Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Role You Totally Forgot This Emmy-Winning Ted Lasso Star Played On Game Of Thrones

Of the many accolades and, uh, adjectives, that critics and audiences have bestowed upon HBO's "Game of Thrones" over the years, terms like "sincere," "heartfelt," and "feel-good fun" have not been among them — at least, not un-ironically, not the way they're used to talk about "Ted Lasso." In fact, if one were forced to choose a series that had the absolute least amount of elements in common with the AppleTV+ phenomenon, it would probably be "Game of Thrones." And yet, the two decidedly disparate series just so happen to share one stellar, bona fide chameleon of an actor in common. 

That actor is the now Emmy award-winning Hannah Waddingham, who plays the show's antagonist/massive character arc incarnate, Rebecca Welton. In the series, Welton is the owner and enemy-from-within of the professional soccer team AFC Richmond. Hell-bent on taking the team down as a way to get back at her ex-husband, Welton eventually finds herself as won over by Ted Lasso's (Jason Sudeikis) unfailing kindness and upbeat spirit as audiences were. The ease with which Waddingham navigates her complex character earned her a win this evening for best supporting actress in a comedy series. But thanks to her bleak, shroud-like costume in "Game of Thrones", not everyone recognizes Waddingham for one of her most iconic roles: Septa Unella, otherwise known as "The Shame Nun."

Hannah Waddingham's role in Game of Thrones was far from easy

As Septa Unella, Hannah Waddingham bore little resemblance to her character on "Ted Lasso." Forever-clad in modest gray garbs that covered all but her relentlessly dour facial features, the sadistic Faith of the Seven septa didn't speak much, but might well have been the only character in "Game of Thrones" history to garner sympathy for the (equally sadistic) Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). But in addition to having to breathe life into a character hatable enough to stack-up against audiences' zealous dislike of Queen Cersei, Waddingham had to navigate some truly traumatic scenes along with her co-star and friend. 

In a recent video chat for Entertainment Weekly, Headey and Waddingham spoke at-length about working together on Season 5 of the epic fantasy series, and about that infamous "wineboarding" torture scene. (You know, the one where Cersei, as revenge for Unella putting her through the equally infamous Walk of Shame, waterboards the septa with wine). As Waddingham recalled, "People are always quite shocked that...there was nothing CGI'd." Regarding the difficulty of a scene like that, the actor explained that while both she and Headey were "quite uncomfortable about it," she never felt her life was actually in danger, "so you just get on with it and do it. It made wicked telly." 

It did indeed made "wicked telly," but it was her turn as the formidable Rebecca Welton — in a show that, truly, could not be less comparable to "Game of Thrones" — that finally earned her the recognition she deserved.