Nikolaj Coster-WaLdau: Indomitable

Helping stave off the advance of the White Walkers who threatens the North, Jamie Lannister promises a very satisfying end to the Game of Thrones saga which is now approaching its grand finale.

Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who earlier this year received an Emmy for his role as knight of the King’s Guard, refuses to lift the veil that covers the seven kingdoms as they prepare for the ultimate clash of civilisations.

Off-screen, Coster-Waldau has teamed up with Google to map the impact of global warming on Greenland, using Street View to create awareness of global warming and its devastating effects on the environment. He has written frontline reports for National Geographic from the Arctic wilderness to show how even one- or two-tenths of a degree changes nature and devastates the livelihoods of all who depend on it.

Coster-Waldau also filed a series of reports from the Maldives which, at its highest point, rises just 2.4m above the surface of the Indian Ocean. In his writings, Coster-Waldau details the interaction between Greenland’s melting icecap and the rising sea level which may submerge a number of small island-nations, or expose them to tidal waves. Coster-Waldau notes and emphasises that without climate action, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated to end world poverty are, essentially, meaningless: “Fighting climate change is a key piece of the entire puzzle without which it cannot be completed.”

As UNDP goodwill ambassador, the Danish actor and playwright has consistently tried to raise public awareness about global warming and urges governments and civil society to act decisively in the implementation of the 2015 Paris Accords. Coster-Waldau sees in the existentialist threat a way to unify the global community, and argues that a collective and concerted approach may come to bridge differences that often cause strife.

The actor has also been closely involved with the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative which aims to eradicate violence against girls and women. A father to two girls, Coster-Waldau is a passionate believer in gender equality. Leveraging his fame to become an agent of change, the actor is sure that he can help make a difference. The Spotlight Initiative received $500m to launch a sustained drive, and deploy the full power of its twin backers, to end all forms of gender discrimination and violence. To accomplish this, the initiative helps countries to strengthen legislative frameworks and to adopt policies that promote gender equality, and thus facilitate the implementation of a number of SDGs.
Starring in the soon-to-be-released crime-thriller Domino – which marks the return to the silver screen of director Brian De Palma after an absence of almost six years – Coster-Waldau continues to craft the extraordinary career which started with Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Copenhagen and developed into a Hollywood fairy tale. Stateside, Coster-Waldau got his first break from director Ridley Scott, who invited him to a role in his epic Black Hawk Down movie. However, the Danish actor became a household name only after appearing in HBO’s Game of Thrones, one of the best-watched series/franchises of all time.

In September, Coster-Waldau joined the Pathway To Paris concert at The Masonic in San Francisco, which crowned the Global Climate Action Summit that explored the role cities can play in the fight against global warming. The concert in San Francisco was the fourth of its kind: a renewed call to action by artists, thinkers, civic leaders, and other stakeholders. Coster-Waldau is a firm backer of the 1,000 Cities initiative that seeks ways to wean urbanites off fossil fuels.

As fans eagerly await the release of the last six Game Of Thrones episodes, the world is busy speculating on Jamie Lannister’s fate. Will he be served up as lunch for a dragon or ride off into the sunset after the ice wall has fallen? Notwithstanding the self-destructing scripts handed to the actors, and the cloak of secrecy spun by the producers, a few spoilers have recently surfaced. From the million-dollar-plus payments he received for each of the remaining instalments, it would appear that Jamie Lannister somehow manages to escape the dragons to the very end. He just may live to fight another day.

Just as he does this side of Westeros.


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