I Crave This Man’s Disapproval

Sir Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten in The Crown, looking disapproving. Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Here is how I picture it happening. I walk into some sort of grand room, one with gilt mirrors, a working fireplace, brocade curtains so heavy it takes three people to haul them open in the morning. At one end of the room is me, my hands hanging limply by my side. At the other is Charles Dance, 73, star of Game of Thrones, The Crown, and other shows about noble people who take out their unresolved daddy issues on the proletariat. We face each other, and after a moment of tense silence, he looks down his long nose at me, takes a deep breath, and with a voice that sounds like a waterfall of Earl Grey tea crashing down on Buckingham Palace, says: “I’m disappointed in you.” I am crushed. I am thrilled. This is everything I’ve ever wanted.

I crave Charles Dance’s disapproval, you see. Not for any dark, psychosexual reason, but because there is simply no one better at being disapproving. To be scorned by Charles Dance would be like getting dunked on by Michael Jordan, getting beat out for an Oscar by Meryl Streep, attending a garden party hosted by Ina Garten. It would be to experience the pure, overwhelming beauty of seeing someone do the thing they do better than anyone else in the whole world.

Whenever Dance appears onscreen, you can be certain of two things: (1) he is in charge, and (2) he is not happy with the people around him. Most recently, he’s looked authoritative and disapproving on Netflix’s The Crown. As Lord Mountbatten, he disapproves of Harold Wilson’s Labour government and dabbles with the idea of launching a coup. He also disapproves of Prince Charles falling in love with Camilla Shand (and this is even before Charles said he wanted to be her tampon.)

Before that, Dance was authoritative and disapproving on Game of Thrones, where he played Tywin Lannister, the blond head of the blond House Lannister, a savvy, ruthless ruler whose first two children were incestuous, and whose third killed him. Here is a clip of him disemboweling a boar, and talking down to his son Jaime (pre-bowl cut.)

And before you say, so what, all old, wealthy noblemen probably have a superiority complex, Dance can also be scornful and in charge as a commoner. Like in the movie Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which I recently watched on a plane, and in which Dance plays a villain in charge of a group of eco-terrorists who want monsters like Godzilla to kill off large swaths of humanity. He’s not a nobleman, but he’s still in charge, and still disappointed in all of humanity, as well as most large lizards. A man sharing his preternatural gift of disdain with the world … how lovely.

In conclusion, I hope Charles Dance reads this, and I hope he disapproves of it. What a treat that would be.

I Crave This Man’s Disapproval