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Her kindness towards Arya saved her life once but the Waif ensured it wouldn’t again. After nursing the shanked Stark back to health, Lady Crane was executed by the Faceless [wo]Man.

We’d originally announced back in September that Australian actress Essie Davis had been cast as the leading actress in the colorful Braavosi theatre troupe. The casting call for the role described Lady Crane as a “fun, charismatic, rum-drinking actress in the troupe” which Davis certainly brought to the role. Her elegance and captivation of the audience mirrored the Stark mother she reminded Arya of and the fierce lioness who she portrayed onstage.

Davis’ emotional performance was the light of the troupe’s tale and Lady Crane’s compassion both saved and inspired Arya Stark. Like Arya told her, “It would all just be farting, belching and slapping without you.”

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Essie Davis is known for her lead role as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series, as well as roles in the highly praised horror film The Babadook, and in The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions. She is currently involved with the U.K. film Mindhorn and will be playing the Dowager Queen Elizabeth in The White Princess, set to air in 2017. Her agency CV tells us she’ll be appearing in the new Assassin’s Creed movie as Mary Lynch.

Lady Crane was essential to Arya’s character development as she reminded her of home as well as her own free will. Because of her, Arya was able to leave The House of Black and White as someone.

Essie Davis was a delightful addition to the Game of Thrones cast and will be missed as such. We wish her all the best with her future in the roles to come!

37 responses

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    1. It bummed me out that Arya risked her life to save her and she in turn saved Arya and then got killed anyways. It also bums me out that we never got the payoff of finding out who the waif was. It’s part of the the reason I have mixed feelings about Arya’s time in Braavos altogether.

      Essie was dope and I loved that they used her as a representation of one of the people on Arya’s list and Arya was able to discern actor from character and still have compassion. I am sure there are a few people here that still need to learn that lesson 😛

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    2. Had to comment on this. Absolutly amazing actress.

      Every single one of her scenes were amazing. She made me feel exactly what Arya fely, sorry for Cersei. Which is a really difficult task.

      I am beyond glad we had her on the show. But sadly as Jaqen says in S2 ”a day, a week, a year, only death is promised”, sadly she was dead the moment a contract was put on her head.

      Nevertheless I feel honored to have had her on the show and will without a doubt look at other projects she was in.

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    3. Probably the best new characters of the season, for me. She just made such a great impression.

      mau:
      One of the best show original characters.

      Not technically a show-original. Lady Crane is based on Lady Stork from the “Mercy” chapter; the actress who plays Cersei in “The Bloody Hand” in the books, just as in the show. The character’s much more prominent as of yet in the show, though, I’ll grant you that.

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    4. Omg she was just amazing easily one of the best show only characters.I loved the fact that arya had a female companion for once and enjoyed their scenes together so much.That whole arc made me connect to arya again after three years.A great actress that I had never heard of before but look forward to seeing in other things.Well done Essie

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    5. She did a wonderful job. I was hoping she’d be Arya’s ticket back to Westeros with the troupe traveling there. Too bad we won’t be seeing them again (I’m assuming). Would also be interesting to have a second dwarf among the show regulars.

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    6. Have to admit I don’t know the actress at all, but she did a tremendous job of playing a very empathetic role and it was very believable that Arya had doubts about killing her in cold blood, and came to view her as if she could have been a mother figure.

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    7. mau,

      This-
      Up until now I’d reserved that space for Karsi from Hardhome, but Essie Davis has out of this world acting chops. She was real and warm and she stood out in every scene she was in-on stage and off. It was so good that even though I was very disappointed by the fact that Arya had gotten into that situation at the end-I was grateful to see Lady Crane on screen again. That’s talent.
      Her insight during her first conversation with Mercy was my favorite scene from Braavos. I’d been hoping she would go with the actors so we could see more of all of them-but especially Lady Crane-who through her skills managed to bring Arya’s empathy back.

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    8. RG,

      I agree. On every point you made.
      To see actresses and actors like her, who give the best of their acting skills and invest so much effort for such small roles and for such a short period of time is just wonderful (another example for that this season was Ian McShane’s stellar appearance).
      “No One” had a great episode opener and it’s thanks to her. She has a great refreshing natural charisma and an extraoridnary presence on screen. She brilliantly nailed her small role from start to finish.

      Her character was a really nice addition to the show. It was just so welcome that it would be her character who would make Arya realize that she can never be no one and it was a perfect way to make her bravoosi storyline reach its logic and satisfactory end in terms of character development.

      Essie Davis will be missed but her contribution to the show shall not be forgotten !

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    9. Loved her. She added so much to what could have been a throwaway role, and I wish we could have had more of her. All the theatre actors were good, but Essie Davis was exceptional. In another world we would have seen more of all of them (I mean an actor of Richard E Grant’s calibre only had about two lines!), but I don’t think there was really enough time of any more of them unfortunately. Essie Davis was superb in her role, and will definitely be remembered for it, however brief it was.

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    10. *Applause*

      She was fantastic in her small role. The caliber of actors they are able to get for small roles like this is just amazing. Like Karsi before her, I wish Lady Crane was able to stick around.

      The White Princess is shaping up to have quite the GoT affiliation. Michelle Fairley and the actress who played Sam’s sister are also part of that cast. I wonder if Nina Gold is involved?

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    11. I really regret we won’t be seeing Ms Davis any more. What a great actress, beautiful lady and such a nice character. We will miss you, Lady Crane.
      Lady Crane showed us that the show writers can really write complete characters when they want to, even if they only give them 5 minutes sceen time. Thumbs up for thsy.
      I so wish Ms Davis was cast in a bigger part; but then again I suppose it is too late in the show to have bigger parts.
      After seeing her here, I started watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix. I highly recommend it.

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    12. I haven’t seen her before in anything, and I was thoroughly impressed by Ms. Davies. One of the great short-term guest actresses in GoT. Watching her performance in the play in No One, I had goosebumps. Her character played, in my opinion, perhaps the most important role in Arya’s journey in growing up. She made Arya think of life, what’s important, what she wanted to do in the future (loved the west of Westeros musings!), that the world is not black and white and there are many points of view (Cersei bad, Stark good!) I wish Ms. Davies had played one of the regulars in GoT or at least a more prominent role!

      I also enjoyed how the theater troupe story threw a curveball to part of the fanbase, who had expected their role to take her to Westeros directly! It does take her to Westeros, but in a much more subtle and more satisfying way! 🙂

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    13. The acting troupe was the aspect I enjoyed the most in the Bravos story line. Really well done, and Davis performance was fully of empathy and charm.

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    14. ManderlyPieCompany,

      I loved that they used her as a representation of one of the people on Arya’s list and Arya was able to discern actor from character and still have compassion. I am sure there are a few people here that still need to learn that lesson ?

      Yeah, no kidding!

      I loved how this actress played her show character and stage character. She shows a range of talents that made me wish we saw more of her. But she did what was needed and inspired Arya to not be no-one, but someone who could wear many faces in her life. Thanks for her performance; I look forward to checking out her other roles.

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    15. In the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Ms Davis reminded me rather of Diana Rigg in her younger days. Ms D is indeed a gifted performer.

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    16. I wish her role had more scenes, because Essie Davis was truly a pleasure to watch. She and Ian McShane both gave us something special this season, delivering incredibly memorable performances that make it feel like the roles were so much larger and had much more screen time.

      That’s not to say that those two roles aren’t huge, in the larger scheme of the overall story, but in both cases, their performances were so good, I wish they’d gotten a little more camera time, perhaps just a few more seconds or lines.

      Bravo, Essie. Looking forward to your future work.

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    17. We will miss you, Essie! Such a great character, very unfortunate that the Babadook….er….Waif caught up with her.

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    18. Love, love, love Essie Davis. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, you should check out Miss Fisher’s Mysteries. She is delightful, to say the least. it is on netflix. perfect period piece “cozy” mystery show. I am so incredibly glad we got to have her in GoT, and so many got to experience her charms and talents.

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    19. The character of Lady Crane may be the most delightful surprise of the year. I had thought she would be a fairly minor player, so I remember being surprised that they had cast such a prominent actress (the same could be said for the casting of Richard E. Grant as Izembaro). Even when Essie Davis landed the role, I didn’t realize that the character would prove to be as important she was. In fairness I had not seen The Babadook at the time she was cast (I have seen it since, and good God, she is amazing in that film).

      Still, once she appeared, Essie Davis owned both the stage and the screen. The sequences involving the play were some of my favorites of the season, and just as Lady Crane was the centerpiece of the acting troupe, Davis was the star of the show. It’s a difficult task to convince viewers that an actor who is touted as great within the narrative is actually as good as they’re intended to be, but Davis sold it effortlessly. As her casting call specified, she was fun and charismatic, the kind of person that most of us would love to share a glass of rum and a laugh with after a hard day’s work.

      Still, it was Davis’s work off the stage with Maisie Williams that elevated her character from an interesting background player to a beloved one. There was a warmth and normalcy to those scenes that we haven’t seen Arya share with anyone since she lost her father in Season 1. The ease with which Davis and Williams played off each other during their backstage meeting in “Blood of My Blood” made me wish that they would have many more scenes together.

      I also love the scene in “No One” where she treats Arya’s wounds, soothes her worries, and gently lays her down to rest like the mother she had lost once would have. It was one of those moments that reminds you that for as much darkness, death, and indifference there is in this story, there are also decent people who are willing to risk their own lives to help an almost total stranger. That was a powerful message to send, especially this past Sunday.

      It’s very sad that the Many-Faced God still claimed Lady Crane, especially in such a brutal way (the Waif’s taunt that she would have died painlessly if Arya had just done the job herself was a harsh reminder about the consequences of what Ned once called “the madness of mercy”). We’re experienced enough to know that death doesn’t only come for the wicked and leave the decent behind, but we keep hoping it might happen, if only for a time. There’s a reason that the only prayer one can say to the God of Death is “Not today.”

      Still, for those of us who are so invested in the journey of Arya Stark, a greater tragedy was averted. At the end of “Oathbreaker”, Arya appeared to be pretty solidly committed to the path of the Faceless Men (enough, at least, to survive drinking from the pool). If Lady Crane’s obvious decency and empathy hadn’t managed to reach Arya and inspire her to break away, she might well have carried out her assignment, ingratiated herself even in the House of Black and White, and in time, lost herself completely. A face would have been added to the Hall, but something greater would have been lost.

      So while Arya’s mercy only saved Lady Crane for only a short time, Lady Crane in truth saved Arya more than once – in spirit, and then in body. Hopefully Lady Crane’s gift will last longer, and allow the young Stark of Winterfell to see what’s west of Westeros one day. That would be a lovely legacy for the character who shone so brightly during the brief time we spent with her.

      Essie Davis, meanwhile, will be just fine. She is an extraordinarily talented actress – I can say with complete confidence that this woman is a star, because she’s already proven it many times over. I’m very glad that she was able to bring such a memorable character to life during her three-episode stint on Game of Thrones. I will be eager to watch any project that she embarks on in the future!

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    20. She was really great. Well done. Wasn’t sure how this whole theater troupe was gonna go. I think she is responsible for making it work so well (the waif and death contract clusterfuck notwithstanding).

      Cheers, hope her career gets a bump from this. Would be well earned.

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    21. Beautiful actress.

      Btw, when she was treating Arya, she did look like Catelyn Stark, didn’t she? Or am I the only one who saw that resemblance.

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    22. Loved the Braavosi troupe, especially Lady Crane. Bravo! Yet another “one season wonder” character that became quite memorable. Thx, Ms. Davis, for your wonderful addition to the game.

      For some reason, I am overly curious as to what was in the vial that she retrieved from the top shelf.

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    23. A great performance by Essie Davis. As Lady Crane she was brilliant and the Braavosi troupe scenes made for a pleasant change from the ‘doom and gloom’ within the House of Black and White.

      RIP Lady Crane – but best wishes to Essie in her future roles and movies.

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    24. Zuma,

      Btw, when she was treating Arya, she did look like Catelyn Stark, didn’t she? Or am I the only one who saw that resemblance.

      I saw it as well; lovely scene, that. I also saw the look on Arya’s face that said relax you are safe.

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    25. With the number of characters that the series regularly kills off, it’s only fair that the fans should get one Red Priestess “revive my fav” per season. Jon Snow was last season’s winner.

      For the start of season 7, lets vote for Lady Crane.

      The fan gods are yet done with her.

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    26. Really enjoyed Essie’s performance as Lady Crane. I really wanted to see a lot more of the troupe and especially her. She brought an Aussie warmth to Lady Crane that cut through to Arya as much as the stage performance as Cersei did. And once again Maisie has that knack of striking a chemistry with a screen scene partner and making it memorable.

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    27. Cheers, Phryne! I loved every single second of your screen time. It would all be just tits and dragons and warted cocks without you.

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