The White Queen episode (1×09) “The Princess in the Tower” – TVAD Award Revealed
She’s a rising star – and she deserves a TVAD Award!
Very rarely does a character come into a series at such a late juncture and make an impact, let alone win prestigious awards such as this one. Usually these characters, and the actors behind them, either slip into obscurity or simply don’t get remembered, but Skins actress Freya Mavor, as Princess Lizzie, does not let that happen. She is perfectly cast as Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter in terms of looks, and a perfect equal of Rebecca Ferguson in terms of performance. This week, the TVAD Award for Best Performance goes to The White Queen’s Freya Mavor!
“No one ever mentions the boys in the tower… or their mother…”
No one ever mentions Princess Lizzie either, but that doesn’t mean she is of no worth. It is unsurprising that if you give great actors great stories and great, atmospheric sets like the tower, then the performances get even better. That is what happens with Mavor, in that shadowy cavernous tower. She, with the right amount of strength and shaky self-consciousness, gives her mother a wake-up call, and flounces off into the shadows. This is a Princess who is assertive, preparing to fill her mother’s shoes, and trying to ring in a new era. Mavor is both winningly hedonistic and reliably robust.
It’s not going well for this royal family, but Mavor strives on the anguish. “And you trust,” she pauses, “your newfound friends mother?” she begins, her voice low and hollow, with her eyes weighed down by not-yet-burst tears. “Who suddenly flock to rescue the boys and yet don’t quite succeed? Because all,” another small gasp, “of them feast quite merrily at Uncle Richard’s table.” It’s an emotional, quivering performance with a sting as Lizzie acts again as the voice of reason and realization for her mother. Mavor is one of those young actresses who is capable of summoning the authority of a performer twice her age, or more. She puts down her mother but not in a rude, blithe way – in an honest way.
In the next scene she features in, she opts for a joking disbelief, which is a lovely and refreshing change. No other actor in this episode have expressed the same emotion in different scenes in different ways. Then she turns towards a real scathing fury: “You want the throne, but do you even have a boy to put on it?” You have a girl to put on it! The masterful Lizzie! (What do you mean, it doesn’t work like that…?) Those lovely big eyes seem to pierce her mother’s delusions.
The final sequence in which both the Elizabeths curse but the waterside is a lovely way to tie up the tensions between mother and daughter throughout the episode, with Mavor softening dutifully. It also comes full circle from that mother-daughter cursing we saw way back in episode one… but Lizzie doesn’t want the crown! It’s not the biggest cliffhanger for episode nine, but Mavor makes it excellent.
In true Medieval style, the girls – namely Lizzie, forget the other ones! – are given little screen-time. It is all the more impressive, then, that Freya Mavor really does impress this week and next. But has she done enough to earn the TVAD Award two weeks running? Or is there a more deserving performer destined for the accolade for the grand finale of The White Queen…?
Season Finale of The White Queen “The Final Battle” airs Saturday, OCT 19 at 9|8c on Starz