'Game of Thrones' Lady Olenna & More of TV and Film's Most Badass Grandmas
Not many grandmas would discuss their sex lives with their grandkids, let alone murder their husbands for them, but then again, most grandmas aren't Lady Olenna Tyrell. The elderly Game of Thrones matriarch, played by Diana Rigg, is one of the most beloved characters on the series, due to her sharp wit, political cunning, and habit of making everyone around her feel as awkward and uncomfortable as possible. Whether she's strolling around the garden, manipulating Sansa, or plotting to kill Joffrey on his wedding day, Lady Olenna consistently makes things interesting around Westeros.
And the fact that she's a grandmother only makes her constant scheming even more awesome. It's a well-known fact that age is nothing but a number in the Seven Kingdoms (a barely 13-year-old boy becoming king? Makes perfect sense!), but for two seasons now, Lady Olenna has torn that phrase to shreds. In every scene she's in, no matter what she's doing, the message viewers take away from her actions is abundantly clear: grandmothers get shit done.
Amazingly enough, Lady Olenna is far from the only TV/movie grandma to make waves with her behavior, however. Here are 9 more of pop culture's most badass grandmas:
Show: Gilmore Girls
Played by: Kelly Bishop
Background: Wife of Richard, mother to Lorelai, and grandmother to Rory, Emily Gilmore loves nothing more than running the D.A.R, firing maids, and battling with her daughter.
Good or evil? A debate that Lorelai has every time she steps into the Gilmore household for Friday night dinners. Emily means well, but she's difficult to please and often pokes her head where it doesn't belong.
Scheming behavior: Setting Lorelai up with Christopher; buying Rory a building; messing up Lorelai and Luke; this scene.
Badassery level: 8.
Show: The O.C.
Played by: Linda Lavin
Background: Seth's Florida-based grandma first appears in season one, when she reveals to her family that she's been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Good or evil? Mostly good. The Nana can be overprotective and demanding, but no more than a typical Jewish grandma.
Scheming behavior: Revealing her cancer to her family in order to make them feel guilty; nagging Seth and Sandy; making Kirsten feel awkward and unwelcome, just for kicks.
Badassery level: 5.
Queen Clarisse Rinaldi
Movie: The Princess Diaries
Played by: Julie Andrews
Background: Clarisse is Queen of Genovia, a small, fictional European country. She's polite, powerful, and a pretty decent arm wrestler.
Good or evil? Very good, although she takes some warming up to. Mess with her family, though, and you'll face the Queen's wrath (or at least her staff's).
Scheming behavior: Subtly convincing Mia to take the crown; anchoring her makeover; generally being charming and sassy enough to get whatever she wants.
Badassery level: 4.
Show: Arrested Development
Played by: Jessica Walter
Background: Lucille has four kids with George Bluth and is grandmother to two. Annyong and Steve Holt not included.
Good or evil? Oh, so evil. Lucille is drunk, manipulative, condescending and mean, and that's exactly why we love her.
Scheming behavior: What hasn't this woman done? Between terrorizing Buster, berating G.O.B. for existing, and adopting a kid just to make herself look good for the S.E.C., Lucille spends more time scheming than she does drinking — and that's saying a lot.
Badassery level: 10.
Show: Everybody Loves Raymond
Played by: Doris Roberts
Background: The matriarch of the Barone family is the perfect housewife, much to Frank's satisfaction and Debra's irritation. Raymond is her favorite family member, and she makes sure the rest of the group knows that every day.
Good or evil? A healthy mix of both. Marie has good intentions, but her narcissism and snobbery often get in the way.
Scheming behavior: Living across the street from her son; manipulating Robert into getting married and having a baby; every passive-aggressive comment she's ever made to Debra.
Badassery level: 6.
Movie: The Proposal
Played by: Betty White
Background: Annie, known as "Gammy," is Joe's eccentric, dance-loving grandmother.
Good or evil? Ehh. It's hard to say, because although Annie comes off as sweet and innocent, she clearly enjoys Margaret's discomfort far more than she should.
Scheming behavior: This woman fakes a heart attack just to get her grandson and his fiance to reunite before she dies. You don't get much more badass than that.
Badassery level: 8.
Show: Downton Abbey
Played by: Maggie Smith
Background: The funny, loyal Dowager had two children with her late husband, and is grandmother to three.
Good or evil? Getting slowly better. Although Violet certainly loves her share of manipulation, she's gotten more sensitive over the seasons and stands up for what is right (at least in her opinion, that is).
Scheming behavior: Forming an alliance with Cora; fighting with Isobel; exaggerating details about her daughters' fiance's heritage to make their marriage more socially acceptable.
Badassery level: 7.
The Golden Girls
Show: The Golden Girls
Played by: Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.
Background: Four elderly women share a house in Miami. Shenanigans ensue.
Good or evil? Very, very good. Sure, the ladies enjoyed their vices, but always (well, usually) with the best of intentions.
Scheming behavior: Their insults to each other; taking down Girl Scouts; pretending to be lesbians on national TV.
Badassery level: 6.
Played by: Susan Sarandon
Background: The loud-mouthed, alcoholic senior citizen joins her desperate granddaughter on a road trip in the movie, out in July.
Good or evil? Good, just crazy. I mean, just look at that hair.
Scheming behavior: It's too early to know. Based on the little information revealed about Tammy, though, Sarandon's Pearl looks to be one sassy, profane, and totally badass grandmother.
Badassery level: 9.
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