Performer of the Week: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Performer of the Week Nicolaj Coster-Waldau Game of ThronesA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

THE SHOW | Game of Thrones

THE EPISODE | “Kissed by Fire”

THE AIRDATE | April 28, 2013

RELATED | HBO Renews Game of Thrones for Season 4

THE PERFORMANCE | In the span of just a few episodes, Game of Thrones‘ Jaime lost a hand and grew a conscience – a rough go in anyone’s book. In last Sunday’s outing, for the first time in his Lannister life, the Kingslayer was laid so low that a warm bath and a semi-sympathetic ear was all it took to undo him. Portrayer Nikolaj Coster-Waldau artfully nailed Jaime’s despair – and made his character far more sympathetic — as he revealed the real story behind the Mad King’s murder.

The actor started out in familiar territory, carelessly tossing mean-spirited barbs at a discomfited Brienne as he slipped, naked, into her bathing pool. His jab about Renly’s death was nothing unusual, but his reaction to her ire was. Head bowed, Coster-Waldau showed us a new angle to his alter ego as he tiredly apologized. “I’m sick of fighting,” he admitted, sick and covered in filth, his stump held just above the water’s surface and his head bowed. As he proposed a truce and acknowledged his trust in his unlikely protector sitting a few paces away, Coster-Waldau softened Jaime into a defeated warrior completely sapped of strength.

The elder Lannister brother related the true story behind the Aerys II Targaryen’s death, which turned out to be more about preventing thousands of innocent deaths and less about gaining fame and glory. “Would you have kept your oath then?” he wearily demanded of Brienne, Coster-Waldau using a matter-of-fact tone to relate the terrible details of the act that earned Jaime his nickname. But at the mention of “the honorable Ned Stark,” the actor leapt forward on a surge of anger that left the knight trembling in Brienne’s sturdy arms – the best swordsman in Westeros reduced to swooning invalid. Jaime’s never had it worse, and Coster-Waldau’s never been better.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?

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44 Comments
  1. Joni says:

    Well deserved. <3 Tyrion and Jaime.

    • TV fan says:

      If he doesn’t win an Emmy for that monolgue there’s no justice in the world

      • GK says:

        Agreed. I knew there was a reason I couldn’t hate him completely since his ‘There are no men like me, only me’ last season. He has been hitting it out of the park this season.

        Also, if Emilia Clarke doesn’t win an Emmy for the Unsullied performance last episode, then there’s definitely no justice in the world. She has deserved it for far too long. Its easy for us guys to imagine ourselves in the shoes of fantasy heroes, but when that happens with a heroine, that’s the true power of it. I could die for Daenerys Stormborn Targareyn. I want to be her. I want to be with her. I want to do everything possible for her.

  2. Alekslynn says:

    Well-spotted this week. He was excellent.

    • Elena says:

      I completely agree, and I would also add that Nikolaj has been spot on with this character from his introduction in the pilot. As a book reader, I was really looking forward to how he would handle this season’s twist in Jaime’s story arc, and he had far surpassed any expectations I had. He completely embodies this character and definitely deserves the recognition. I know it’s a long-shot (unfairly so) that he’ll get an Emmy nomination this year, but he really does deserve it for the amazing work he has put in this season.

  3. Karen says:

    It takes an amazing actor to go from, possibly the least likeable character on the show, to one of the most likeable, and not make viewers question that transition. Jamie and Brienne have the most amazing chemistry. Great work by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (my fellow Dane) and great casting!

    • I agree with all of this. ^^ I also feel Jamie and Brienne have a great chemistry. Theirs and Daenerys’ storylines are my favorites on the show. Tyrion is a close third.

    • I dunno, despite the fact that explaining his actions made them acceptable, he still crippled Bran. He always acted like a total cad before he lost his hand, too. I still think he’s a really a great actor, but Tyrion is the only Lannister I want saved when Daenerys and her dragons finally invade King’s Landing in 5 years or so.

      • Mike says:

        I think there is a difference between being likable and the character actually being a good person, Jamie in at least my eyes is a likable character, that doesn’t mean he is inherently a good guy, but Jamie at least right now is my favorite character, followed closely by Arya and Tyrion.

  4. rachelle says:

    I called him getting POTW as soon as his scene finished!! VERY well deserved.

  5. Paul says:

    Easy pick! Well deserved. Jaime and Brienne have been awesome this season.

  6. Scott says:

    The casting for the Lanister men has always been top drawer, especially with Charles Dance as Tywin, and last Sunday’s episode proved this again. Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion has always been my favorite character on the show but this week Nikolaj Coster-Waldau absolutely nailed it with that bathing scene where he said he was no longer the Kingslayer and just Jaime. Moving and powerful. Awesome.

  7. Mike says:

    Perfect choice, Jamie and Nikolaj have been one of the best parts of Game If Theones that last few weeks, you need great actor in order to make Jamie a likeable character, and Nikolaj does a great job.

  8. wordsmith says:

    Great choice. As a runner up, I’d actually nominate Nina Dobrev for the flip side of the scene that got her recognized a few months ago. After all of the build-up, the moment where they finally get her to flip the emotional switch back on was well-earned and powerfully executed.

  9. wordsmith says:

    Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this because it was largely a clip episode, but Stana Katic turned in some great work on this week’s Castle.

  10. wordsmith says:

    Oh, and Chandra Wilson’s big breakdown on Grey’s? Definitely noteworthy. I guess we’re in May Sweeps, so there’s bound to be plenty of good material.

  11. Frankieboy says:

    I agree with this week’s TV performer. There were two other performances that also got to me this week and they were:

    Laura Linney in The Big C. Linney always delivers and even though season 3 was a big stinker, the premiere of season 4 and her performance was once again flawless.

    The other performance that stood out to me, and I might be alone on this one, was Angela Kinney’s on The Office. Poor Angela, the way she unraveled during that episode was painful to watch. The way she reached out to Oscar’s his hand at the end before really breaking down in his car showed how much the normal stoic Angela really lost control over her own life.

    • erin says:

      I second Angela Kinsey. My god, that woman nearly broke my heart at the very end with Oscar.

      • Frankieboy says:

        I can’t believe I spelled her name wrong. anyways, good to know i’m not alone on that one ;-)
        I really hope she gets her happy ending… with a lot of cats.

    • Lauren says:

      Angela Kinsey was amazing this week. Rainn Wilson was great as well, seeing him finally made Manager actually made me tear up, and I’m not the biggest Dwight fan. I’m so glad that the spinoff wasn’t picked up so we can get great endings for everyone.

    • kate says:

      I totally agree with your point on Angela Kinsey. She was so good this week. Her and Oscar’s ongoing relationship these past two seasons has been really great to watch. One of the best parts of ‘The Office’ is the subtle way they show how deep their friendships really run.

  12. stevie says:

    “somebody help! the kingslayer!”
    “jamie. my name is jamie.”

  13. Alex says:

    My gosh, what a scene. I have read the books but was still riveted by his description of the Mad King’s intentions.
    Jaime and Brienne have always been my favorite arc in the story – and I am immensely pleased with how the actors in the series have portrayed this bitterly brutal but star-crossed pairing.
    It’s been incredible watching Jaime become so undone that he has actually grown to be worthy of redemption after all he has done.
    By the 3rd book Jaime became my favorite character. I only wish we got to see more of him in scenes with Tyrion.

    • Dani says:

      I totally agree with you. During season 1 my husband was like “Man I hope he dies a horrible death” I just said I know you don’t believe me now but you are going to change your mind about him. Sunday night he said he couldn’t believe he was feeling bad for Jaime and I just laughed and said I told you so!

  14. DarkDefender says:

    I agree, Nikolaj was amazing. I also believe Chadra Wilson nailed it again (2 weeks in a row!).

    I would give an honorable mention to the extraordinary Stana Katic. I could watch her tear up over a voiceover/montage for the entire hour every freaking week.

  15. Saint Alicia says:

    Great performance and such a powerful scene. In the past Dinklage has received all the attention but NCW deserves an Emmy nom for this performance alone.

  16. Lauren says:

    Couldn’t agree more. He was amazing. The fact that he was just sitting there, just talking, and yet I was absolutely captivated. He is the perfect Jaime, and I love his dynamic with Brienne.

  17. Scott says:

    No honourable mention this time? Chandra Wilson has been wonderful these past few weeks.

  18. Spencer says:

    I’ve never watched an episode of GOT, and I’m sure its great, but from what I watched this week I have to say Angela Kinsey on the Office. Every scene she was in nearly brought me to tears. It was so great to see how this character has evolved over the series, starting out as shrill and rude and uptight, and now being a complete mess. I thought she was the best.

    • Bartleby says:

      Totally agree. I haven’t been able to say this for a while, but this week’s episode of The Office was amazing and Angela absolutely killed it. I thought Rainn Wilson was stellar this week too.

  19. Matt says:

    I am not a viewer of GOT, so I cannot give an opinion on Nickolaj’s performance, but I do believe that Chandra Wilson did an awesome job this week, as well as Stana Katic.

  20. Katie says:

    I disagree!!!!! Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys of The Americans were pure genius in the finale! Best.Show.on.Television.

    • Olive says:

      I actually thought Margo Martindale was the best actor in the finale although the performances by the main protagonists were good. All that being said, the Kingslayer killed it this week and deserves this recognition.

  21. Mary Ann says:

    Was anyone else besides me hoping he would dunk his head in the water and wash all that dirt off? lol

  22. Sam says:

    Alison Brie on Community was awesome as her 2008 “Adderall Annie” self. She gave an Emmy-worthy performance.

  23. nikki says:

    He was brilliant. I love Jaime.

  24. Angel says:

    That scene almost brought me to tears, he showed such vulnerability in that scene. Gwen nailed her scene too, I love her reactions to Jaime. I totally back Chandra Wilson as honorable mention, she has been spot on. I think Emmys should go to both her and Nikolaj.

  25. kate says:

    Good choice. This scene is definitely one of my favorites in the series so far.

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