An ode to Game Of Thrones icon Lady Olenna Tyrell as Dame Diana Rigg dies

Today it was confirmed screen legend Dame Diana Rigg, known for her iconic roles in The Avengers and Game Of Thrones, had died at the age of 82.

Her agent Simon Beresford said in a statement today she died six months after being diagnosed with cancer.

He said: ‘It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Dame Diana Rigg died peacefully early this morning. She was at home with her family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time. Dame Diana was an icon of theatre, film, and television.

‘She was the recipient of Bafta, Emmy, Tony and Evening Standard Awards for her work on stage and screen. Dame Diana was a much loved and admired member of her profession, a force of nature who loved her work and her fellow actors. She will be greatly missed.’

The star was one of the UK’s most accomplished actresses, establishing a successful career on stage and on the small and big screens since her debut in 1957 – however her role as Lady Olenne Martell, aka the Queen of Thorns, was one of pure boss magic.

Who was Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones?

Dame Diana played Lady Olenna Tyrell, the matriarch of the Tyrell dynasty and, arguably, the sassiest character in Game Of Thrones.

Olenna Tyrell owned that series, don’t deny it, giving us one of the most consistently excellent characters, in a cacophony of company that was eyeing up the iron throne in such dramatic and pathetically desperate ways.

We mean, she called the thing ‘the ugly iron chair’, for Pete’s sake.

Our Lady Tyrell instead used her cunning and wit in which to position her family in its midst – such as marrying off her granddaughter Margaery Tyrell (played by Natalie Dormer) to Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson).

In a series that was bookmarked by war, blood and beheadings, with nearly everyone we ever loved feeling the swift brush of steel on their neck at some stage in the series (or meeting just as equally grim demise), Olenna was our saviour.

We’re first introduced to the icon in season three, along with Margaery, as they arrive in King’s Landing and quiz Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) on the true cruelty of Joffrey.

From there, we immediately fell in love with the snappy granny, and her lemon cakes, as she delivered some sucker punches with her words.

Flying a flag for feminism, she once told Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke): ‘I’ve known a great number of clever men. I’ve outlived them all. You know how? I ignored them.’

Oh, and that time she killed Joffrey. Don’t forget that time she killed Joffrey.

At his wedding to Margaery, she showed us her true brilliant colours in admitting to ‘doing what needed to be done’ – and, in turn, giving us one of the most satisfying scenes in Game Of Thrones history.

She told her granddaughter after the fact: ‘You don’t think I’d let you marry that beast, do you? Shh, don’t you worry yourself about all that. You just do what needs to be done.’

The lady proved she was incredibly progressive within the stuffy aristocracy of Westeros when it was proposed her gay grandson Loras (Finn Jones) marries Cersei (Lena Headey) – goading Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), she probed of him experimenting with men: ‘Not once, not in any way?’

Lady Tyrell provided us with many a brilliant catchphrase and glare, however no moment (perhaps of all) will be remembered so brilliantly and vividly than her outgoing monologue as she prepared to die in season seven episode, The Queen’s Justice.

Met by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) at Highgarden, as his soldiers plundered her castle in a takeover, Lady Tyrell had accepted her fate – and was allowed a painless and quick exit by agreeing to drink poison.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=lcav6vJZbbo%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

Not going down without lending the lad some home truths, she said what we were all thinking about ol’ mate Joffrey for seasons, as she began: ‘That was Joffery’s sword, wasn’t it? Not that he ever used it. What did he call it?’

As Jaime confirmed its name as ‘Widow’s Wail,’ Olenna quipped: ‘He really was a c**t, wasn’t he?’

However she kicked one final blow as she let Jaime know in no uncertain terms she knew he was the biological father of his nephew Joffrey before admitting to killing him in a moment that went down in Game Of Thrones history.

‘I’d hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood-red, skin purple,’ she told Jaime, who was looking on with increasing shock. ‘Must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father.’

She went on: ‘It was horrible enough for me, a shocking scene.

‘Not at all what I intended.

‘You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.’

And finally: ‘Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.’

And a million memes were born among our cheers.

Here’s to you Lady Olenna Tyrell, and Dame Diana Rigg.

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