Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy): John Wick
Despite a return to form of sorts in season seven, virtually all memory of Alfie Allen’s devilishly entertaining asshole Theon has been blotted out by that tortuous three season-long stint as Ramsay Bolton’s prisoner-plaything. That’s why his appearance in John Wick feels like a refreshing return to devious form: Allen plays Iosef Tarasov, the puppy-murdering heir to a Russian mob empire whose arrogance forces the titular assassin (Keanu Reeves) out of retirement, leading to a bloody pursuit of retribution that runs the length of the film. It feels good to hate Allen again, what with Thrones having made wretched pity the only feasible emotional response to Theon for so long.
Where to watch: available for rent on Amazon
Conleth Hill (Varys): A Patch of Fog
This Northern Ireland-set thriller offers the chance to see Conleth Hill work in his native accent – and have hair – but those aren’t the only reasons he’s so unrecognizable here. Playing Varys, who has remained something of an enigma across all seven seasons of Thrones, has meant we’ve come to associate Hill with an air of inscrutability, but A Patch of Fog pierces right through that impression. Hill plays Sandy Duffy, a celebrated author whose kleptomaniac tendencies catch up to him when a quietly menacing security guard (Stephen Graham) rumbles him right in the middle of a lucrative press run. The pair arrive at a compromise, but Sandy never really manages to walk free; Robert, a keen fan of the author’s work, gradually inserts himself into his hero’s private life by way of stalking and blackmail. There’s a persistent sense of muted unease throughout A Patch of Fog which is probably due in part to the fact that, as in Game of Thrones, Hill’s character here isn’t exactly easy to love.
Where to watch: Netflix
Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont): Mrs. Wilson
This limited series’ greatest allure is a psychological one: in Mrs. Wilson, Ruth Wilson (of Luther and Jane Eyre fame) plays her real-life grandmother Alison, who, upon being widowed in the ‘60s, suddenly discovered her husband had been leading multiple secret lives for years. As the title suggests, Mrs. Wilson belongs to Wilson the actor, but there are unexpected depths to be found in Iain Glen’s performance as Alison’s duplicitous husband, Alec. Dark and deceitful, he possesses none of the honorable stoicism we most associate with Glen, but like all good liars, there’s an ingratiating charm to Alec that, crucially, works on audiences as much as on the women he lies to. Glen plays Alec as fallible and human, his performance complicating his character beyond expectation and deepening the show’s intrigue beyond the obvious.
Where to watch: PBS
…And because George RR Martin’s imagination hasn’t exactly proved idle when it comes to inventing characters, here are some recommendations on where to find the best work of a few more cast members: