Just two hours after it launched in the US, Series 3 of Game of Thrones has broken like a small tsunami on the shores of Australia, delivering Foxtel two whopping great ratings wins with its 4.30 pm and then 8.30 pm showings on Easter Monday.
Providing one doesn’t take it at all seriously, the show is just sheer delight. Almost every character is uniquely wonderful, murderous, humourous, or just plain yummy to look at. There’s great quantities of completely gratuitous nudity, sex, and sword-slashing violence, highly original set and costume design, smart writing and labyrinthine plotting – not to mention dragons, did we say dragons? – all of which set the series apart. Dammit, even the opening credits are cool.
Interestingly, the show also showcases two young women who I reckon will become major stars. As the last time I did this is was to pick Keira Knightley in Bend It Like Beckham and Police as the next mega-band (on one hearing of Roxanne), I recommend you pay attention.
The first is Oona Castilla Chaplin, born 4 June 1986, who is a Spanish actress. Yes, you’ve heard that name before.
When Chaplin was fifteen, she went to study at Gordonstoun in Scotland on a drama scholarship. During her time there, she appeared in several school plays, touring England in an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and impersonating her grandfather in the role of Bottom in an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed at the Edinburgh International Festival. After leaving Gordonstoun, she was accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from where she graduated in 2007.
After graduating from RADA, Chaplin has acted in mainly British and Spanish short and feature films. She has played alongside her mother in three feature films: Inconceivable, ¿Para qué sirve un oso? and Imago Mortis.
Chaplin has also had several supporting roles in British and American television. In 2010, she appeared as a Brazilian cage dancer in ITV’s Married Single Other (2010), followed by roles as the wife of one of the main characters, Hector Madden, in the BBC period drama The Hour (2011–2012), as Dr. Watson’s girlfriend in an episode of Sherlock (2012) and now as Talisa in Game of Thrones.
Ms Chaplin appears to have inherited her grandfather’s astonishing facility with the camera, not to mention her mother’s graceful screen presence as well. It’s something about this family’s eyes. As she moves through her scenes, she seems, blessedly, entirely unaware of the camera and is thus utterly convincing. Oh, and yes, she is drop dead gorgeous. Expect to see much more of her.
The second is Rose Eleanor Arbuthnot-Leslie, a Scottish actress born in Aberdeen on 9 February 1987.
Rose is the third of five children. As well as Lickleyhead Castle where she grew up her parents own the 12th century Warthill Castle in Rayne, Aberdeenshire, as well. She attended first the local primary school in Rayne and then the very exclusive (and pro-arts) Millfield School before spending three years (2005–2008) at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Leslie made her debut in the 2009 TV film New Town, for which she won the Scottish BAFTA for Best Acting Performance (New Talent) Award. In September and October 2010, she appeared at the Globe Theatre in Nell Leyshon’s play Bedlam and memorably appeared in the role of Gwen, a housemaid, in the first series of the adored 2010 ITV television drama Downton Abbey. She certainly knows how to select winning vehicles for her work.
As the wildling Ygritte in Game of Thrones she combines a winning way with accents – I pick impeccable Yorkshire – and a presence which is both winsome, dangerous, challenging, amusing and sensual.
She is blessed with that most wonderful of gifts for an actor, a face and manner which is both highly attractive and yet not “standard fair”; it’s a long, proud visage, strong nose and chin, breathtaking blue eyes, a ready smile and a mane of exquisite red hair.
She is definitely not the girl next door. Although if she was, you’d probably be moving in next door post haste.
There are innumerable other beautiful people in Game of Thrones, of course, including the very pretty Emilia Clarke who wafts through the show playing Daenerys Targaryen, Lena Headey as the truly horrid Queen Cersei Lannister, the awesome Jason Momoa as the ill-fated Khal Drogo, “she’s everywhere” Natalie Dormer who has parlayed her scenery-chewing excellence as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors into a fine and busy career, and a honourable shout out, too, to Stephen Dillane as the ambitious and tortured Stannis Baratheon and the hugely talented Carice van Houten as the seductive and evil Melisandre to Dillane’s Baratheon. She’s enough to have half the male population of the world moving to Holland. Not to mention that magnificent looking old stager Charles Dance who must be any woman over 30’s thinking crumpet. That all these people can act brilliantly, seem to be able to hold a conversation without a script, and all the while still look stunning in real life and on the screen and stage is testament to their skills and, I guess, why we all love the glamour of “stars” so much.
But in Chaplin and Leslie I sense something else. Some indefinable extra “quality” which may set them apart from your run of the mill hard-working actor. Is it steel? Determination? A certain detatchment?
I honestly don’t know. But you heard it here first.
I am told, also, that women all over the world are swooning over the exploits of the most famous
small person since Tom Thumb – Peter Dinklage – who is regularly delivered some of the best lines in the show, such as “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you are only telling the world you fear what he might say.” And “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge”. Wonderful stuff.
Sorry to tell you ladies that he is happily married to another talented and attractive actress and director, Erica Schmidt, with whom he has a daughter. Oh, and no, he is not leaving Game of Thrones, that was an April Fool’s gag. So relax.
Single handedly, he must have brought encouragement to an entire generation of people with dwarfism, and good on him.
When asked about his height in a 2003 interview, he said: “When I was younger, definitely, I let it get to me. As an adolescent, I was bitter and angry and I definitely put up these walls. But the older you get, you realize you just have to have a sense of humor. You just know that it’s not your problem. It’s theirs.”
- Game of Thrones’ Girls: Red Carpet and Costumes (nymag.com)
- Living in a fantasy world with Game of Thrones (independent.co.uk)
- Game of Thrones Most Pirated TV Show Yet (tech-news.tv)
- ‘Game of Thrones’ Cast Gets Auto-Tune Treatment (mashable.com)
- Is it Dark in Here? Oh No….It’s Just Game of Thrones. (funnystrange.net)
- ‘Game of Thrones’ for Dummies – Daily Beast (thedailybeast.com)