Emmy Episode Analysis: Will Diana Rigg (‘Game of Thrones’) win gold for purple wedding?

Could second time be the charm for “Game of Thrones” scene-stealer Diana Rigg in this year’s Best Drama Guest Actress race? Rigg plays Olenna Tyrell on the HBO fantasy epic, the icy grandmother who caused a lot of trouble in King’s Landing during her relatively short tenure. She lost this category last year to Carrie Preston (“The Good Wife“), but with Preston snubbed by the TV academy this time around, could Rigg be Emmy-bound? She submitted the buzzed-about episode “The Lion and the Rose.”

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SYNOPSIS: King Joffrey’s wedding party has finally arrived in King’s Landing. After Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) marries Margaery (Natalie Dormer), Olenna meets with Tywin (Charles Dance) and reminds him of the debt that is owed.

Then at the reception, she comforts Sansa (Sophie Turner) whose brother was recently killed at his own wedding.

The reception continues and Margaery declares that all of the leftover food will be given to the poor, until Cersei (Lena Headey) makes her own decision to feed it to the dogs. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is embarrassed when Joffrey pours wine on his head, but then Joffrey gets what is coming to him when he drinks poisoned wine and dies.

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Can Rigg take home her first Emmy for this role for “The Lion and the Rose”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:

PROS

Rigg is one of those actresses that commands every scene she’s in. If Olenna is on screen, it’s a safe bet that voters will be glued to their TVs.

Despite having limited dialogue, Rigg appears in the background of several scenes (the wedding, the reception) which means even if something else is going on with the other characters, voters will never quite forget about her.

“Game of Thrones” received 19 Emmy nominations this year, more than any other program, so the show is clearly an academy favorite. And Dinklage won Drama Supporting Actor in 2011, proving Emmy voters aren’t afraid of giving this show top trophies. 

CONS

Like any episode of “Game of Thrones,” there are many characters and locations to be served, meaning Rigg has minimal lines of dialogue. If voters want to reward Rigg for her character’s entire series arc, she could win. But if they’re solely voting on her appearance in this episode, she’ll likely be overlooked.

It’s not until following episodes that we learn of Olenna’s true importance to the purple wedding storyline. If those scenes had been in this episode, Rigg might have gotten an extra boost from the impact of her character’s actions.

There’s no screaming fit, no passionate speech, no crying, no multiple personalities. In other words, all of the normal tell-tale Emmy signs are missing, meaning Rigg could fall short of the Emmy finish line.

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Rigg is currently in third place in our predictions with 33/1 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or are we underestimating this acting legend? Make your own predictions below.

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