Casting Speculation

You know nothing, Jon Snow

It is time, yet again, for another casting post. This time, we’re going to focus on everyone’s favorite bastard, Jon Snow. This is a great spot to cast a young, up-and-coming actor. Someone who the producers think is ready for a breakout role. Jon is probably as close as you will get to a main character in A Song of Ice and Fire and casting a young actor who can handle the role is crucial. Let’s take a look at some of the names being mentioned as possible candidates.

Ben Barnes – Barnes has already had his break out role, he plays Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia film series. It is possible that HBO may want to capitalize on his stardom by casting him as Jon. His schedule, however, may present a problem with two more Narnia movies on tap. He also may be too much of a “pretty boy” to play Jon. I think he would have been a decent choice, if he had not landed the role of Prince Caspian, but now I think he may be too big a star.
Ben Whishaw – An actor that started in theater and has since moved to television and film, Whishaw is most known for his roles in I’m Not There and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. In my opinion, he looks the part and he isn’t a star by any means so he would fit criteria of “up-and-coming actor.” Being the oldest actor on this list though may hurt his chances. Even with them aging up the characters and the fact that he looks younger than he is, I think he may be too old for the role of Jon.
Jamie Bell – Bell’s breakthrough came in the form of the titular role in Billy Elliott. Since then he has developed an impressive list of credits with roles in King Kong, Flags of our Fathers, Jumper and Defiance. I think he has the right look and he is a talented actor. Despite being in a number of big movies, he isn’t a household name. He could be a good fit for a role such as this. The question is whether he is actually willing to give up what looks to be a promising film career.
Nicholas Hoult – Probably most well known for his role in About A Boy, he has since grown up and just finished starring in a two-season run of the popular British television series Skins. He seems to be one of those young actors poised for a breakout role. He has the right look and his schedule seems to be open for now. He also would be just about the perfect age for Jon, assuming they are aging him up to be around 17-18 years old at the start of Game of Thrones. I think he would be a great fit.

I think Jon is going to be one of the easier roles to fill in this production. Certainly there are plenty of talented young actors looking to breakout and a starring role on a potential HBO series would be a great place to do it. It could be a complete unknown cast in the role. That won’t stop us from speculating about the possibilities though!


  • I really don’t know what to think of this aging-up thing. I can understand it with Daenerys, to censor all the sex-scenes, but why the Starks? They don’t fuck around, so why aging them up, too? They are cool as they are, and I see no reason to do so. But perhaps someone has an argument that convinces me…? ^^

  • Arya killing people at about 8-9 is a pretty compelling argument for older actors… The fact that we need kids whose looks wont change that much in the next 4-5 years is another… remember a series is shot per season, and if we start with a 8 year-old in a couple of seasons she would be looking much older than her character should be… Also, we want actors that can deliver good performances… really young children tend to be very “charicaturish” when acting… that would suck…

    And if they age Dany and dont age Jon, that will look like shit when the storylines merge…

  • Another things to consider with aging up, in general fans of fantasy are often willing to accept young people doing things kids today wouldn’t be considered mature enough to do, because “in the old days” kids grew up faster. But if you are trying to sell a TV show to a broader audience, many people just won’t buy kids that young doing the things that they do. It’ll be too much suspension of disbelief and they’ll tune out.

  • I think Aria killing some one at that age is what shocking and makes a good story. I mean who gives a shit if an 18 year old kills some one. Its been done OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I think it can be beliveable the way she kills him. Its not like she fights she basicly tricks the guy into getting his throat slit, that and with all the shit she went through, I can see how she could be a killer. With that being said, I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make a good John Snow and if they need some one older I think Steven Strait looks the part. Sure hes American, but if a Brit can fake an American accent im sure an American can fake a Brits accent as well.

  • It’s funny, I dont know much about any of these actors…but the final photo of the over-pretty Nicholas Hoult with that smirk on his face, is about exactly how I have imagined Joffrey would look…if maybe a bit younger…

    just my opinion, great blog by the way, congrats…

  • Firstly, congrats on a great blog, keep it up!

    I think all but Nicholas Hoult could play a good Jon. Yeah, Nicholas has the look, but he’s not the greatest actor, and to put it bluntly I don’t think he’s got the balls to be a good Jon Snow, too clean cut imo :)

  • No, Ben Barnes is Robb! He is too wholesome and handsome to be the brooding Jon, but he would make a great Robb. But he is probably beyond budget for the series anyhoo

    Hoult looks really like the Jon I have imagined, slim and smart and potentially dangerous.

    Joffrey should be weaker in character and look it.

  • One thing to remember about the ages is that GRRM planned a huge time skip in the middle of the series which would have aged people around 5 years.

    So if they start older in the series they’ll be more likely to finish around the age they were originally supposed to.

    Granted at the rate main characters die it might not be that relevant but the fact he wanted the time skip to age characters shows that maybe he is leaning more towards older chars now and if he had the book to do again it might be that a lot of the chars would actually start out older.

  • Personally, I think it’s a good idea that they are aging up the characters. From a practical, business perspective and from a story-line perspective it makes sense. I don’t see what the big fuss is.

    I agree that Ben Barnes would make a good Robb, and Hoult would make a good Joffrey. My choice of the remaining people for Jon Snow would be Ben Whishaw, but I really think that there should be more options for Snow.

  • Also agreeing with the aging up characters. We’re so used to it anyway, with 20-somethings playing high-schoolers and such. It’s much more of an on paper problem than an actual one. Also, older actors means better acting (as João Marcelo above mentioned), and I think that’s a bigger issue than ‘his face doesn’t look right’.

    Can’t say much about the the picks, as I haven’t seen many of them act. Hoult wood be good for Joffrey though.

  • @Anon RE: Steven Strait & Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    Steven Strait might be too old at 22, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is definitely too old at 27. Even with aging-up he still has to be young; I'm speculating he needs to be able to pass for 16-18 years old.

  • I cant believe people are even considering Ben Barnes. You guys are scaring me to shit with all these horrible suggestions. This series will be on the line with The Wire, Deadwood and Rome. Therefore I bet most actors will be pretty unknown, but as the other series among the god damned best actors out there.As Jon Snow is 14 when the series starts I think the actor should be around 18, but NOT 27 like Ben Barnes. – Thommesen

  • Obviously the age is off the chart wrong but from the moment I came across Joffry he has been Peter Hanley as Prince Edward in Braveheart. That said, Nicholas Hoult certainly looks like he could fit the part.

  • Regarding Ben Barnes, like I said, I just think he is too old and too “pretty” to be Jon. If I had to cast him as someone I would probably say Renly. Renly might actually work well since it wouldn’t be a huge time commitment.

    I hadn’t considered Hoult as Joffrey but I have to agree that he does look like a petulant spoiled brat in the headshot I posted. So it could work. Either way, I can’t speak to his acting ability since I haven’t seen him act but he seems like the type of actor that would be cast in this project.

  • I have actually seen “Skins”, a british series where Hoult plays one of the main characters. The show was kind his resurrection to being an actor after his infamous role in About a boy. I was utterly stunned to see that he was in fact one of the most brilliant young actor I have seen. It is unfortunely highly unlikely that they would cast someone as famous in his role. Lets face the fact- a famous actor would not be given a role of one of the lead characters in a series planned to along 7 seasons long. If it were me, I would give the most profiled name the Ned Stark gig. He is the “main” character and would only play about 2/3 of the first season. -Thommesen

  • Ben Barnes would not make a good Rob, in the book has light hair where Jon is dark, maybe Arshasa should read the books again…

  • They should cast a Jon that can be a credible Commander of the Night’s Watch. Not someone that looks like the kid the 16 year old character would be.

  • They can’t use Nicholas Hoult, Jon is supposed to be solemn face and a bit grim. He looks like a girly elf :)

  • Is it me or is that casting question proving the most contentious on this blog?

    I reckon that is because we all have different ideas on what he is like. To me he is handsome but unconventionally so, arrogant looking but with the ability to look completely lost and vulnerable and above all I have to believe he can be a loner. He has to be able to look hard as nails and isolated yet still decorative. If I have all of these ideas I am sure everyone else has a whole other set of criteria important to them as readers.
    To have to convince all of us…it so aint gonna happen!

    Of the four, my vote would be with Hoult – pretty but damaged!

  • I would like to see Jamie Bell get this part. He was fantastic as a lad in Billy Elliot. He has that rugged defiant look but soft and ignorant looking.

  • I don’t know anything about these actors, but Ben Whishaw looks the most like Jon Snow to me in those pictures.
    As for the aging up of some characters, its probably a practical matter.
    Time will pass in the real world at a different rate than in Westeros.
    You never know how a young actor will change in adolescence.Look at Walt on Lost as an example.
    Which is a shame,one of the most compelling aspects of Aria is the tender age at which she goes through her ordeals.

  • I definitely agree with what an anon said up there: Hoult in that picture, with the smirk and his eyes, looks more like a Joffrey than a Jon Snow. :/ When I think of Jon Snow, I think of someone less “pretty” and more “classicly handsome” (also, with a long face, because that’s been emphasized so many times).

  • I always pictured Lucas Black as Jon Snow. He’s too old now and his accent is all wrong but he’s athletic and not too pretty. I can’t picture any of these guys picking up Aliser Thorne one-handed.

  • My top 3 for Jon Snow are:
    1. Liam Aiken – He was awesome in Henry Fool, Fay Grim, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
    2. Erik Knudsen – His performance in Jericho as the outcast boy, Dale, made me think he'd make a great Jon Snow. Seeing him in Saw II makes me think he could handle the more intense scenes as well.
    3. Justin Berfield – I enjoyed watching him in Unhappily Ever After and Malcolm in the Middle. While he may be a little old, he definitely could deliver.

  • Hans Matheson looks exactly like the painting at the top (is it a Michael Komarck image?), so if your going for looks and talent, Mr Matheson is Jon Snow. Unfortunatly I think he’s a bit too old to play the role since he’s 33… But you have to look at his picture and the Kormarck image, it’s freaky.

  • I have read that Disney is not going to go ahead with the 3rd movie of Narnia, so there might be a possiblity the Ben Barnes may have a shot for the role of Jon

  • What about South African actor Daniel Bonjour? He plays the hero in “Dragonquest” which is imo a cheesy movie, but he was good. He has the right look and age.