Performer of the Week: Thrones' Peter Dinklage

GoT_dinklage_potw_325A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Peter Dinklage

THE SHOW | Game of Thrones

THE EPISODE | “The Laws of Gods and Men”

THE AIRDATE | May 11, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | Tyrion Lannister didn’t say much for most of this week’s Game of Thrones – but in the episode’s final minutes, Dinklage more than made up for his character’s reticence.

Dinklage gave an unflinching performance as Tyrion unleashed a torrent of rage at those gathered for his character’s unfair trial. No one was spared the vitriol that had been building inside Tyrion his entire life, with Dinklage growling his anger at the horrified crowd.

“I saved this city, and all your worthless lives,” he nearly whispered, Dinklage regarding the court audience with extreme contempt.  “I should’ve let Stannis kill you all.”

The speech was all the more striking in comparison to what came before it, as Dinklage curled in on himself while Tyrion listened to Shae twist their romance into something seedy and damning. “Shae, please don’t,” he pleaded softly, Dinklage’s face conveying all the hopes that his love would change her mind and recant her testimony… and all the certainty that she wouldn’t.

So the actor doubled down, funneling decades of Tyrion’s hurt and shame into what really needed to be said: “I’m guilty of being a dwarf,” he stated. “I’ve been on trial for that my entire life.” Freed of any need to pretend, Tyrion kept going – with Dinklage imbuing the performance with pre-gallows glee. “I wish I were the monster you all think I am,” he said, jaw clenched, before loudly wishing death upon everyone in the room.

If Tyrion’s going to meet his Game of Thrones end soon, we don’t want to know about it – in a cast full of pros, Dinklage rises above all.

Nashville Season 2 FinaleHONORABLE MENTION | We’ve often watched Hayden Panettiere play Nashville‘s Juliette Barnes bratty, boozed up and bereft – but it’s not often we’re lucky enough to see her tackle all three in the same episode. The actress brilliantly maneuvered her country-music alter ego from desperate whining (when she tried to get Rayna to void her contract) to hilariously out-of-control drunkenness (we know we shouldn’t have laughed at her runny-mascara face on the bathroom floor, but we did anyway) to utter desolation (if Avery finds a way to deny her quiet plea to stay, he’s a stronger man than we are). Throughout, we marveled at Panettiere’s innate ability to make us not only tolerate — but root for — a character who kicked off the series so unlikable.

HONORABLE MENTION James Spader sure knows how to make us root for the antihero. As The Blacklist Season 1 Finalecriminal mastermind Ray Reddington on The Blacklist, Spader has spent the show’s first season infusing his character with a confident swagger. Even as Red was forced to face his own mortality in Monday’s season finale, Spader’s suave demeanor kept us certain that Red would prevail. But it was the rare moments of vulnerability that Spader put on display this week that caught our attention even more. When Liz indicated that she wanted to end her working relationship with Red, Spader allowed us a brief glimpse at the man behind the sharp tongue, a man who is lonely and misunderstood. Later, as Red revealed more sobering details of the house fire that took Liz’s childhood — including the burns he suffered himself — we found ourselves feeling something akin to sympathy for the morally corrupt character, a feat only an actor of Spader’s calibre could achieve.

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69 Comments
  1. shuayb says:

    Sandra Oh also deserved mention! It was heartbreaking watching her leave. :(

  2. Babar says:

    Sandra Oh at least deserved a mention, but I guess because she got this a couple of weeks ago, she wasn’t gonna get it this week?

    • Bryce says:

      Yeah I think they try to split it up pretty well. Last year they have it to Monica Potter twice (cancer plot and all) but I think she’s the only person to get so much as a mention twice in one season.

  3. Tonya says:

    There were so many brilliant performances this week, there easily could have been a dozen people mentioned. I love finale season!

  4. Jojo says:

    Dinklage was the right choice, but how about Fitz and Simmons from SHIELD as honorable mentions. Their scenes were heartbreaking.

  5. Angi says:

    what about emily vancamp or madeleine stowe for that awesome revenge finale c’mon!

    • iMember says:

      I was just about to come here and comment saying that Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe were simply fantastic in their performances this week for the finale. And what a finale that was!!

    • Nick says:

      Me too!!! Those two killed it on Sunday!!

  6. robbiekad says:

    I love Game of Thrones and Peter Dinklage, but his performance paled on comparison to Tatiana Maslany on Orphan Black on Saturday.

    • DarkDefender says:

      Dinklage deserved it for the moments right before that speech, as much as the speech itself.

      But I agree, Tatiana Maslany killed it yet again.. If nothing for her portrayal of Sarah in the shower with her tormentor and as Helena along side Sarah in that same scene.

    • dude says:

      Completely agree! That performance was pure gold and some of her finest work which is really saying something. I’m going to assume that she was a victim of scheduling and her performance got buried under the wealth of season finales this week.

    • Sara says:

      They can’t possibly include Tatiana every week, there should be a lifetime performer award for her

      • Jax&Juice's Girl says:

        100% Agree about T.M. from Orphan Black!

      • Julie says:

        I’d have to agree – playing multiple characters so well that the viewer (at least this viewer) often forgets that it’s not multiple actresses definitely is in a category all its own.

  7. Shira says:

    I love Hayden, think Juliette is a fantastic character and loved her in the finale,but…..think Connie Britton is the one who deserved an honorable mention for this episode. She owned it and the way she moved from Comedy to drama, from being a private person to on stage bigger than life Rayna Jaymes and the way she was so truthful in every scene was so good that it feel like it’s been taken for granted…well, it shouldn’t. defiantly not after the finale.

    • GS says:

      I find her to be so one note it’s not funny. I just don’t get the big deal with her. Hayden keeps me tuning in and I tolerate Connie. She’s only good in scenes with Hayden or Chip.

  8. Meg says:

    Oh wow! Sandra Oh’s last episode and not even an honorable mention? LOL ok.

  9. Jill says:

    I agree about Sandra Oh, but how about Jim Parsons. Sheldon took me on a roller coaster this week. I actually had empathy for him

  10. Elyse says:

    Agreed on all 3!! spectacular performances this week!

  11. Mayra says:

    I agree on the honorable mention to Hayden, but I think Jonathan Jackson also deserverd one. He was SO good! We all know Hayden is capable of what she delivered this week, but had no idea of how great he could be also.

    I love Tatiana Maslany as much as the next person, but on a week full of season finales with great storytelling, I’m sorry, Sarah’s encounter with Helena got overshadowed.

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  13. AT says:

    I know CW shows are usually ignored, but Daniel Gillies gave a great performance on The Originals and is definitely worthy of mention.

    • dude says:

      He wasn’t in the top 10 of this week’s performances and if anyone deserved a mention for The Originals finale it’s Joseph Morgan and Claire Holt for that final scene which was the only scene worth mentioning for that episode.

      • Evan says:

        The finale was impeccable.. and I agree that Daniel Gillies was the star of the best season finale thus far!

        • AT says:

          I completely agree. Though I think both Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan were the stars of that episode.

      • AT says:

        There was a lot great about that Originals finale, but to each their own. That said, i do agree that Joseph Morgan and Claire Holt were also great in the episode. But I disagree about Daniel Gillies. He gave a great performance. Judging a performance however is as usual always subjective.

    • Jenna says:

      I disagree! his ‘break down’ didn’t evoke any emotion with me, I actually can’t even understand why hayley can make him have this break down while he played it more than cool when his brothers died, when his former love (katherine) died he didn’t even mention her or tried to stop klaus to go gloat over death body. just nope. and sorry but Joeseph and Leah and even Daniel are good actors but you can literally see how hard they are trying, its so damn dramatic at times. Claire Holt is clearly the best actress

      • AT says:

        Well you said it, with you. That doesn’t mean that a lot of the audience feels the same way. And based on what’s been presented on the show, he has this breakdown because in a thousand years he’s never felt this way about someone before. He’s a Byronic Hero who has found his “Byronic” focus. Losing her would break him down and believably so. That all said, I don’t agree with your last couple statements at all. It just sounds like nonsense to me and some kind of strange dislike for the actors and characters. I mean, you can “see how hard they are trying…” Oh please. But I guess everyone has their own opinion. Honestly, I’m tired of seeing so much “Originals” and “Leah Pipes” hate going around. There are a lot of people who love the show and the characters and think the actors do a great job. Obviously if they weren’t well liked they wouldn’t have gotten a whole spin off show.

  14. dcl33 says:

    I know that there has been quite a few season endings this week and some of the performers are/were excellent, but Peter Dinklage was beyond superb. he was fantastic in that scene. The way he went from distressed to sad to betrayed and at the end rage. He literally blew my mind with that performance.He deserves a nod for every award out there.

  15. Shaun says:

    Eva Green better win this next week for ep 2 of Penny Dreadful.

  16. dude says:

    Hell yes to Hayden Panettiere! She was amazing. Although I’d argue she’s always been the most likable character. if anyone started this series off as unlikable, it’s Rayna.

  17. Jim says:

    How about Mark Harmon from NCIS? His facial expressions alone in dealing with the death of his father were heartwrenching.

  18. bla says:

    Why the hell isnt Sandra Oh in this list?

    • HUH says:

      Because Grey’s Anatomy is a hospital soap opera that just happens to be on at night instead of during the day and it’s not counted by the media as an actual drama.

      • bla says:

        You clearly have no idea what a soap opera is, you should look it up…. Sandra Oh delivered outstanding work, as always, on Grey’s Anatomy this week. This and the fact that she’s a multiple Emmy nominee who has been on the same high scoring show for 10 seasons should have given her at least a mention in this section!

  19. Coal says:

    Those who want Sandra Oh here is more out of sentiment than the work she delivered this week. I don’t watch Nashville and The Blacklist so I don’t know about those two.

    • Gwen says:

      You should definitely check out “The Blacklist” – it’s very good and James Spader is excellent!

      • Coal says:

        I did watch the first couple of episodes and I didn’t like the fact that there is only one strong character on the show while the other actors just seem like caricatures to keep the story moving.

  20. An Irrelevant says:

    Michael Emerson ring a bell? He was epic in this week’s season finale.

  21. nikki says:

    Michael Pitt’s performance in Hannibal. I think we have found our next actor for “The Joker” in a Batman reboot.

  22. theschnauzers says:

    I would have at least given Stephen Amell and the cast of Arrow an honorable mention. The finale was actually a three-part story over the last three weeks, but Amell versus Manu Bennett was epic hero versus villain in a way we’re seen infrequently on television the last few years, and it’s ironic that had things gone a little differently a few years ago, we could have been talking about those two on Spartacus. But “Unthinkable” was unthinkably good!

  23. Jasmine Smith says:

    Peter Dinklage and Tatiana Maslany KILLED IT!!!

  24. JennieErin says:

    Tyrion is one of the best characters on TV. Peter Dinklage was so awesome!

  25. spindae2 says:

    Peter performed extraordinay, pure emotions, but Joseph Morgan and Clair Holt made my heart tear apart. There is a little hope for all of us.

  26. Ann says:

    No love for Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder? They were fantastic in the TVD finale, especially in the goodbye scene between Damon and Elena.

  27. Paul says:

    Mark Harmon for NCIS
    Sandra Oh for Grey’s Anatomy
    Matthew Grey Gubler Criminal Minds
    Michael Emmerson Person of Interest
    Each One Was Worthy Of Performer Of The Week

  28. dAniel says:

    Emily VanCamp of Revenge………I mean come on, that finale was everything and she absolutely has to Win or get an honourable mention

  29. Juan says:

    I completely agree about Hayden Panettiere, she is truly amazing and was so fantastic this week. The drunk part was great and then at the end her whole conversation with Avery. Jonathan Jackson was great in that too. I agree with the people saying that Emily Van Camp was great this season finale. Her whole journey of happines to the death of Aiden to her triumph. Finally I haven’t seen the last episode of Grey’s but I know Sandra Oh was probably fantastic in her goodbye.

  30. mc says:

    Yeah, Emily VanCamp killed it. I also think last week’s honorable mention for Henry Czerny should’ve been for this week. It might be his last on that show you know…

  31. rachelle says:

    This was a no-brainier in my book. Him or Tatiana Maslany. She killed it Saturday.

  32. Joey says:

    Peter Dinklage drastically overacted in that scene. While good, it just wasn’t worthy of this, despite what people are saying. If you wanted to pick anyone from this last episode of Game of Thrones, it should’ve been the eternally-overlooked Alfie Allen. As absurd as the rescue attempt was (especially how the end of it was edited), he still out-acted pretty much everyone. And that bathtub scene was fantastic as well. Thank goodness he had the great Iwan Rheon as a scene partner there.

  33. So many great performances this week…Peter Dinklage was absolutely AMAZING in that episode, so, i really agree with the choice.

    Other amazing performances this week:

    Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe (Revenge)
    Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of Shield)

  34. Reba says:

    What about Tatiana Maslany?? She’s always brilliant on Orphan Black but that shower scene alone with Sarah and Helena! She was so amazing!! Emmy winner right there!

  35. Aprilcot says:

    LOVE Peter Dinklage. As soon as the episode was over I turned to my husband and said “Well there’s his Emmy submission!” I would have given runner-ups to the always brilliant Tatiana Maslany for being especially brilliant this week and Michael Pitt for his work on Hannibal.

  36. Kim R says:

    James Spader was riveting the entire season but even more so in the finale. He is an artist in conveying not just the words of a scene but the mood and heart of it as well. The Blacklist is really the best new show of the past season to the viewers in this household. :)

  37. Joan says:

    Jennifer Morrison was amazing in the Once Upon a Time finale

  38. Apples says:

    Dinklage by far

  39. bonesfan says:

    Spader is amazing and should win an Emmy for his portrayal as Red. Simply brilliant. He makes me root for Red!

  40. TL says:

    The fact that this section gets into great debates about performances bodes well for the future of TV. BRING IT!!!!

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