I know not everyone from one single show can take all the Emmy nominations in a category. Like, my brain knows this, and most of the time, I accept it. But yet, my heart still wants all of the Game of Thrones actors — which is, by the way, all the actors in the ensemble cast — to be nominated individually for their work on the show. They're all just so damn good. Alas, this is not possible, and year after year, Emmy voters must choose whom to nominate from the series in categories like Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, and Best Lead Actor in a Drama series. Though anyone who gets the nomination does deserve it, I think a big star snubbed at the 2016 Emmys was Game Of Thrones' Alfie Allen, for this role as Theon Greyjoy.
As Theon, Allen has gone from playing the equivalent of a jock sidekick in a '90s teen romantic comedy to a traitor with delusions of grandeur to a broken man who was literally lying with dogs to a guy just trying to be a good brother to his sister Yara. The transition between the latter roles literally went down in Season 6, making the involvement with the character this year pretty darn intense. He might not have been in every episode, but that doesn't mean his character didn't pack a real punch during the window of time eligible for nominations — the last two episodes of Season 5 and Episodes 1 through 6 of Season 6.
The depth of Allen's performance really shines through in his key scenes. First, we see him being a Lassie to his gal pal Sansa, pushing her to safety as redemption for turning on her family. It can't be easy for a man to be so broken he only knows how to behave like an animal. Next, he tried to prove himself to his sister Yara, who is not an easy woman to impress. Finally, he tries to prove himself yet again, to the Iron Born at the Kingsmoot. It was a lot of this humbled man trying to act a little less humble and a little more like the man he once was, if not a tad wiser.
Though Allen wasn't playing as a conquering dragon rider or a Queen Mum with a lust for vengeance or a zombie with great hair and the best brood-face in town, his character took some impressive acting ability to make happen. The man seeking redemption deserves as much credit as these hero/antiheroes. Allen's work in the finale episode of Season 5, "Mother's Mercy" was worth an Emmy-nomination in itself. We see Theon as a shell of the boy he once was, and yet he finds something within himself to take down Ramsay's whacky girlfriend and jump to safety with Sansa by his side. That sort of depth — all those levels of guilt, and pain, and loss of self — can't be easy to portray.
The entire cast of Game of Thrones is immensely talented, so it stands to reason that not all of them could get Emmy nominations. And yet, still I wish Alfie Allen would get recognition for his low key but still incredibly powerful performance as Theon. Sometimes, the character who isn't making Westeros-shattering decisions or causing a hootenanny — but the character who is only trying to quietly heal and support — is the one which takes a lot of talent to perform. But, alas, no recognition for it this year.
Images: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO;Giphy (2)