The Crown and Game of Thrones are two of the most well-loved series in recent memory, with both making a resurgence in recent months. The prequel series House of the Dragon has reinvigorated the world of Westeros while the fifth season of The Crown has added new depths to the British royal family and the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
While the two shows are in decidedly different genres, both The Crown and Game of Thrones deal with similar topics, as the struggle for power is evident in each. Appropriately, several actors have been fortunate enough to appear in both of these series at some point in their careers, bridging the gap between the two beloved shows.
Matt Smith is the original actor to portray Prince Philip in The Crown, playing the Duke of Edinburgh for the show’s first two seasons. During that time, Smith portrayed an angst-riddled, often confrontational version of Philip, as he continued to struggle with his place in the royal family. The actor received widespread acclaim for his performance in the series, receiving an Emmy nomination in 2018.
More recently, Smith landed a role in the Game of Thrones prequel spinoff, House of the Dragon. Portraying yet another prince, Daemon Targaryen, Smith has become one of the most popular actors in the House of the Dragon cast. His portrayal of Daemon is surprisingly in line with that of Philip, as both characters are married to the nation’s rightful queen despite wanting a similar power for themselves.
Tobias Menzies is best known for his truly terrific performance as Prince Philip in the third and fourth seasons of The Crown. The actor brought a more mature dimension to the Duke of Edinburgh, exploring his existential crises as he hit the middle years of his life. Menzies also brought a more identifiable nature to the character, making him less of an antagonist in Elizabeth’s story, instead aligning as a supportive husband for his wife.
Long before landing his role on The Crown, Menzies had a recurring role in the third season of Game of Thrones as Edmure Tully, the younger brother of Catelyn Stark. Edmure is infamous for being the groom of the horrific Red Wedding, which resulted in the deaths of the entire Stark clan in attendance. Thankfully for Edmure, he and his wife survived the night’s events, lasting through the rest of the events in the series.
Jonathan Pryce is the latest actor to take on the role of Prince Philip, making his debut in the fifth season of The Crown. Pryce portrays the Duke of Edinburgh in his later years, introducing a more laid-back version of the character compared to his very active younger years. He also conveys a Philip who seems to have found his place in the world, even if life has a way of intruding on his peace of mind.
Pryce completes the trifecta of The Crown‘s Philip actors, as all three have appeared on Game of Thrones or its sister series. Pryce had a recurring role in the fifth and sixth seasons of the original series as the revolutionary religious leader known as the High Sparrow. He and the other members of the Faith Militant wage a silent coup in King’s Landing, eventually taking over the city before being violently expelled by Queen Cersei.
Charles Dance makes his first appearance in The Crown during its third season, portraying the elder version of Lord Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle and the chief of Britain’s defense staff. True to form, Dance seemed eager to portray a character who very nearly perpetrated the nation’s first coup in centuries, only to be shut down immediately. Lord Mountbatten was tragically assassinated in season 4, ending Dance’s time on the series.
As one of the world’s most accomplished actors, the part of Tywin Lannister in the first four seasons of Game of Thrones is easily one of Charles Dance’s most recognized roles. He proved to be one of the show’s greatest villains and was capable of keeping even the king under his thumb. Ultimately, he too was assassinated, this time by his son, Tyrion, who shot him with a crossbow while he was seated on the toilet.
Tom Brooke has a guest starring role in The Crown‘s season 4 episode, “Fagan.” Brooke portrays the eponymous character of Michael Fagan, a down-on-his-luck British citizen who infamously breaks into Buckingham Palace and has a conversation with the queen in her bedroom. This episode proves surprisingly emotional, as even Elizabeth comes to see the plight of a man too long downtrodden by the unforgiving world in which he lives, as well as providing a very honest criticism of the monarchy and certain policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Brooke had a relatively small role in Game of Thrones, portraying Lothar Frey in the third season of the series. Lothar is the son of Lord Walder Frey and is present during the infamous Red Wedding sequence in the penultimate episode of the season. It is he who murders Talisa Stark and her unborn baby, the very first kill of the night. While Lothar appears again later in the series, he is portrayed by Daniel Tuite.
Julian Glover, an actor known for appearing in The Empire Strikes Back and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, has a surprisingly small role in The Crown. He appears in the season 3 episode “The Coup,” as Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, the personal horse trainer hired by Queen Elizabeth II who is subsequently replaced after growing too old and traditional in his methods. He is neither heard of nor seen again after a single scene featuring the iconic actor.
Glover has a much meatier role in Game of Thrones, portraying the slippery Grand Maester Pycelle, who somehow manages to survive as one of the most powerful men in Westeros for the first six seasons of the series. Pycelle proved a magnificent foil to characters like Tyrion, always shifting his allegiance to what best suited him in the moment, a tactic which worked well until Cersei’s true rise to power.
Anton Lesser has a recurring role throughout the second season of The Crown, portraying the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. After pushing his predecessor, Anthony Eden, out of office, Macmillan quickly proves himself to be unfit for office, eventually leaping on the first chance he can get to resign after a minor health issue, resulting in a very memorable scene in which he is chastised by a disappointed Queen Elizabeth.
Lesser may be better known to some viewers as Qyburn, Queen Cersei’s replacement for Grand Maester Pycelle during her reign in King’s Landing. The maverick physician is also responsible for the revival of the Mountain as an inhumane beast in the later seasons, though this creation would come back to haunt him in the series’ penultimate episode, resulting in his sudden and untimely death.
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