Since the dawn of time, humans have been torn about three things:
Whether Lena Headey can act or is merely a good Cersei.
Every message board you read, including our own Eloquents, you’ll see people saying Emilia Clarke is wooden or Maisie Williams can’t act, and then other people claiming the polar opposite position.
So let’s get to the bottom of it once and for all, shall we?
This feels like a simple task, but it isn’t.
Factors in your decision making process:
1. You are ranking the quality of ACTING, not how much you like the character. The criteria should be:
— the overall skill of the actor, i.e. Max Von Sydow has a lifetime body of work, you cannot tell me he’s not a good actor
2. Fill out as many as you can. You don’t have to do them all to submit. But, obviously, the more the better.
3. The enduring quality of their acting performance. Someone who has been consistently good from season one should be ranked higher than someone who improved over time.
4. The amount that you will always and forever connect that actor to that character, as opposed to having a suspicion that someone else might have done it better.
5. The amount an actor consistently transports you as a viewer.
7. The amount that an actor raises the quality of the show overall.
8. 5 is not average. Think of 2 as average. If someone is like a ‘fine’ actor, they’re a 2. A shoulder shrug is a 1. Someone who is awful is a 0.
9. Be very stingy with your 10’s. Reserve 10’s for the absolute top of the acting pile. In fact, before you begin, you should identify the best actor on the show and assign him or her a 10 in your mind. Then think of the absolute worst actor on the show and assign him or her a 0. Then start to rank everyone else in comparison to those standards.
10. Try to project whether or not the actor’s career will continue and grow after Game of Thrones or if this is as good as it gets.
11. When in doubt, for example with an actor who has grown from terrible to good, rate them based on the high point of their work.
12. Don’t wreck the curve because you love the character and know other people will trash him/her. I love Ser Jorah but I know my friends don’t! 10! or I know everyone loves Lady Mormont: 0. Suck it, Lady Mormont.
Obviously, anyone who trashes Lady Mormont will be excommunicated from Pajiba forever and ever with no further luncheons, but you get the point. Rank actors based on the acting you’ve seen with your own eyes.
13. If you don’t know who someone is, check the comments. Others probably had the same question. For example, Locke is the Bolton bannerman who cuts Jaime’s hand off. Just because you don’t remember someone’s name doesn’t mean that they didn’t do a great job.
14. Don’t compare apples to oranges. You can’t compare the performance of Mace Tyrell to Ned Stark, so don’t bother. There are no small roles, only small actors. In the universe of ultimate Ned Stark portrayals, how close to 10 was Sean Bean? In the universe of ultimate Mace Tyrell portrayals, how close to 10 was Roger Ashton-Griffiths? Rate them that way.
Let’s see who’s at the top of the acting pyramid.