Wolves out; new cast member in

GRRM posted a quick update on his Not A Blog today letting us know that those Norwegian wolves will not be used for Game of Thrones due to UK laws. Also one of the two remaining major roles (Bran, Drogo) has been cast.

One Down, One to Go

Major roles, that is.

Still waiting for deals to make (or not) on some of the supporting roles.

No, HBO will not be using those Norwegian wolves everyone has been emailing me about. They look like very nice wolves, but UK laws make it impossible.

Winter Is Coming: Kind of confused as to how UK laws can make the use of those wolves impossible. Weren’t they sent to the UK specifically for use in UK film and TV productions? Well at the very least, we know those specific wolves won’t be used for the show. Whether it is due to UK laws or not is, at this point, irrelevant. Also good to hear another major role has been cast. I suspect once the last major role gets filled is when we will get our final casting announcement. Assuming HBO doesn’t give it to someone for an exclusive announcement first!


  • okay, tied for first. Anyway, the wolves looked perfect, shame about not using them. And my suspicion is that the role filled is Drogo, not Bran. GRRM has said that he is the toughest character to (write, yes but to) cast as well. So…

  • A LiveJournal user on GRRM's blog talked about speaking to someone who was up for Drogo. I sent them a link to this board off-thread in case they were interested in sharing their story.

  • GRRM's latest post:

    Little Brother…

    Sep. 25th, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    … was the great betrayer.

    … worked at a tobacco factory.

    … is a novel by Cory Doctorow that was nominated for the Hugo, but that doesn't count.

    … was the great betrayed.

    … never went to space, but has been in freefall.

    Just sayin'
    Mood: mischievous

  • From Tower of the Hand:

    Benjen Stark – Younger brother of Eddard Stark and First Ranger of the Night's Watch.

    Just sayin', because Bran is most likely an unknown.

  • Hmm, I feel like this new set of clues is about Bran, with free fall and all.

    As for the wolves, I'm definitely not into CGI-vs-real debate, my only concern is that big movies like Day After Tomorrow had really bad wolves, so I'm only hoping direwolves won't be too cheesy

  • YAY! More clues!

    …"has been in freefall" a reference to Bran falling? That's all I've got so far.

    Wondering what the great betrayer/betrayed is all about.

  • @The rabbit
    Bran was my first thought, too, but, yeah, Paul's probably right.

    Am I the only one thinking a little about the Valonqar? Almost certainly nothing to do with that, but it does come to mind.

  • "One down, one to go"
    I don't think GRRM would go out of the way to tell us that he means roles left.

    One down…fall down…Bran

  • Also, a google search on "tobacco factory" seems to bring up a venue in Bristol where there was a recent performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

    Julius Caesar… Brutus… the great betrayer?!?

  • Just noticed that Joseph Mawle (mentioned above) was not only Jesus, but also played in the Freefall movie that Paul linked to above.

  • I was thinking maybe Asa Butterfield as Bran – he played Mordred in Merlin, which would fit with the great betrayer, but I can't get the rest to fit.

  • It's the dude who played the Paedophile is some show I saw the other week.

    Is Benjen considered a major character?

    I though GRRM was saying just the other day he considered the major left over characters to be Bran and Drogo?

    Clue wise, Joseph Mawle is spot on.

  • Contest over, folks:

    was the great betrayer: Judas

    worked at a tobacco factory: playing Troilus for Shakespeare at The Tobacco factory

    is a novel by Cory Doctorow that was nominated for the Hugo, but that doesn't count. (Read herring about the novel entitled "Little Brother")

    was the great betrayed: Jesus

    never went to space, but has been in freefall: Was in the movie "Freefall."

  • Ooooh, this is him?? I've seen seen him on HBO just the other day, in this Jesus Christ mini series. Loved him, he was wonderful!

  • I'm going to say it is Joseph Mawle, but i'm going to be outside the box and say he's an odd choice for Drogo.

    Simply because it says one of the two major – and GRRM said Bran and Drogo were the last two major a few of his not a blog postings ago

  • Yeah, I was looking for a Judas connection (but only saw Jesus on imdb). Now that I know he was Judas AND Jesus, I definitely agree that it's him.

    Also, just got to point out that I was the first person to mention the Tobacco Factory as a theatre venue. ;)

  • I though GRRM was saying just the other day he considered the major left over characters to be Bran and Drogo? Clue wise, Joseph Mawle is spot on. […] Simply because it says one of the two major – and GRRM said Bran and Drogo were the last two major a few of his not a blog postings ago.
    Perhaps GRRM was referring to one of the supporting roles that he was still waiting "for deals to make (or not) on some of the supporting roles." He never really specified if those clues referred to one of the major roles. Mawle as Drogo seems like an odd choice, though. I think he'd be better for Benjen.

  • Looks like it, Paul. Nice! 98% sure Joseph Mawle is Benjen Stark.

    Never considered Benjen a "major" role, but I don't think GRRM's first post necessarily has anything to do with his second… which means either Bran or Drogo is also cast. I'm guessing Bran because of the school crunch. And kids with no credits to their name are harder than anything to drop clues on.

    In my mind those were too many clues for this "Freefall" role to be a kid.

  • @Paul
    I think you are right.
    Awesome deduction!

    And yes, Benjen is not a major role, but we know that two supporting roles has been cas all ready.
    And one of them was Benjen.

  • The name of the previous post is 'one down, one to go' – I assumed he meant of the two major roles that he had identified as being the hard ones to cast.

    Could be wrong, obviously, guy would certainly make a better Benjen than Drogo by his looks, but that doesn't mean anything obviously.

  • Legion, here's the thing. There's no reason to assume that the role that was just cast is the role that GRRM just gave us a hint about.

    My guess is that either Bran or Drogo was cast today, and GRRM threw us a bone by letting us know who Benjen is.

  • Ah, the little brother name post.

    Intersting that he says one of the major has been cast then throws us a bone on a side character.

    Still, well done there Paul, that was fast.

    GRRM will not like this. Next clue set, if we get any, will be random as anything I bet!

  • GRRM will not like this. Next clue set, if we get any, will be random as anything I bet!
    I think people are up for the challenge. Although, I am surprised at how quickly it took the fans to guess accurately especially after when GRRM said he was trying to make the clues harder. I guess his geeky fanbase is just that good. ;)

  • I got caught looking at a 1994 film called Freefall that had Julia Robert's brother, Eric in it and thus went down the complete wrong path trying to make him fit the clues!!!

  • Do you remember, when GRRM wrote this:

    "Roles still to be filled for the pilot include Bran, Jory, Hullen, Jeyne Poole, Septa Mordane, Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrik, Grand Maester Pycelle, Khal Drogo, Magister Illyrio, and the threesome from the prologue, Gared, Will, and Waymar Royce.
    And the ever-popular Red-Headed Whore and Nameless Eunuch.
    Rickon, Tommen, Myrcella, and Beth will be non-speaking parts."

    It doesn't include Benjen… Hmm.

  • You can find Joseph Mawle in a show called 'Clapham Junction' on youtube.

    He does play a guy who gets himself…..well, who decides it'll be a good idea to let a 14year old boy… things to him…..

    Probably best looking for him as Jebus instead if you don't want to watch a show that has that in it!

  • @Em

    Good find. Alfie Allen was a big fan of The Wire, according to that article, which makes him infinitely cooler in my view. Or at least it means he has good taste in television. I can't imagine already respecting Tom McCarthy is any sort of negative. I'm stoked.

    Hm, two of our Game of Thrones stars were in that Freefall movie. Looks like a must-see for me.

  • On his blog, two weeks ago Martin wrote this:
    D&D have cast one more role and have an offer out to a wonderful actor on another.

    I say, that a wonderful actor refers to Mawle.

  • @Tina: Ooh, good point.

    @About Yea High: "which makes him infinitely cooler in my view. Or at least it means he has good taste in television." I've started watching The Wire, and seeing how it lives up to my expectations (making it an immediate favorite of mine), I agree. It's nice to get good vibes from the cast, like this and other instances, i.e. Kit Harington enthusiastically reading ASoIaF.

    "Hm, two of our Game of Thrones stars were in that Freefall movie. Looks like a must-see for me."
    A nice way to pass the waiting time for ADwD and GoT in between school/work…

    @Brude: "Could easily be Bean's little bro."
    It's the nose. ;)

  • I've never seen Mawle act, but I've heard good things about his acting, so I'm satisfied. If he is Benjen (I'm 98.8% sure), I'm all on board, because a) there are physical similarities between him and Bean, and b) Mawle looks similar to how I imagined Benjen Stark.

  • Continuing on the Alfie Allen note, in my browsing I found this little amusing song and video by Lily Allen, Alfie's sister:


    Well, at least Alfie has a job now.

    The bad news is I can't get that song out of my head now.

  • I've never watched the music video "Alfie" all the way through before. Back then, I watched as far as when I first saw the puppet.

    But LOL! I wonder how much Alfie Allen got teased after that video was released. Aside from acting with Mawle in Freefall, Allen is also a "little brother." ;)

  • To get away from Joseph Mawle, and on to the wolves comment in the OP – if normal quarantine rules are followed, the Norwegian wolves will have to be in quarantine for six months after they arrive in the country, so they won't be available to shoot the pilot in October.

  • I got out for a few hours and i miss a clue…oh well, If you guys are correct I'm in for this guy. He looks like a stark, seems talented from the clips i've seen, I think we're good.

  • @Maltaran

    Yeah, said this to people in the wolf thread, but excitement got the better of people and they kinda ignored it.

    I want more clues.

    Harder ones.

    Someone tell GRRM.

  • @Legion

    No, no..GRRM cares for mental health of his fans.

    One more Gorgo – Miyagi thing, and I will go crazy for sure…
    at least, I admit, it is amuzing.

  • Lol, I loved those hard clues.

    When it's just a google chase it's less fun, but I am still seriously awed by how fast Paul got Joseph Mawle. I think it was even faster than it took me to get Iain Glen.

  • @Legion

    I think that the world record holder in a discipline of breaking Martins clues is still that guy who brought here the link about The Hound being cast, and in his very next post, he said it was Rory.
    Almost unbeatteble record.

    I was just joking in my last post, I prefere also the hard clues..

  • Clue level I'd like to see- the Pat Morita "Wax on Wax off" for Cersei. One Legion would have figured out if we had had more than a day and a half (you are the history teacher, right?). Clue level I never want to see again- Not a Boney pop singer. Infamous among the WiC crowd for sending us down dozens if not hundreds of Red Brick roads.

  • Legion,

    If how things went after the quick turn-around on Rory are any indication, the next round may indeed be much more obscure.

    Still, that's not to say that these were super easy. It might seem easy now, because I solved it quickly, but I didn't just use Google. Some of it was intuition about the clues.

    I started with, "Maybe 'Freefall' is the name of a movie," looked at the one you looked at, but discounted it because the actors were mostly from the U.S. Then I looked at the one from the U.K., saw Joseph Mawle's picture in the cast list, said, "Hmmmm, he looks like he could play Bean's brother." That was mental leap number one. "Freefall" was just putting the name in IMDB, but looking at his face and thinking of family resemblances is all right-brain.

    I did more research and saw that he had played Jesus and thought, "That could be the 'Betrayed'," then wondered if that would mean Judas was "the betrayer" and looked for his name in connection with Judas. When I saw that he had played them both, I was sure.

    So, then I Googled "Joseph Mawle" and "Tobacco Factory" and got the last bit.

    If Joseph Mawle's picture hadn't been on the IMDB, or if I hadn't gone through eight years of parochial school, it would have taken a lot longer to find. If I hadn't had his name, the Tobacco Factory thing might have taken a lot longer too, but Lex had already thrown the idea of the theatre out.

    Still, I think I know what you're getting at. The "wax off" thing was the pinnacle of a multi-layer crazy-making clue and I think a stroke of genius on GRRM's part.

  • Amazing how fast you people are … I missed the post, and now I can read it together with all the answers to the clues, hehe. Well done.

    I love the comparison pictures, Brude. A brother from another mother, indeed.

  • I might have got the wax off thing eventually, I think I was the one who explained what it meant eventually, but after the annoucement of Heady.

    Paul, I didn't mean to imply that all you did was a bit of googling, sorry if you thought that.

    I only went with Eric Roberts because he's an awesome character actor and can do an English accent. i didn't even think of looking beyond that film, as I thought maybe the little brother thing was looking at him and Julia, I got caught in the moment there as, frankly, he wouldn't have fit anyone.

    Let us hope we get something a bit more meaty next time, if for nothing else than I like the crazy guesses people make while we all try and figure it out!

  • I'm going through the last couple of minor updates … disregarding the offers made but not closed yet (about some of which GRRM is excited, sounds promissing), they have casted 2 supporting ones (and dished out Pycelle, so one less), if I count correctly. One of these two (a safe assumption?) we now know is Benjen. This leaves one unknown minor role cast, and one of the pair Bran/Drogo, also unknown. Right?

  • Legion, not a big deal. Over at GRRM's blog there are a bunch of people saying that all you have to do is enter the clues into Google and you get his name, so it takes the thrill out of it a bit.

    I still have the satisfaction of knowing that I posted his name here about 45 minutes before the first "It's easy! All you have to do is google" comment was posted.

  • Marko, that sounds right to me as well.

    I'm really happy about Benjen! I didn't expect to hear about anyone new until the next big announcement.

  • Anyone else think they (HBO powers that be) gave GRRM a little more rope to be "mischevious" because the next (last?) cast announcement is eminent- maybe within a week?

  • I have a feeling that the major role cast was Bran, but the kid's probably another unknown which is why George hasn't done a clue about him.

  • Brienne, I do have that feeling. Brude, I really like that idea, too.

    I've got my fingers crossed that we'll get another set of clues in conjunction with the last major role getting cast.

  • Or, maybe…Martin recieved the news about Benjen being cast today, after the news about the major role…
    Just guessing, anyway.

  • Anyone else think they (HBO powers that be) gave GRRM a little more rope to be "mischevious" because the next (last?) cast announcement is eminent- maybe within a week?
    Yes, I like this idea.

    @Brude: Agreed.

    @Paul: You made it look easy to solve the clues, like the way a good professional would doing his work for his job. :)

  • way to crash Mawle's sight guys, hah.

    i would definately agree its him, clues fit perfectly. btw, there are some good interviews with him on youtube.

  • Drogo, Benjen, Bran…pfff. What it is really killing me is to find out who's been cast for the Nameless Eunuch. Clues, I want clues!!!

  • The Rabbit, you have a point. I've always leaned to Benjen already being cast because of the omission, but it could also have been the one filled on the 17th.

  • way to crash Mawle's sight guys, hah.
    LOL, I've trying to get access to his site since hours ago! I can't imagine Mawle being upset that his site was crashed because a huge fanbase was interested in him as an actor. He'll probably think it'd be worth doing if GoT has that big of a fanbase when it hasn't even started filming!

  • If there is going to be an announcement next week, I hope we get to hear who's playing the major role (Bran or Drogo), even if the actor is a complete unknown. If that's the case (and I imagine this is more likely with Bran's actor), I hope GRRM posts a photo. He probably will. I do wonder if they cast Rickon yet… That would complete Ryan's Stark Family compilation!

  • Think of the power! Piss off GRRM at your peril, actors! He'll drop a hint that you're a supporting character in GoT and shut your site DOWN!

  • @Paul
    I am pretty sure that was the case.
    Omission, was just an omission, GRRM probably forgot about him in his character listing.

    We have two solutions now – the major cast is played but totally unkonow actor, and that is why I think it is Bran.
    And second supporting role could be also unkonown actor /actress – maybe someone among other children..Jeyne, Tommen etc..

    Just guessing, of course

  • Does this mean that Benjen will defo be comin back into the series? If they have cast such a quality actor it must guarantee that he will be returning in a few years time, should the series last, maybe with black dead hands.

  • Mozart, I'm really hoping so.

    Then again, I'm hoping they'll be casting quality actors for every single role, whether they come back or not. HBO is good like that.

  • I actually find it a bit surprising that Mawle would do a role as small as Benjen. He seems to be an actor really on the rise, but he'll just have one or two episodes and just a single major scene in this.

    Perhaps he's just a huge fan of the books and was willing to do it as a kind of cameo – or maybe he's going to be coming back Season 4 (or later) in a big way and they knew they wanted someone who a) has the chops and experience to handle some big stuff that will be needed later, b) might well be a much bigger star by the time Season 4 rolls around and part of his contract is that he's committing to do the later season(s) when the time comes?

    It's curious, unless the role will become bigger eventually.

  • Don't forget the other roles in the pilot that have yet to be cast like Ser Waymar, Will, Jory, Hullen and Illyrio.

    There are still quite a few important re-curring people to go, any of who could be classed as supporting.

    Having an unknown Bran is more than likely. I wonder if Sue has heard anything, her sons profile page hits went up by thousands after she posted it.

  • Well done all, anyha. George must be ragin' though. He must have hoped this would have occupied us a little longer than it took to write the bloody clue.

    I've applied to be an extra today. They requested confident male horse-riders so I told them I regularly rid horses in my teens. In fact I had about 4 lessons and am gonna pay for a two week crash course in the equestrian centre close to my house.

  • @ legion

    I have been thinking the same thing! We've already figured out a new cast member, and yet we have no post about it at all.

    To be fair, when Winter saw GRRM's update about two roles being cast, the last thing he probably expected was that GRRM was about to write another post right away giving clues about a minor role.

  • Winter Is Coming is probably doing up a page for this as we speak.

    I agree with Brude – there is so much we still don't know about Benjen, how can we think his role is over? I don't think it's a cameo at all.

    Do we even know why he was sent to the Wall?

    If he's Coldhands, as many have opted, what does that mean? If he was killed by the Others, why would he be sentient rather than a regular wight … unless he has some other connection with them somehow.

    Benjen as – Meera Reed's "Young Wolf" – as a Others-sympathizing quasi-villain? Hm…

    Perhaps he made a tragic mistake in his youth and is now trying to set things right.

    Either way, I think his role only gets bigger.

  • I've always assumed Cold Hands was Benjen, and that he'll be like (and bonus points for anyone who gets this reference) Prince Grimskull and find that due to some over riding goodness in him, the evil of the Other's can't quite get him enough.

  • Do we even know why he was sent to the Wall?

    I think he chose that path. For the Starks, and probably many other Northern Houses, taking the Black is still an honorable and often desirable path and a calling. If you are a martial type, but still have that same sort of desire to dedicate your life to service, much like many who become Septons or Maesters choose, then the Nightswatch is your path.

    I suppose the same is true elsewhere too. I bet Waymar chose the Black and wasn't forced into it, too. The Royces are also a very ancient House. Bronze Yohn's armor supposedly dates back to the Age of Heroes. They too might have a long tradition of sending the younger sons, nephews and cousins off to honorable service at The Wall.

  • Benjen himself is not a 'major' role at all. But if he is Coldhands, then he becomes a bigger and more important role. Even if he isn't, but Benjen is still alive beyond the Wall, he could still reappear in ADWD and go on to play a major role in the final three books of the series.

    Remember that GRRM is thinking about the whole story when he judges characters as being 'major' or 'minor'. He has more info than the rest of us :-)

  • @ Scott

    dogs can nw travel into the country on a PETS pass, this allows them almost immediet entry as long as they have proper paperwork proving injections and rabies free status. Same for cats.

    However, wolves fall under the dangerous animals act, and thus they have to stay in qurantine for up to 6 months. Said this in the wolves thread, but, as I said earlier today, people were excited and ignored the practicalities.

    As for this talk of the actor signing on for Benjen maybe being told he could come back in a later series, I would presume that that would be both short sighted on his part if they manage to lock him in (imagine if he has to turn something down because he makes it really big between now and then) as well as short sighted on HBO's part – as anything could happen with the actor between now and then (weight gain, scandel, etc.).

    I suspect he's just taken a bit part because he's worked with HBO before, because he wants the exposure and because of the experience of working with the others in the show.

  • My guess is that Drogo has been cast and the actor playing him will be a guy named Serdar Orcin. He recently played the role of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was apparantly known as the Great Betrayer. Also the englih title of the movie he played that role in was called the Fall of Abdulhamit which would fit in with the free falling clue as well. I think the Hugo clue was just a red herring to give one of his writing buddies some mention. well that's my guess anyway.

  • Looks like great casting for Benjen. I'm a bit miffed and concerned that Bran has yet to be cast, though, since much of the story to come hinges on him.

  • A note from GRRM about the Direwolves:

    Do remember, all they're filming right now is the pilot. Except for the Dany scenes, all the action takes place in Winterfell, before and during King Robert's visit. The direwolves are all still very young.

    Should we get a series order, of course, we will need larger wolfish actors at some point.

    I believe the same point has been made by our illustrious members several times.


    The lack of communication by Sue could be an indication that Bran has been cast. If it had been Drogo, I imagine she would have come on say that she hadn't heard anything one way or another about Bran yet.

    This means that either:

    1) She's been busy. (Either with with her normal life or with callbacks or with contracts, depending on your level of speculation.)

    2) She's been told not to say anything. (Either because Fred's been cast, or because HBO hasn't decided on Bran yet and warned her not to say anything publicly if she wants him to be considered.)


  • I'd love it if he has been cast, the though that someone from our net presence being involved (good luck to Mozart as well). Fred's profile page hits went up by thousands this week, so who knows.

    'Tis pretty wild speculation though

  • Legion, yeah, I know.

    I'm not just blowing smoke when I try to warn folks about my craziness with this stuff. For every wild hit that turns out right, I've got tons of stray shots that ricochet into the crowd. It helps that I know it exists, but even so there are times when I really worry about throwing stuff out there.

  • I always found it curious that, in A Game of Thrones, the wolves grew from pup-sized (Tyrion's encounter with Jon and Ghost at the feast) to tear-out-an-assassin's-throat sized a week or so after the king and everyone else head south. Only four days pass between Bran's fall (which happens the morning after the feast) and the decision for the king's party to head south, so even if they move glacially after making the decision, we're still talking only a week's time.

    If George, Dan, and Dave have decided that only pups will be used in the pilot, I'm not sure what they plan to do about the sudden growth spurt between the pilot and episode two. I never imagined a puppy version of Summer tearing out that assassin's throat.

  • AYH – Very good point. Still, now that you mention it, a slightly smaller Summer doing that could really set the stage for just how dangerous they really are.

  • @Paul Gude, Raynette,

    Trust me that I trust those involved with this.

    Still, there's a large difference between a "pup" and a very young or adolescent wolf. If you have a puppy leaping up to tear out some dude's throat, you're going to have a snicker-worthy scene that will spawn a thousand and one after-episode quotes that won't quite be as awe-inspiring as "The things I do for love."

    "You made … a vampire Pomeranian? What the fuck! WHAT the FUCK!"

    Or worse,

    "He's got huge, sharp … he can leap about… look at the bones!"

    I'm gonna say they're smart enough NOT to do the killer puppy thing. But I'm curious what they'll do.

  • geez gude, i JUST got done adding mccann to my damn casting post, now i've gotta figure out how to make a nice one with MAWLE in it.

    and i'm pretty certain the LITTLE BROTHER post is independent of the ONE DOWN ONE TO GO post, since it's clearly stated there are offers out to supporting roles.

    curious what makes GRRM give clues for one role but not another (since he admitted one of the two major roles was cast). maybe it is more of a name actor? or maybe it was bran and he's an unknown with no clues being useful?

    just interesting is all.


    p.s. nice work paul!

  • @AYH

    would it be possible to

    1. have them grow scarily fast


    2. use passage of time to let the pups become juveniles?

    i don't think they can, but just wondering how they will accomplish. perhaps

    3. they aren't little pups when they are first found? ie, "these sure are large wolf pups." "these aren't wolves bran….. these are direwolves."



  • In case there was any doubt, I asked at GRRM's NotABlog whether he was saying that real wolves/wolfish dogs would be used as opposed to CGI. He replied "For the pilot, at least."

  • The timing of their growth works in the books. I'm gonna get hyper nerdy and work it out for you right here:

    Very soon after finding the pups, the Starks get the bird saying Robert is coming. Westeros is very big, from King's Landing to Winterfell is about 1500-1600 miles (I just measured it on the map). The pace of the King's party from KL to Winterfell was likely very slow due to a) it's size and b) Cersei's wheelhouse. So it probably creeped along pretty slowly. At best, it maybe made 20 or 25 miles a day, and that's really pushing it only because they were on the King's Road. At that rate it would take anywhere from 60 to 80 days to get from KL to Winterfell. (They might have only even covered closer to 15 miles/day, so we're talking more like 150 days travel in that case!) Subtract a couple of weeks for the flight time of the crow, and you're still looking at 6 to 10 weeks from the time they find the pups to the time Robert arrives at Winterfell.

    Remember, by that point Ghost is already grown enough that he's hanging out under the trestles in the Great Hall eating scraps. He's no longer a tiny pup at all.

    Now, going back to King's Landing again (after maybe a week or so in Winterfell), it's going to take them 45 – 60 days to get to the Ruby Ford, which is about 1100 or 1200 miles from Winterfell (or up to 80 days if they creep along at only 15 mi/hr). So we are talking anywhere from 95 to 130 days from the time they find the pups to the incident at the Ruby Ford with Nymeria if we assume the faster paces of 20 – 25 mph, or as much as 220 days if we choose the slower (I think most realistic) speed. That's either 3 to 4 months at best, or more than 7 months at worst.

    Those pups would not be pups anymore, at all by the time they reach the Ruby Ford.

  • Great work on both fronts Brude and Crystal.

    I'm feeling really good about the direwolves tonight.

    Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

  • @Everybody

    I think you are just missing the fact that we are dealinig here with the fantasy fiction and no-real life wolf-puppies.

    I always imagine them much bigger (even in first scene) than real life wolf or dog puppy.
    For examples, I had a german sheppard, and I got her as a puppy, it took her to about several months to reach the size of a juvenile dog.

    I wish you all good night in North America..the european watch begins now lol
    Keep you informed!

  • Right rabbit, the dire wolves are bigger than any dog or even wolf would be their same age. Realize, a normal full grown dire wolf in the real world was in the 150 pound range and the largest modern wolves on record are in the 180 pound range.

    But the dire wolves in the books grow as big as ponys, which means anywhere from 500 to 1000 pounds! Now, just upsize their pups accordingly and you'll get the idea.

  • @Brude,

    Yes, the most importnat thing for the direwolves in the series is the capacity that they can "produce" the image and feel of fear and power to the audience.
    Remeber the first scene with them and reaction of Hullen (was it him ?) to them.
    The guy was terrified.
    I mean, the sweet, little pup can not terrife anyone (unless you are not obssessivly afraid of dogs)

  • My thoughts aren't so much for the logic in the books, which has been established before on the Westeros boards (by Brude, actually, I think) but for the eyes of a new viewer.

    If the series shows us A. small furry pups at the Dead Mama Direwolf site, then B. slightly larger quasi-pups at the feast / Bran's fall, then C. adolescent wolves by the time Ruby Ford is reached, then that's fine.

    In fact, the growth of the wolves could actually help to show the passage of time (since this world doesn't have regular seasons).

    However, Bran's assassination attempt does not coincide with the Ruby Ford. A Game of Thrones has "Ned and the girls eight days gone…" when our infamous dagger man comes calling. So Summer would be closer to Ghost-at-the-feast in size. Maybe the size of a very small coyote.

    I'm still saying they'll make it believable. But it's tricky. I think they'll have to cast both pups and adolescent wolves, even for the pilot. Summer'll probably look like a wolverine hanging off dude's throat. Any smaller and it's treading "hokey" territory.

    However, I agree, if you size the whelps up that takes care of a lot. That takes care of it right there, and would be pretty cool to see: fox-sized wolf pups.

  • To add to what Brude said about travel times / wolf sizes:

    Irish Wolfhounds can be as large as 150 pounds, and ( real ) Dire wolves were anywhere between 130 and 190 pounds – according to Wiki. Irish Wolfhounds start off as fairly normal sized pups, but grow about one pound a day while they are young.

    So going off what Brude said, it was probably at least 6 weeks between when the pups were found and when the king's party arrive – probably quite a bit more. So if the pups grew a pound a day for even a few weeks, by six weeks, they could easily be 40-50 pound dogs. This is about the size of a almost full-grown Labrador Retriever and fully capable of taking down a full sized man and tearing their throat out.

    FURTHERMORE, the direwolves in the books are much larger than either Irish Wolfhounds or real direwolves, so they would probably even grow as fast as 2-3 pounds a day in their younger weeks. So we're talking full size wolves in a matter or weeks.

  • @Winter: A couple of suggestions: so far George's thoughts on the casting have always been posted here in one form or another. For completeness sake I suggest you add a short update with it to the McCann's casting post. Second, his 'what producers think' section on the cast and crew list needs to be filled in now. So many things going on now it's hard to keep up, but I wouldn't want for these being forgotten while we're moving forward at exciting speed with newsbits and updates.

  • that rabies PET PASS can be used, but they have to be tested and micro-chipped 6 months before entry. Probably these wolves have been inoculated but are not micro-chipped.

  • @legion
    "I've always assumed Cold Hands was Benjen, and that he'll be like (and bonus points for anyone who gets this reference) Prince Grimskull and find that due to some over riding goodness in him, the evil of the Other's can't quite get him enough."

    No offence but that sounds even more cheesy and cliched than the quasi-villian idea.

    To quote the old sage Donald Rumsfeld:
    "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

    I reckon Benjen's fate, if it is Benjen, is part of an unknown unknown story, or sequence of events, and when it becomes fully explicit it will not be something that was guessable.

    Wasn't there also a contender for Coldhands in The Sworn Sword. I haven't read it and am dying to get my hands on it so please don't spoil it for me. But I had heard that there was a Targaryen in that story that went north 90 years ago.

  • @Mozart

    Yes, Benjen being Coldhands is cliche, but so is L+R=J and the happy ending people seem to want with that.

    Chances are we'll get some cliches, because this is a fantasy book and I can't see that GRRM wouldn't have just said Benjen was dead if he was dead.

    Plus, random cold Targ in the north is pretty cliche too and throws Dany's right to the crown off.

  • @legion
    No I didn't mean Benjen being Coldhands was cliche. The second part, him over-coming the evil inside him because he is a Stark. That was cliche. I don't think any of the other things you mentioned are cliches. They were just part of the plot. Maybe you were being flippant and joking or something, I dunno. I didn't mean to be offensive.

    And if the Targ up north is dead he probably doesn't have a right to the crown. I could be way off with that one anyway. As I said, I haven't read the story so don't know if he is/isn't a candidate.

  • The Targ sent to the Wall is named Brynden Rivers or 'Bloodraven' and was a bastard son of King Aegon IV. He would not have a claim to the throne under any circumstances, even if he hadn't been sent to the Wall. He was also a former Hand of the King (to Aerys I) and a battlefield commander under King Daeron II when his half-brothers 'Bittersteel' (founder of the Golden Company) and Daemon Blackfyre rebelled against the king. This is all in AFFC and does not spoil anything in THE SWORN SWORD.

    Bloodraven = Coldhands is generally thought to not be likely because GRRM only invented Bloodraven for THE SWORN SWORD, i.e. after A STORM OF SWORDS and Coldhands' first appearance had already been published.

  • @ Mozart

    Was being completely flipant and not remotely offended. Your ideas and opinions are just as valid as mine.

  • Mention of GoT in at

    Relevant bits:

    Action commences on October 26 in Belfast, Northern Ireland! Sean will be back to work in front of the cameras for HBO's pilot for the adaptation of George R.R. Martin's book A GAME OF THRONES. As previously posted, you can follow all the developments and check out the other cast members at the author's blog , as well as Winter is Coming blog, and join in on discussions of all things Westeros at A Song of Ice and Fire fan forums. Of course, we're following the project quite closely also on our own SBO forums.


    The Gallery has additions, including fan-inspired art for HBO's Game of Thrones, done by Narwen and Mary, among others, on the Russian sites Wheel of Time and 7 Kingdoms Game of Thrones has sparked interest around the world.


    We all know that Sean can be a very boring lad when he's working, but after a quiet Summer, he's starting off the Autumn with a bang as he dons the cloak and sword of Lord Eddard Stark. Stay tuned to SBO for every tidbit of information that we can root out about the project. He may be quiet when he's working, but, you can be sure that you can always find something interesting on SBO.
    … meanwhile, watch out for those grumkins…Sable

  • I like the home page of
    With the winter is coming in the background
    The buzz around GOT grows bigger every day…

  • Yeah, and it reminded me that just like there are GRRM fans that were happy to see Sean Bean cast as Ned, there are going to be Sean Bean fans who are going to be thrilled if/when the series gets picked up.

  • …and we all must be aware of being very lucky to have Sean on board.
    He has got a pretty big fanbase, I was surfing yesterday, and found some very interseting fan sites dedicated to him.

  • Reading through the forum posts about the series for the Sean Bean site was kind of interesting. One person, a moderator I think, was already a big fan of the books and started posting about it as speculation. Once he was cast several of the boarders started reading the books. One got completely obsessed with them, the other not so much.

    They seem to approve of the other casting for the show very much, too.

  • The Old Knight…
    Sep. 26th, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    … is an experienced master at arms,

    … has been a colonel, a doctor, a friar, a nazi, a sergeant, a superintendant, a corporal, and a minister,

    … knows Cersei, Eddard, Ser Jorah, and Pussy Galore.

    Just sayin'

    Let the games begin!

  • Am I the only one brothers and silent sisters that thinks Benjen is Coldhands is a little too obvious ?….I'm not convinced by any means !

  • Sorry, folks. It's a nice day and my three-and-a-half year old wants to go to the park.

    I was checking the Oracle of Bacon for connections between the other characters and then looking to see who played a Nazi. Steven Mackintosh played Eichmann but I got the call before checking anything else.

    Maybe this will help you guys, maybe not.

    Again, checking for folks who have been cast by Nina Gold before can also help.

    Good luck!

  • … and so the European part of the community is passing the watch back in the sole hands of the colleagues on the other side of the pond. I'm tired and need some quality bedtime. When I wake up I expect you guys to have it figured out :)

  • hm, i did some checking and a poster on the Not a Blog also brought up Derek Jacobi. He seems like an even better fit, since I can't find a connection between Armstrong and Iain Glen (Jorah). At the time of my earlier posting I had only checked Headey, Bean and Honor Blackman.

  • I mentioned before that Alun Armstrong would be a great Yoren, but really, any role could be filled by him as long as it is the right age.

  • Jacobi has played many of those roles, enough that I can't be bothered to check them all. He has also been in things with all the named people.

    Not sure about the experienced master at arms bit though, although he was The Master in Doctor Who…..

    Not convinced, but closest clue wise so far

  • So much to talk about…

    Wolves: I think Brude's got it right. I forgot whether the book implies how much time might have passed at Winterfell between Catelyn's and Eddard's first chapters, but even if we were supposed to assume the wolves grew ridiculously fast, it would be very easy for them to just say a month or three has passed. Chris also makes a good point, but I think there are some limitations on how fast a mammal can reasonably grow, so size increased doesn't necessarily mean proportional increased growth speed. They should at least match Irish Wolfhounds, though.
    So my guess is we'll see young adolescent wolves for Ghost at the feast and Summer saving Bran, stick with them until they get as big as they'll get, then keep them growing with movie magic somehow or other.

    Benjen/Coldhands: I've actually been thinking something along the lines of Legion's "due to some over riding goodness in him, the evil of the Other's can't quite get him enough". Except instead of goodness in him, possibly more a situation of the Stark's association with the Old Gods causing the Children of the Forest (Or the Old Gods themselves) to get involved. If the Others are back, they probably are, too. I think this is something that COULD easily come off as cliched, but that's true for a ton of things in ASoIaF already, and George manages admirably. It's also somewhat foreshadowed by the Stark kids all being wargs. They must have a pretty strong connection to magic, which is resurging in the world, and seems much stronger across the wall, so Benjen got a healthy dose.

    Related side note, I think I may have read in an interview where George said we'll find out why Benjen went to the wall? I went through a ton of interviews a couple weekends ago, so I could be misremembering, but if not it implies a lot of big things (Benjen being important enough to get backstory in the future, therefore probably alive, or died in some important way we'll hear about. Not to mention potentially some strife between him and Eddard/their father?)

    I don't think we can count Bloodraven out, since it's possible George invented him to be Coldhands and then decided to throw him into Sworn Sword, but it seems unlikely. The way Bran's chapters cut off right in the middle of ASoS strongly implies that Bran just meeting Coldhands will be a big reveal that George wasn't ready for yet. I don't think it's "Too obvious". I think it's "foreshadowing".

    Anyway! While I was writing this, all this Old Knight stuff started going on. No idea. I'll think about it.

  • Derek Jacobi has played all of the mentioned roles except the last 4 – Seargent, superintendant, corporal, minister – or thats what I've found in Imdb at least. He has been in films or TV productions with LH, SB, IG & HB directly, according to the oracle. Thats all I got but it is a good bet. Goin' to bed if I don't get somethin' substantial soon.

  • I ain't gonna check now but he was in a film where he could have been considered a friar at a stretch. But you are probably right. Still, closest one so far.

  • Guess I should have given evidence for Dance…

    Was in Henry VIII with Bean.
    Played a nazi in the play 'Good'.
    Has played Ian Fleming (Pussy Galore).
    Has played a doctor in an Alien film.
    Has been various military types.
    Was in 'Century' with Lena Headey.

    I'm stuggling for the friar, mind!

  • Depends if GRRM is being techincal with his term of friar.

    A friar needs to belong to a specific mendicant order, other wise they are just a monk, and don't count as a friar.

    Cadfael, for example, is one of Jacobi's most famous roles, in that he is a monk, but not a friar.

  • I find the notion that a high-profile actor such as Jacobi or Dance doing a relatively minor role such as Rodrik Cassel a little bit hard to swallow. Maybe they're a huge fan of the books and wanted to appear in the pilot in case it doesn't go to series, but beyond that there are much juicier roles for them elsewhere: Dance would make a superb Tywin and Jacobi would be a great Pycelle. If Jacobi has been cast in the pilot, I'd say Luwin was more likely, as it's a (relatively) high-profile, regular role across the first two seasons.

  • I pulled up the lists of bacon numbers of 1 for the actors, and am systematically going through. Starting with Glen versus Headey, since they have the fewest, and then I'll check who's left against Bean and Blackman (Pussy Galore). I'm sure someone will have solved it more intuitively around the time I hit the Ms, but eh. Jacobi's not listed for ANY of them, and Charles Dance only for one. Then again, it just lists Movie connections. George is probably including TV, and could even be counting personal relationships, as he only says they know eachother, not how. Still, movie acting credits together seem likely.

  • Correction:
    "Bacon numbers" is wrong, of course, since Bacon's not involved here. But you know what I mean.

  • Ron Donachie! I haven't filled him to many of the roles. I don't even know what he looks like. But he is 54, he has been in films with all of them, and his IMDB starts off with colonel & doctor, just like GRRM lists them. He was a sergeant, a master at arms(Titanic), a Supt. (which I presume stands for superintendant), a corporal & a Minister("Sea of Souls"). So that leaves a Nazi and a friar.

  • @ Demokritos
    I started with Headey V Blackman(Pussy) because they have been in the fewest films, and I'm still getting new names every few clicks even though the same names crop up over and over.
    So far Jacobi & Donachie are the main contenders for me, with Donachie edging it a little, even though I haven't seen a picture of him and don't know if I know him from anything.

  • Haha, it's funny (and a little bit annoying) that imdb gets really slow every time there's new clues out. The other day when the clues for "little brother" was out I couldn't even open imdb, it was just an error message every time I tried. Now I was surfing imdb for something else when it suddenly started going slow, should have known there had to be new clues.

  • Ron Donachie seems to match everything. Google image search has several pictures, and he looks like a believable Rodrik, though not how I pictured him. I think I'm going to stop going through boring lists now.

  • @Mozart

    Ron Donachie seems likely. According to the Oracle of Bacon, he has been in movies with both Lena Headey and Iain Glenn. Can't find a link to Sean Bean or Honor Blackman yet.

  • Sean Bean and Ron Donachie were in a 1999 series called Extremely Dangerous together.

    Honor Blackman and Ron Doanchie were in a 2005 TV series called Summer Solstice together.

  • 201

    I feel privleged to be associated with such an exlusive group of code breakers. Right up there with Gude, Brude & Allen Turing.

  • I think you forgot someone……
    LOL, I think you better say it quick, Mozart! Congratulations for accurately solving the riddle first. :)

  • To celebrate the unequivocal correctness of Mozart's guess, here is the answer to EVERY one of the clues.

    Ron Donachie is Ser Rodrik Cassel, because…

    – Played the Master at Arms in "Titanic" (1997)

    – Played Colonel J.S. Wilson in "Max Manus" (2008)

    – Played Doctor Ferguson in "The Daisy Chain" (2008)

    – Played Friar Tuck in "Ivanhoe" (1997)

    – Played Martin Bormann in "Uncle Adolf" (2005)

    – PLayed Sergeant Scott in "Fierce Creatures" (1997)

    – Played Superintendent Brent in "Supply & Demand (1997)

    – Played an RAF corporal in "Crossing to Freedom"

    – Played a minister in "Sea of Souls" (2007)

    – Acted together in "Extremely Dangerous" (1999)

    – Acted together in "Jungle Book" (1990)

    – Acted together in "Man to Man" (2005)

    – Both acted in "Summer Solstice" (2005)


  • And someone posted Mozart's guess over at Not a Blog as well, with my additions to fill out the friar and nazi, giving the site credit if not Mozart personally.

    I bet GRRM will make the final set of clues monstrous, just for us here….

  • Doesn't look like the Rodrik Cassel in my mind, but oh well…

    To be honest, I'm surprised they're even including all the minor characters… When are we going to start hearing about the characters they will inevitably be cutting out? I'm personally okay with them cutting out a whole whack of characters. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to be included.

  • – Nice, Mozart! Glad to come back to see the site got it first again. I'm thinking we might see more coming our way, which would be awesome. Of course, might be a repeat of today for me. I'm taking Betty to the fair tomorrow. Still, I'll be able to live vicariously through the rest of you. Plus, carnival rides!

  • @lex & legion
    Well, George DOES have an utterly ridiculous amount of characters, but 90% or so are basically just mentioned in passing. A few actual speaking roles could probably be cut, or have their lines given to others so they're non-speaking, though. For example, I'm pretty sure several of Robb's bannermen have lines at various meetings, but a lot of them could probably become non-speaking and any important lines could mostly be heaped onto Greatjon Umber and Roose Bolton, or something. For one thing, this would mean finding/paying fewer people with the talent to actually act, and for another it's fewer faces the viewer has to remember the names for.

  • Now that you all have solved the latest clues (thanks Mozart) I'd like to get back to Benjen. I seem to remember last week when people were blocking out ideas for the 12 episodes that there was the feeling that a few of the episodes were a little sparse on story line to get 12 full episodes. Perhaps the signing of such a talented actor indicates that we will be seeing some of what Benjen did beyond the wall, meeting Craster, leaving the dragonglass weapons for Jon to find…

  • So, who is left?

    One of Bran/Drogo


    Stark guards Jory and the other one that's named in the pilot and has lines.


    The guys from the prologue.

    Still loads to go!

  • I may be a stickler, I'll admit it, but I'd like to see them keep character continuity. They could skip scenes and not have the characters for that reason, but I'd love to see them keep everyone. They're adding characters, after all. (Standard disclaimer: I trust whatever HBO decides to do. Special Disclaimer: Please note that I understand it may be easier to cut characters, but I think they could make it work. Still, the swapping of Jon and Robb's lines in the leaked pilot script does make me wonder if a minor character's lines might not be given to a major character at some point. That said, this is in some ways a historical adaptation. Simply negating the existence of a character with GRRM on board (TV writer or no) would be kind of a big deal.

  • Bran will be an unknown. I still like Ian McNiece for Illyrio. And I want to see George's cameo as Gared. Off with his head! Will and Waymar Royce are too minor to be anybody with much experience along with Jory and "the other one." Luwin could be a good one, lots of interaction with Bran and everything that happens later in the series.

  • @Demokritos

    many characters can just be extras stood around. We'll know who they are, but the average audience member wont.

    Easy example include Jalabhar Zho, a good portion of the Dothraki, household guard members, most f the lords at the Hand's Tourney that aren't recurring characters, Night's Watch members (especially Jon's irritating friends and bullys).

    However, one of the big things about alot of GRRM's writing is that even small characters might end up important, like Lady Tanda and Lord Gyles are important to other characters and thus needed.

  • Demokritos, great example of what I was thinking. The person still exists, but the lines they had in the book are given to someone else.

    Gofalcons, I'd love to see more of Benjen, but I'm wondering if they're going to keep the feeling of mystery around his disappearance.

  • @gofalcons

    Gotta agree with Paul on that, if they over explain where Benjen is gone, we lose some mystery around that. It's bad enough that we'll lose the Cold Hands mystery early in the TV series if it turns out to be Benjen, so I don't think they'd blow it too much.

    Then again, a death scene for his men with him running away, maybe a scream with forest shot could add some more early horror and actually build the mystery and suspense around the Wights/Others

  • Paul

    I'm thinking they can leave the mystery but show a little of what life beyond the wall is like before Ben goes missing. Make the new fans care a little more about his disappearance. I don't want to know this early on if he's Coldhands (which I think he is).

  • Dang, you guys are good.

    @gofalcons –
    Showing Benjen traveling beyond the wall and showing some of the things the reader learns that he did is interesting. It actually makes a bit of sense.

    a.) They hired a serious actor, and it seems strange that they would do that for a couple scenes and a few lines. People assumed that maybe he would be coming back much later in the seasons that have yet to be written, but it seems unlikely they would cast that far ahead.

    b.) A lot of people are wondering if viewers will be thrown off with the prologue showing the Others and taking place on the other side of the wall. After the prologue, this aspect of the story is almost entirely absent, which may leave a lot of the viewers thinking "what was the point?" or "where are the damn zombies?!?!?" Showing Benjen's exploits provides some continuity on this side of the story.

    I'm not saying its likely or anything, but it definitely makes a bit of sense all things considered.

  • @gofalcons
    I like that idea. Doubt they'd go as far as to show Benjen hiding the weapons (And we can't be entirely sure it was him yet…) since that's probably best left as a surprise. They'd probably just show his storyline a little, maybe hint that he's investigating Others and that Obsidian might kill them, and then cut it off right before something apparently deadly happens, so the viewers still wonder if he's dead or not, and can only guess that it was probably Benjen who left the dragon glass. Regardless of his actual fate (Dead, became Coldhands, both, alive somewhere) I'm fairly certain he'll have had some scary encounters beyond the wall, so it shouldn't be hard to throw one in.

    That list of uncast characters sounds about right to me. And, definitely agree about keeping characters around as extras. Makes sense for keeping us happy, keeping characters in existence in case they're needed later, and for cutting down on stuff like "Minor Lord #25" in the credits.

    I know I'm excited to see who gets cast for that pivotal role!

  • Chris, Gofalcons.

    You've hit on a flash I had as well, which is that if we did follow Benjen it would be something completely new for those that read the book and also keep the television audience connected to the beginning scenes.

    I had thought that the dream sequences might be enough to keep the air of fantasy around the show, but an entirely new facet of the story might be workable.

    Still, they already have a ton of material to work with. We have, however, seen that they're willing to add to it.

    The position I always fall back to: I'm so happy I trust HBO.

  • @Mozart: Oh no, I didn't necessarily mean to have my name included! I don't remember being the first to crack anything that turned out to be correct. I simply organized and re-explained already suggested theories through my thinking or wording of logic.

    @Paul Gude: Still, the swapping of Jon and Robb's lines in the leaked pilot script does make me wonder if a minor character's lines might not be given to a major character at some point.
    I don't have any experience in the film industry whatsoever, but I still don't understand the logic in swapping Jon and Robb's lines whereas I could if they gave a minor character's lines to a major character's. But perhaps these are subtly different issues, the former possibly due to mostly characterization (story) and the latter to budget issues (practicality), i.e. cutting minor characters from an originally HUGE ensemble but whose short lines of dialogue are important in some way.

  • @Chris: I think you've hit the nail on the head. That would make complete sense, especially since Mawle is an actor on the rise.

  • You know Mawle could just be doing it because he wants to work on the project or with these actors/directors……just before we get into another wolf scenerio where someting sounds good so it must be true.

    That and i like being the rain on the parade grounp ;)

  • Adding in the Benjen scenes definitely changes the dynamic of the Brother's going beyond the wall in season 2. In the books, the reader / Jon don't know whether his uncle is alive or dead, which adds a lot of suspense and mystery to this whole story arc. Seeing Benjen's story keeps that aspect of the story in continuity, but it also tells the viewer some of what happened to Benjen. While this takes some of the mystery out of it, it also makes Jon and the Brother's mission seem that much more dangerous. It makes it less of a mystery and more of an "oh shit" because we know a little bit of what is waiting for him.

    I'm not sure which one I prefer, but I think both have their own merits and both would work good on screen. I just think they are going to want the continuity. We like to think of the series as a whole, however the average viewers are going to be all about the individual seasons. If they hint at something in the prologue and we don't see anything about it in the whole season, I think it is going to throw a lot of viewers off.

  • Chris,

    The one other thing that this idea sort of has going for it is that when I was trying to do the episode breakdown, the Wall segments seemed really sparse. If we can combine the Wall and beyond the Wall together, it would beef up that storyline.

    Plus, as I mentioned, it would be great for those of us who read the books to have at least one aspect of the show that will be somewhat unpredictable.

    All that said, Legion's analogy with the wolves is a good one. Just because all of the factors could work doesn't mean we should necessarily get our hopes up about it.

    Then again, even though that guess was wrong, in the end it turned out that real animal actors are going to be used anyway.

    Even if we aren't exactly correct, signs point to Benjen playing a bigger role than a minor character who disappears never to be seen again.

    Then again, I'm biased.

  • Storytelling through TV rather than through books is definitely more compact and in a way, summarized. Writing it the way George did for the books and trying to translate that exactly on screen is probably a luxury that mediums like TV or film cannot afford.

    however the average viewers are going to be all about the individual seasons.
    Well, I would attribute this more to how the film industry is run than to the average viewer, although I do agree with you that a TV non-book fan would have a different perspective than book fans would. Unlike book series, TV series always has the risk of cancelation hanging over it between seasons. The writers would probably have to write the story arcs, whether it's the whole arc or a side one, (or characters, such as the case of new scenes of Jaime and Tyrion in the leaked pilot) keeping that in mind.

  • Man, you guys are too fast for me. Haven't even had a chance to post the results of the first set of clues!

  • Em, on the heels of that, I'd say one of the things the leaked pilot script has taught us (if it goes forward with little alteration) is that there is a definite choice of some "main" characters and there will be an attempt to give them more airtime than the books originally gave them during the same time period.

    So, you have Jaime have an extra scene with Tyrion, and an extra scene with Ned in the pilot.

    At the very least I suspect that we'll see Jaime get captured, see his failed rescue attempt, etc.

    Riffing off of the suggestion Chris gave earlier, I could see the possibility of someone suggesting that Benjen be cut, and GRRM going, "Oh no, impossible! He's a really important character later on." A conversation could have sprung out of that asking how they were going to hold on to Joseph Mawle for 4+ years if he's not in it after episode two or three, and the idea of adding more scenes could have come about that way. In that way maybe he'll be a major character, and a draw to people who think, "I've read the books, I don't need to watch the series." (Are there any people like that? I haven't met them.)

    Of course, as Legion mentioned, it could simply be a case that they're sticking with the book and Mawle simply saw this as a great little job that wouldn't get in the way of his career, as he's out of it so fast.

    Maybe they're not worried about the fact that he's out of the books for so long, figuring if it lasts to the point that the show will have enough juice to get him back.

    Rampant speculation, all. (Speaking of which, still no Sue. Hmmmmm…)

  • @Paul

    That's some pretty good rampant speculation. I'm sure there are a few people who think they don't need to/don't want to watch the series. I think I saw one person on GRRM's blog recently say that he (she?) hadn't been intending to out of the belief that it couldn't possibly measure up to the books, until Rory was released and seemed like the perfect Hound. Maybe they just said they expected it to not live up to the books, though, minus the not watching it part. Regardless, there are sure to be some people who expect it won't be worth sacrificing their personal mental images of all the characters, or who aren't interested enough to pay money to see it (Will download illegally/wait for a friend to buy it on DVD).

    Personally, my money's on the idea that Benjen comes back later, and Mawle's agreeing to return for that, without any extra Benjen in season 1. Even if they flesh him out in season 1, he'll have a season long gap of nothing, and then at most a single really brief appearance in season 3, unless they further alter things. And my guess is that if they don't, they're likely to get some random guy to play Coldhands in season 3, and just show him from the back/with his face covered so that the credits don't give away that he's Benjen to the non-readers by listing Mawle. So basically he'd still be doing a fairly brief job now, and waiting for season 4 or 5 (Depending whether they turn it chronological, and how early in ADwD Bran's chapters start.) I still think fleshing Benjen out is a really neat idea, though, and I hope they do it.

  • another point…

    GRRM implied that the deals with the supporting characters weren't exactly shoe-ins. on one occasion he said they had an offer out to a wonderful actor. on another occasion he said they were waiting on deals to make (or not).

    those two phrases may imply the very issue we're having with benjen. GRRM may know that benjen returns later in the series. as such, they may have been trying to very loosely have mawle commit to a single episode, with the commitment to doing season six (or whatever) if the series makes it that far.

    i think that would be very uncommon, but not impossible. that said, it would also make for a tricky predicament for mawle to be put in. it would lock him out of doing other series' for whatever projected years that may be.

    if we use 1 season per year-and-a-half (which is my prediction), and assume that benjen reappears in book five or six, then the dates mawle would roughly be needed for shooting:

    SEASON 1
    OCT – JAN 2009-10

    SEASON 5
    JAN thru JUN – 2014

    SEASON 6
    JAN thru JUN – 2015

    again, totally rough, but assuming every other season is shot near beginning and ends of the years, and 2010 is season 1 early in the year. i put OCT thru JAN for season one, assuming they'll shoot the pilot, and mawle would need to be available for reshoots in january.

    you can see the predicament, if this was the offer made to mawle, and something he would have to agree to up front for continuity's sake.

    i dunno, maybe i'm reading into it too much. but it WOULD explain why an offer might have been hard to accept.

    or not.

    just sayin'.


  • Ryan, you've illustrated one of the main things Chris' idea has going for it, in my opinion. It would be easier to keep Benjen's actor around by elevating the character's status and including new scenes with him in every season.

    Not very likely from a straight adapting-the-book-to-a-series standpoint, but no less likely than getting someone to sign a contract to return four years down the road.

    Or is it? Anyone know of any precedents for this? Any other shows that were mapped out for four years ahead of time? It's not the same as a show that's getting written from scratch bringing back a character four years later.

    Has there ever been a show that's been mapped out this far in advance?

  • My wife brought up the fact that if a TV Series wasn't, things like the Harry Potter films were kind of in the same boat. So, if we take that as an example, there's a chance that they could simply option Mawle and recast Benjen if he's unavailable.

    Again, not to steal Legion's wet blanket role (I kid) but with this many cast members there's an honest chance that something may happen to affect one of their availabilities. Of course, I am hoping that this is not the case.

  • @Paul

    Not sure Harry Potter movies are a perfect comparison, because a season of AGoT will be about 4-6 times longer than any of the Potter movies, but I guess the point about optioning him and recasting if necessary still stands. If that's the plan, I expect they'd keep him down to the one scene in season 1, so he's not too cemented in our minds if they need to switch him out. They could still hypothetically work him into seasons 1 and 2, and stick Bran's earlier ADwD chapters in season 3 (assuming he's Coldhands, or that Coldhands takes Bran to where he is or something), but that seems pretty unlikely to me, as cool as it would be.

  • Good point, Demokritos. I was more concerned about the "locked in" aspect of the storyline rather than the timeframe, but that timeframe is a doozy of an issue.

    This swings us back to the original call for the speculation, which is that it'd be a shame to use him for just those early moments and then not see him again.

  • @Paul

    Yeah, my main concern with the timeframe is the grand total of screentime he'd need to have. In Harry Potter, Dumbledore, while major, doesn't really get that much screentime per movie. Fans of the late Richard Harris can probably just shrug and ignore Michael Gambon. Even if Benjen's presence in season 4/5 is proportional to Dumbledore's in Harry Potter, Mawle fans will have to tolerate some other guy in the role week after week. The presumably tiny portion of time with Benjen in season 1 should mean this isn't an issue with anyone not already familiar with Mawle, but still. It doesn't make as much sense now that I spell it out, but that's basically what I was getting at.

    In some ways, though, it seems like having a commitment with a few missing seasons might not be that much different from if he were in each season? Seems like the only real difference is he needs to find other work in the gap, and can't sign on permanently to any other series for it. Looks like he's never done any long term TV work, anyway, so that might not be too big an issue. The only other problem is that a series better than AGoT might want him in 2013 or so, and the chances of such a series seem vanishingly small…

  • Mozart nailed this one. We're guessing he's playing Ser Rodrik, right? He's the spitting, bull-necked image of what I always imagined the old master-at-arms to look like.

    His hair's completely white these days. I can see the mutton chops already. He doesn't even need help from the makeup department.

  • Agreed, Deomkritos.

    My sincere hope is that Game of Thrones becomes popular enough that they can get anyone they want to sign on for a role if they get tapped. If it achieves that kind of success, getting Mawle to come back (if it's even an issue in the first place) wouldn't be so hard.

    You have a really good point, and I always have to remember that I'm prone to forget what Winter said about how a non-linear shooting schedule can free the actors up to do other projects if they have such a desire.

    The above sentence demonstrates that I must now go to bed.

    Be seeing you.

  • I think that unless HBO cuts a significant amount of minor characters (or better yet, COMBINES them) then we have almost ZERO chance of seeing more than one or two seasons (due to expense, etc.).

    After all, isn't this pilot ALREADY breaking records for HBO's largest cast of regulars EVER?

    Think of the Lord of the Rings films. MANY smaller characters were cut, and it wasn't the end of the world (as much as I'd love to have seen Prince Imrahil or Elrond's two sons).

    I think characters such as Hot Pie or Lommy Greenhands can easily be cut completely out of the story. Others should be combined, such as some of Robb's lords (do we REALLY need speaking parts for more than two or three of them?). I'm not talking about cutting major characters, but all the lords bannermen and household servants who have speaking lines in the books could probably be cut or combined with other characters.

    I'm just thinking of how to make the series more feasible, and more likely to last in the long run. If this show has many more regular characters than Rome or Deadwood, I doubt it will ever survive.

  • OMG!!!
    Congrats to Mozart!
    You guys are fantastic! You have nailed it, while I was sleeping…
    Good night to you all, my watch begins lol

  • I realize I'm looking through 'nerd colored' glasses…but I'm already convinced this show will be a huge success….they are acquiring A-level actors (ability wise)….thank God they set there standards higher than Adrian Paul(remember that debate way back when) LOL …like a famous sleuths slayer (Paul Gude) has often said …I just trust HBO….this show is in very good hands….it will be a success…the story is just too wicked !…have to be careful though about too many changes to the story timeline and character elimination…that's a minefield…I hope they stay as close to the books as possible …

  • I trust HBO,my only concern is how and when I would have opportunity to watch the pilot…

    Cutting off the characters – So far I am very, very pleased, because I was pretty certain that would not see at all characters like Jory and Hullen…but they are in!

    I do not really mind if they cut Jalabhar-guy, or a bounch of Freys, although I would like to see Hot Pie and Podrick Payne.
    But if the two would not be there, I would not die because of that.

    Same was with LOTR.

    So, to resume our casting situation:

    We are waiting for:


    Septa Mordanne

    Jory and Hullen

    The 3 form the prologue


    Some children (Tommen, Myrcella, Rickon, Beth, Jeyne) – unknowns for sure.

    Some bloodriders – extras?

    and of course – Bran or Drogo.

  • @ Paul Gude

    If I am not mistaken, all seasons of Babylon 5 were pre-mapped, and that was the first TV series to ever take that approach.

  • I agree that some characters would be given more air time. In the first season Jaime and Cersei will be much more prominent than the books, and I believe that even Tyrion's role would be larger.

    I would also like to have a bigger role for Jory. This way, his death (which is the first significant one in the books) will become more dramatic.

  • @lex
    I really hope they try and keep the cutting to a minimum. Not sure I'd be okay with them losing Lommy and Hot Pie. Lommy getting killed was fairly shocking, for me at least, and Arya's plotline is already short on characters with any permanence, so I'd prefer they keep both, even if Hot Pie doesn't serve much obvious purpose. I do think a lot of servants etc. should probably be merged, though. With the Stark household in particular, I'd take lines from any complete forgettables and give them to fairly minor people who Theon kills (Mikken, etc.) who need to exist in some capacity for their death scenes (IMO, anyway. I think Theon's chapters in ACoK would lose a lot of their power if you took out many of his kills.) Definitely a lot of minor lords, knights, etc. who could get lines cut, too.

    @amir mishali
    While Babylon 5 was pre-mapped in detail, the creator ALSO had backup plans to allow for the absence of any of the major characters if an actor quit/died/etc.

    On deaths, I'd say Mycah's the first significant one. Then again, there's no time to have developed him more than he was, so Jory is still the first one who could have been developed better, and the first casualty of the fall of the Starks. If any of Eddard's entourage gets cut, they should probably give their lines to him.

  • Adam, the Sworn Sword? I read two dunk 'n egg stories, and heard of another coming in march. Since those stories take place like 70 years before soiaf, I'm assuming that it doesn't talk about icey cold fingers aka bloody bird in it. But I know not the titles. Where can I read the Sworn Sworn and what is it?

  • I would like to ask where the idea that Joseph Mawle commands the need for extra scenes for his character?

    He isn't really a big name, he isn't really a famous name and, frankly, looking at IMDB, he is hardly flooded with work.

    Seems to me that he does a lot of bit part tv work and while he has had bigger parts before, they haven't seen his career explode.

    Once again, playing the rainy guy, seems to me he has a history with HBO and it just doing another job with exposure for them….

  • If Benjen is Cold Hands I have a feeling he'll be looking pretty different to how we last saw him so recasting the part would not be a major problem.

    The same could be done for Lady Stoneheart if the actress does not want to continue in the role.

    As to axing Characters, yeah a lot of the Lords/Knights will be reduced to background extras with any important lines of theirs being given to more main characters.

    Other changes I can see happening.SPOILERS
    Tyrions Mountain clans will be reduced down to one clan and one leader.
    The Kettlebacks will be axed completely.
    Danys visit to Quarth will be reduced down to the assassination attempt and meeting Whitebeard. The visions she has in the House of the Undying she can have while the Dragons are being born.

  • @Lex & Democritos
    "To be honest, I'm surprised they're even including all the minor characters… When are we going to start hearing about the characters they will inevitably be cutting out? I'm personally okay with them cutting out a whole whack of characters. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to be included."

    I'm Gude on this one. My view is that all of those characters are necessary. The reason is pointed out by legion:
    "However, one of the big things about alot of GRRM's writing is that even small characters might end up important, like Lady Tanda and Lord Gyles are important to other characters and thus needed."
    But this show is gonna be massively dialogue driven. GRRM's own dialogue is funny and gripping that the writers have less to do. So if it is dialogue driven they have all the room in the world to keep track of all of the so called minor characters. Those characters, for me, are so important to keep the flow of the intrigue going. The audience must stay in touch to figure out where it is leading. It doesn't matter to me if people find it boring. It is not a show for teenagers. This is adult viewing, and an adult mind needs a level of complexity to keep it interested. SO for me, all of the characters that are involved in the book should be included, because GRRM wouldn't have put them in the book if they were not necessary. I also think that is what makes the book so enthralling, the fact that there are so many facets, and the series will have to break the mould if it is going to capture the spirit of the books.

    @The rabbit
    You left out Harwyn. He is an important one if he is cast in the pilot because he sheds his allegiance to the North and is important in Arya's plotline.

    We all played our part. There is no 'I' in team, but there is an 'm', or phonetically, 'em'. See what I did there? Word jokes are funny.

    My thinkin on Mawle now is that he knows, should the series get to season (tiny bit in season 3 where they could get a stand-in) 4 or 5, whenever Benjen returns to the plot, this show will be massive. I think this show is a massive hit, or a total flop, and nothing in between. It either gets respectable ratings, whereby its critical acclaim keeps it afloat, or it gets massive ratings or it doesn't make it past season 1 or 2. Either way, it works out pretty well for Mawle. If he is a very high-profile actor by then, well, TV isn't such a backward step these days. Plenty of major A-listers have done TV series, including Al Pacino.
    ASIDE: Funnily enough, A-listers don't do as well in TV series as they come across on the big screen. Often a quality actor is required on the small screen because when tested over a long period of time, the A-lister has lost his/her pulling power. But on the big screen you only need some1 to pay once, if you get my point.
    Mawle's agent could see this as a win/win. It may not take a large commitment, and by that time the series could be pulling major actors like Sopranos did after a number of series. Or it doesn't make it that far and Mawle is free to do whatever.
    And just reading Chris & Demokritos comments over again, they could easilly intend to show Ben's story after leaving the Wall, until they are attacked. That would make people aware of the danger beyond the Wall, while not blowing any of the mystery apart. GRRM may even have regretted not doing that in the book once he realised the series was gonna be more than 3 books long. That would be excellent actually, and would add to the motivation behind casting Mawle.

    SPOILERS: The Kettlebacks are so important. They are Littlefinger's guys, and they are part of a major twist in his character arc. When he goes to the fingers with Sansa and we meet the old Kettleback, we realise that Cercei is surrounded by double agents. They are very necessary in the book and the TV series.

  • @Mozart

    Forgotten that (currently rereading the series but not got that far yet).
    They could still cut 2 of the brothers though ;)

  • Thx icemannorth. I guess I didn't read it carefully enough. And to those that brought up Steven Erickson as an alternative to grrm…. Thank you! I think you're right!

  • @Anonymuff….Steven Erikson ….love the first two books in his series….but after that it turns into a cure for insomnia….zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • well, all I can say is that some of you better start mentally preparing yourselves for the possibility of several (or even many) characters being cut, and/or changes being made to the plot.

    There is no way this is going to be a 100% faithful adaptation, and I think we are already extremely lucky to have had so many characters cast (and such a good job on the casting). Sooner or later, there are going to be some major changes (whether it's cutting out characters, scenes, or elements of the plot), and we'd better be prepared for that. Otherwise, we're in for a nasty shock, and I can already see people crying out in anger and outrage… when honestly, it was never realistic in the first place to expect a complete and 100% accurate adaptation.

    Let's not act like hardcore angry purists who rant and rage at any minor change. We're lucky this thing is even being made at all!

  • @Mozart
    No, I do not think so.
    Harwyn appears later, the guy who is with Ned and boys when direwolves were found was Hullen, not Harwyin.

    If they cast somebody for Harwyn it would be later, not now…if we got the series, of course.

    About characters: I am not an expert, but I have a feeling, that too many small characters on screen would be too much for the audience.

    One Clan leader is enough, one Kettleback too. (what are their names, in fact? Osney? Osmund?)

    And who the hell is lord Gyles? lol

    completely agree with you.

  • Hey, Lex.

    I don't know about the other folks who have been pulling for "painless" cuts, but here's my take. We don't know exactly what's going to change during the adaptation. You don't know what they're going to cut, I don't know what they're going to cut.

    We can also agree that there are going to be some folks that freak out no matter *what* is cut, yeah?

    As I've said before many many many times, HBO has made the best TV shows I've ever seen. They've made my favorite TV shows. Any changes that they make, even if they're ones that seem crazy from the book perspective, I believe they'll be making with the best of intentions. I'll even take radical changes in stride.

    If Ned at the Sept, and Joff suddenly says, "Very well, Stark! I will let you take the black!" and Ned then looks directly into the camera and quips, "Well, this changes things a bit!" I'm probably one of the few people who wouldn't flip out. The books already exist for me. The show is going to be its own thing.

    However, I think we can all agree that HBO will not be making such a radical change.

    I repeat, as always, HBO is not in the business of making bad TV shows.

    What I'm saying is that with GRRM on board, I believe that the writers will come up with artful ways to avoid scenes, swap lines, compress time, etc. to get the best damn TV out of the novels possible, and they'll be able to do it without pissing off the more reasonable fans of the book.

    It's an optimistic viewpoint, but I don't see any reason to change it.

  • Exactly, Em.

    I think whichever approach they take, having GRRM involved will give some folks the stamp of approval they may need to fully enjoy it.

    Again, you may run into people who say odd things like GRRM betrayed himself by allowing some alteration, but you won't be able to reason with that sort of thing anyway.

    I anticipate some new announcement, and hope folks have fun.

    I'm off to the fair with my family, which you can follow if you like:

  • @Marko: Thanks. :)

    I trust HBO to make whatever necessary changes that are not nonsensical but logical and reasonable. It is to their credit that they churn out quality TV shows. And if they do turn out to make a completely different adaptation, I think it's possible they could do what was done with V for Vendetta's film adaptation. To quote co-creator David Lloyd of the original graphic novel, if you "can accept an adaptation that is different to its source material but equally as powerful, then you'll be as impressed as I was with it."

    It seems like that there may be an artistic, for lack of a better word, motive to deviate from the original source material from the director/scriptwriter/producers' POVs: they want to add their own spin (to bring something new to the old) that'll make an impact on the audience in an equally powerful way. Or as T.S. Eliot put it, and I'm sure there are at least some directors/scriptwriters/producers/TV&film critics feel this way,
    "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”

    As a book fan, I see it two ways. Either a) radical changes are OK as long as adding your own spin makes the adaptation good in a different way, or b) if you don't have the confidence to do so, just follow the original source material faithfully because you can't go wrong with the brilliance of the original.

    ETA: Reposted because I spotted more typos. :P

  • @ Paul Gude,

    LOL, I have to admit I'd probably freak out a bit, if Ned (or ANYONE) looked directly at the camera and made that quip. However, I think you're right: some people will freak out regardless of what changes are made.

    I tend to agree with you: I trust HBO to make a great show, and will give them the benefit of the doubt when they make their decisions concerning changes/cuts.

    However, what I DON'T trust HBO to do is to continue a series to its end point. They have an all too familiar history of canceling shows, and at this point I feel about 95% sure that Game of Thrones will never make it past the first couple of seasons. Sad, very sad, but that's what I'm expecting.

    At least this way I won't be disappointed, and can only be pleasantly surprised if I'm proved wrong! :)

  • @ Rabbit

    Lord Gyles Roseby, he is an old man who coughs alot, becomes master of coin after Petyr leaves Kings Landing.

    As for changes, I don't mind changes as long as the changes make sense or are practical. I dislike changes for changes sake though, like the swapping of the lines in the pilot. Little things annoy me.

    Best example for changes for changes sake though has to go to the awful second Fantastic Four movie. No idea if any of you a comic fans, but that film was just……a butchery of Gregor like size.

  • I don't think its unreasonable to want them to stick to the plot in the book. If they contradict the books it will be irritating for me. The reason for that is because it is a TV series. Look at The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. That film cut a lot out. Obviously it did. But the 70s (or 80s) TV series was completely true to the book – right down to the narration. That wouldn't be desireable, but you can see my point. A series can fit a lot more in, and for my mind it has to be more complex than a film version to work. Look at LotR. I was just watching it last night actually, and you can tell – even though I only read the 1st book – that huge amounts of it were cut out and the only thing that saves it is the fact that it is visually phenomenal. But the cuts, from a non-reader's perspective crucially, were what made the films so choppy. Lots of little bits here and there lacked the perspectives and back-stories that were in the books. GoT will be a 12 episode series, and I have heard plenty of people say, in a different context, that it would be hard to fill some books out with the given ostensive material to the full 12 episodes.

    I know a lot of people will not agree with me, no matter how iron clad my reason and justification (and how thin and brittle there own), but for any1 that does, I implore you to join me in a collective sigh at every discrepency in the show. That isn't to say that I don't want any changes. I am quite happy to give them artistic licence with the plot. But I wouldn't tell them that. We must be their niggling conscience, the voice that holds them accountable. After all, as the viewers that gives their lives meaning, we have that kind of power. Artists are whores and we own them.

  • Gyles Rosby is a totally superfluous character. He is so superfluous that the time and effort saved cutting him would almost not be worth it, just like Lord Merryweather, who could be cut, thereby tying Lady Merryweather to some effectual more useful character than Orton Merryweather. Unless one would like to see her cut, and I think the lads like myself will object to that one.

  • Lady Merryweather is a character not worth talking about yet, but she needs to remain as she serves a purpose to Cersei's character both to once again show that Cersei is dumb and easily used, but also to show Cersei proving she doesn't need a man etc.

    At least her random lesbianism has a point, unlike Dany's which is still just dodgy and out of place as far as im concerned.

    Does anyone have a list of characters from GoT, not the entire Ice and Fire series, but just from the first book. Maybe then we could look at who could be cut, or just fade into the background with no lines?

  • @Legion

    I have one list…
    But I have it in a excel file.
    I can "cpoy-paste" here.
    Warning: I have done some cuts.

  • @ Crystal

    At the beginning after Ned decapitates Gared in the pilot script, Jon says that he was 'brave' and Robb replies that 'he was dead of fear'. However, in the book, it's the other way around. The change is a little out of place since Jon is more observant than Robb and sees more than just what is on the surface (my interpretation anyways).

  • All right,
    Here is my list.
    You are welcom to critisize, to cut the characters, and to add them into it..

    Winerfell – Stark banners

    Old nan
    Greatjohn Umber
    Maege Mormont
    Dacey Mormont
    Roose Bolton

    Vale of Arryn

    Lysa Arryn
    Robert Arryn
    The Blackfish
    Mountain – clans

    Riverrun & Twins

    Walder Frey
    Edmure Tully
    Hoster Tully

    Night watch

    Jeor Mormont
    Maester Aemon
    Allister Thorne
    Samwell Tarly
    Donal Noyle
    Bowen Marsh
    Ed Tollet

    The Court/Lannisters

    Tywin Lannister
    Janos Slynt
    Illyn Payne
    Barristan Selmy
    Loras Tyrell
    Renly Baratheon
    Gregor Clegane
    Beric Dondarrion
    Thoros of Myr
    Syrio Forel
    Grand Maester Pycelle
    Podrick Payne

    Accross the narrow sea


    As you can see, the characters appearing in the pilot are not on the list.

  • Well, for a start, Lady Tanda and her daughter need adding, so as to make Bronn's eventual exit make sense. But they can literally be glorified extras there for comic relief.

    At the Vale of Arryn, the eventual Lord Declarent could do with being there, but then equally they could just be a bunch of blokes stood about with the odd line, so again, glorified extras.

    I don't know if you have cut them or just missed the, but Kevan and Lancel likely need to be in.

    I'd ditch Dacey Mormony, no need for her if your mum is about. Lord Glover could go as well.

    Probably should add another Frey to act as a major domo for Lord Walder and welcome them to the Twins.

    Cutting is hard.

  • Agree for Tanda and Lollys – I completely forgot them.

    As for Lancel and Kevan – I had them in mind, but I am not sure if they are in GOT, or they are just mentionned.

    I have forgot Masha Heddle (?) form Crossroads Inn, she is not the importnat one I know.

  • As for Dacey and her mum…I was thinking..SPOILER..someone we know must (sadly) die at Red wedding, and someone else must carry Robbs will to North.
    That is way, I have them both..

    Cutting is bloody hard!

  • @ Raynette,

    Thanks for the info. I don't like it, though. Think I will wince at that scene.


    Re: LoTR, I feel ya. I am a big fan of the movies, but I read the books again and again before the movies ever existed (and I still read them every year). I think they missed out on some important details leaving out so much (like Merry's blade from the Barrow-downs). And the actor who played Faramir (what was his name?) said that Tolkien didn't know how to write drama, when all of the best scenes and lines of those movies are the ones directly taken from the books!
    /end LoTR rant

    Another thing that irked me was in Watchmen – the long fight sequence at the beginning could have been shortened, and then we could have gotten more of Rorschach's journal. I guess they felt Watchmen needed more comic-book cheese than the graphic novel had, I don't know.

    I understand that things need to be cut for all adaptations, but please, let's not change the characters or the essence/meaning/feeling of the story! I just hope they have second thoughts about switching Jon and Robb's lines, or at least don't do any more of that, since I agree that Jon is more insightful and notices more than Robb. Especially when they seem to have taken such care with casting, I'd hate to see it all go down the drain because the script doesn't stay true to the characters.

  • Jonathan Hyde could also be the answer for Sir Roderik. He was in 'Jack and the beanstalk, the real story' with Honor Blackman, in 'Caravaggio' with Sean Bean, I haven;t checked for the others yet, but he is the right age, and has been a doctor, a colonel, and many other roles.

  • I agree that Lord Walder and Ser Stevron Frey, should be the ones with speaking parts. Ser Stevron are Lord Walders eldest son who greets Robb outside the twins when he arrives inn GoT. The abundance of the Freys is a element that there is no need to cut out, when the rest are just extras standing around with towers on their tabards.

    With regards to the clansmen, we could just have one band but, I think we could have more than one characters. Maybe they could be lead by Shagga (the huge man who loves axes) and Chella (the woman with the necklace of ears)
    Perhaps as a couple.
    We need the ears for the hilarious Tyrion/Shae/Varys scene in the inn just after Tyrion enter Kings landing. It would be nice to have Timmet and the burned men as well. Would allow them to Keep more of Tywins dialogue in the crossroads in, where he play the tribes against each other. The thing where the one tribe has to go where the other has been.

    i agree we an easily dispence of Gyles Rosby, Jalabhar Who?, and alot of other named nobles.

  • The clansmen can just be mentioned in passing and exist in the background. They can just be glorified extras and their lines can be concentrated into one or two of them, although that would be kinda irksome with all them intimidating "freemen" (there has to be a lot of them because they Tyrion's army) just standing around mutely. That is really annoying to have all them extras in Lost herded around like bleeting sheep without any input, and occasionally stepping up out of the background so they can kill somebody. They could give them lines – lots of extras and bit parts had lines in the Wire. That adds to the realism. I like Lord Gyles as well. That is a laugh out loud moment, because Cercei doesn't trust any1, so she needs every1 around her to be retarded or too timid to question her. That inevitably, is her down-fall, because they keep fucking up the affairs of the Kingdom, when it really needs competency and stability.

  • I really there GRRM put nothing unnecessary into the story. Only very minor things can be changed without taking away from some plotline or other.

    But saying that, I actually think the switch in the pilot of Jon and Robb's lines works well. Robb is more of a prominent character in the Westeros, if not in the protagonist perspective of the books, and he needs to be slightly older than Jon, mentally for his character arc to be believably on screen. Robb is fighting a war not long after Jon is accused of being a school yard bully. Robb is thrown into the deep end while Jon has a little longer to mature. So I think that change works.

  • I think character cuts or demotions to extra will be needed. I'm leaning toward the latter, as even the books basically have a lot of extras running around, and just occasionally throw them a line. Since acting talent's an issue here, and costs more, they can just consolidate the lines to relatively few actors. I think I mentioned before, but it would also mean fewer names for viewers to remember. In the books, it's easy: with very few intentionally cryptic exceptions, characters are referred to by name. We don't see a picture of a Lord and have to remember who he is, but are rather told "Lord Gyles walked in and coughed up a lung and both kidneys". Keeping appearances distinct will be key, and that gets hard if you have too many characters. I wonder if it will cost that much to hire decent but unknown actors, though. They probably already have a long list from casting calls, so they'd just need to call them up and make the offer of some quick exposure. More specific people mentioned:

    Kettleblacks: I'm with The rabbit. One speaking Kettleblack brother, and one scene with the father saying a line or two, or just Petyr saying who he is. Probably keep the other two as extras, since I think there's a few places where more than one was needed. Does anybody know which Kettleblack is youngest? I forget if it says anywhere. I have a hunch it might be important…

    Mountain Clans: I think each of the leaders is visually interesting enough to keep around as an extra, and most lines can be given to Shagga. I think keeping the others as leaders of their clans makes sense, because it seems like even in the books, Shagga just intermediates "off-screen", so we don't need to see them talk much. I think there was a point or two where specific clans got uncooperative and Tyrion had to deal with them (bribes, probably)? Not a big part of the plot, but I think the difficulty of maintaining power is a big part of GRRM's realism, and you can't have specific clans being unruly if you only have one clan.

    Gyles: I think he could become more important, but if not, he's probably an extra who coughs a lot.

    Lady Merryweather: If they ditch her useless husband, they should just make her a Lady in her own right, or ditch the title and say she's a foreign dignitary. If you make her the wife of someone more important, Cersei probably has to interact with the husband, and they'd need to subtly change the dynamic to reflect the fact that she's keeping a secret from him. Not a huge deal, but why bother if you don't have to?

    Jon and Robb's lines: Y'know, I wondered about this too, but now I think it's probably just an accident. The script we have is leaked, and may not have been completely proofread etc. Transcribing from a book is a pain in the ass, and accidentally switching up two lines would be easy to do. I give it good odds that the lines are back in place when it airs.

    Anyway, on changing the plot in general to give it their own spin, I think they won't. The plot is really complicated, and messing with a couple little things, especially this early, could make it hard to keep it remotely near the books in the future. What I DO expect is what we already see a hint of in the script: showing what characters were doing while we were watching someone else. We'll see more of Robb's story first-hand, perhaps even something as drastic as showing Benjen across the wall. HBO doesn't know where this is all going yet, so they really can't mess with the actual events without a big risk. Even if they knew the destination, keeping things on course would be tough. This isn't a movie where the whole plot is in a nice little 2 hour capsule, and you can mess with a bunch of stuff and rewrite the story. This is a long-ass book series that's not even done yet, and altering anything significant in the plot just wouldn't make sense. What does make sense is showing it from a new direction, which gives us more incentive to watch, and gives them more leeway to flex their artistic muscle.

  • @Mozart
    Jon is actually slightly older than Robb, I believe. I think of the lines more in terms of showing attitudes than insight. Robb at this point feels sure of his future as Lord of Winterfell, and has been brought up for it. He needs to be brave strong and believe the best in people like Eddard. Jon's a bastard, and his future is scary. That's why the Night's Watch is appealing: it sucks, but it's secure and calms his fears. They're seeing themselves in Gared.

  • SPOILER- I believe the true age difference between Jon & Robb is actually up in the air- Robb being conceived BEFORE Ned goes off to war (on their wedding night, I think) and Jon being conceived while Ned is away from Winterfell immediately after Cat's & Ned's wedding would point to Robb being slightly older than Jon. However, if you are in the R + L=J camp or another alternative, that might not be the case. It depends on what you believe Jon's true parentage to be. END SPOILERS

  • "Has there ever been a show that's been mapped out this far in advance?"

    DARK SKIES was, but that got cancelled after one season. BABYLON 5 was, but as others have said, there were trapdoors to allow characters to be written out. The last 3 years of BUFFY was planned ahead of time by Joss Whedon, but only in very general terms, not the specifics. Same with Seasons 2-4 of ANGEL. LOST also had its storyline set out ahead of time but that was hamstrung by its massive success in Season 1. The plan was that it would go 4 seasons or so, but it becoming a mega-hit in S1 caused ABC to ask for a longer run, hence all the crappy filler, particularly in mid-Season 2 and early Season 3, before they chose to end it in Season 6.

    There are some good analogues in the LOST situation, actually. They wrote a regular character out just for Season 5 with the promise she would return for Season 6, whilst they have a vast number (as in dozens) of recurring characters who might do 4 episodes in Season 1, none at all in Season 2, then two in Season 3, then might not reappear until the final season. Sometimes that has worked and other times it has not.

    It is worth remembering as well that if the character in question is Benjen and he is Coldhands, then he will almost unrecognisable in appearance or voice (since Bran doesn't recognise him at the end of Book 3), so recasting the role will not be problematic. In fact, larger and more important roles in ongoing TV series have been recast before, such as Octavian in ROME, and the audience gets used to it for a while.

    I think we can file this one under "It would be a brilliant problem to have," as it means that the show is a big hit and will probably go the distance.

  • I'm on the fence regarding character cuts. On one hand, I think the story serves itself; GRRM's experience in television will help, because the books are paced like episodic television already. So when I read it, I imagine everything on the screen, and it works in my head.

    But if I were a worrier (I'm not) I would worry that if the show does not launch immediately into the popularity stratosphere, the sprawling cast is what would take a lion's share of the blame ("Too many characters to follow" / "Not enough time spent with characters we like"). I mean, re-read the list The Rabbit posted above. These are all named roles (unlike Red-Headed Whore or Eunuch #2), and the massive number would give any producer pause. Also, keep in mind The Rabbit purposefully left out the roles that had already been cast, and named the Mountain Clans as one entity … though to do that storyline justice you'd have to have at LEAST three of them (Shagga, Timmet, and Chella at the very least) as named characters with spoken lines.

    It's literally the most named roles of any first-year television production. Ever. (And it's probably closer to double. I challenge anyone to throw a cast list at me that's as big). It's not a money issue – thank God for Northern Ireland tax breaks – so much as it is an attention issue. People will gravitate to certain characters or stories and will want to see those on the screen.

    For every fan of characters like Bran, I know others who groan with impatience whenever he and his Hodor-ing giant steal time away from more beloved characters like Jaime or Arya.

    The one saving grace, and the advantage Game of Thrones has, is the mortality rate. Assuming the series is a very close duplicate to the first book, look how many characters meet a bloody end in the first season alone:


    Ser Waymar Royce (via an Other)
    Wil (via the wight formerly known as Waymar)
    Gared (via Eddard Stark & Ice)
    Unnamed Assassin at Winterfell (via Summer)
    Micah (via Sandor Clegane)
    Hugh of the Vale (via GREGOR jousting "accident")
    Wyl (via Lannister swords)
    Jory Cassel (via Lannister swords)
    Hali (via Summer)
    Stiv (via Theon's arrow)
    Ser Vardis Egen (via Bronn's better skill)
    Viserys Targaryen (via a crown of gold)
    King Robert Baratheon (via a boar's tusks and too much wine)
    Fat Tom (via Gold Cloak betrayal)
    Varly (via Janos Slynt)
    Cayn (via Sandor Clegane)
    Syrio Forel (via Ser Meryn Trant – allegedly)
    Unnamed stable boy (via Arya & Needle)
    Othor the wight (via Jon Snow & Ghost)
    Unnamed wineseller / assassin (via Khalasar dragging)
    Conn son of Coratt (via a Northman spear)
    Quaro (via Qotho's arakh)
    Qotho (via Ser Jorah Mormont)
    Haggo (via Rakhaggo's arakh)
    Cohollo (via Aggo's arrow)
    Eddard (via Joffrey's command)
    Jeyne Poole (allegedly)
    Septa Mordane (via royal beheading)
    Khal Drogo (via Daenerys & a pillow)
    Mirri Maz Duur (via Drogo's funeral pyre)

    All dead in season one – no need to recast.

    (And I didn't count people killed in potential flashbacks, like Rhaegar, Lyanna, etc.)

    So this could go either way. I want as accurate a telling as humanly possible … but more than that I want an excellent and successful series. I'll trade a smidgen of accuracy for seven years of good luck.

  • I, once again, wonder how important the younger children will be.

    I've made this point before but Arya and Bran, for example, are very young. i wonder how much of their storylines will actually be given over to them, or if they may get sidelined until they grow up a bit?

    Robb, for example, culd get more time. As could characters like Cersei and Jaime in GoT, at the expense of some of what Arya does.

  • You see, this is why I like this board. We can have an intelligent discussion about what could change from the books, who might be left out, and how HBO will handle adaptation, without people freaking out. So many other fandoms loose their mind when things are changed and all discussion turns to bashing writers and directors. This board is so refreshing

  • I hope Syrio Forel comes back, but I doubt it. You know what they say about actually seeing (or reading) a rolling head, before declaring him dead. That rhymes, & you know it does – ADMIT IT!

  • Jillian they had a name for women like you in France in the 40s – collaborator!

    No real fan would spout such blasphemy!

    (I joke)

  • On my way back from the fair. Guess I was wrong about more clues, at least for now.

    You know, I wouldn't mind the show being a companion piece to the books, with scenes not in the book in every episode, as well as some scenes that don't work for the show being omitted. That way folks who haven't read the books will have more incentive to check 'em out. Like I said before, it'd be a treat for us to keep seeing new stuff as well.

    If that's how the show was viewed, missing some scenes with minor characters might not be so bad. Still, I'm on the side of keeping characters consistent. Giving lines to another character and making the representative of a house into an extra would be workable, completely erasing them from the world wouldn't be cool, though.

  • To be honest I don't care if they change stuff for the show as long as the changes are consistent with the books and don't contradict them.

  • I just thought some people would find this interesting….My plan was to attend Comic con 2010 if HBO planned to show any footage from the pilot….of course there would be lots to do and see at the convention but seeing some of the pilot wouldve been icing on the cake…so I submitted a question to George and Parris asking if they think it likely that a sneak peak will be shown there if the show gets ordered….well surprisingly George answered my query ….he pretty much said the " chances of doing anything at Comicon are long, but one never knows"…he also added that he personally wouldn't travel that far just for that LOL

  • I don't mind some changes, but my fear is that they'll do something like Peter Jackson did with Faramir in LoTR – a major change of the character as written by the book. In trying to show the lure of the ring, they greatly lessened the worth of the man.

    I just think it's so easy to let artistic vision ruin a storyline (that being said, I quite adore the film version of Stardust). My thought is, you can be true to the story without being completely precise in the storyline, but it's such a fine line and I've seen it fail so many times. The characters and the story together make ASOIAF so compelling, and I'd hate to see any of its greatness lost.

  • I haven't done a comparison but Season 1 of THE WIRE had a pretty huge regular and recurring cast (all of the drug dealers plus the corner kids, the addicts, Omar and his crew, all of main detectives plus the recurring police, their families and so on). By the time the show got to Seasons 3-4 it had a cast so huge it makes Season 1 of GoT look like a seven-man stage production. Of course, by the time GoT gets to its 3rd-4th season its cast would be even bigger still.

  • I think a lot of remakes and adaptations are very arrogant in their approach. In Hollywood, it seems like they are currently looking for anything to redo or adapt that can make some money. This, to me, is just trying to make a buck of the creativity and hard work of someone else. Plus, they often make sweeping changes that destroy important characters or themes of the story. Rarely are these changes for legitimate reasons, but moreso to appeal to a certain audience or because the writer just thinks they can do a better job. For the most part, they don't do a better job and they end up making lots of money of an inferior version of someone elses hard work and vision. *end rant*

    THAT SAID, I think that we are in good hands here. There are some legitimate adaptations and remakes that are done out of respect, not for a buck. D&D have proven that they are doing everything they can to do this right, and to stay as truthful to the writings as possible. FURTHERMORE, they have been interacting closely with GRRM and even with the fans – asking for suggestions on Westeros, and apparently even taking them seriously enough to show in the casting and in the leaked script. I get the feeling that they aren't going to make any changes just because they think they could write it in a better way. They seem to go over everything with GRRM and make decisions together, and only because it is necessary or to make something work better for the screen.

    There will inevitably be changes, some more sweeping than others, and we'll have to live with it. But because this is a TV series with 12 episodes devoted to each book, the changes and omissions will be much less than what you would see in a book.

    Anyways, call me optimistic, but judging from the pilot script and what we've seen so far, I think we're going to be surprised with how good the adaptation actually turns out.

  • Just wanted to say that I'm back … it's been a long time … just been trying to catch up with comments and opinions … if i have something to contribute I will …. Happy Speculations!!

  • Welcome back, LadyNYC74.

    Not even 9:00pm here on the west coast but I'm tuckered from running around all day. Handing things off to the Europeans.

    If my wildest dreams come true, I'll sleep through important announcements and wake up to new info.

    Be seeing you!

  • @ coltaine

    Thanks for the info. That would be pretty cool if they showed some of the footage. I hate the fact that there's still a chance, however slim it seems, that we may never even see this pilot! I NEED to see Sean Bean acting as Eddard Stark!

  • let's all agree that any major (or minor even) changes to the adaptation will likely be GRRM approved (or GRRM disapproved!) which should put our speculations as to character cuts to a minimum.

    will they cut out characters? YES.

    will they add new characters? YES.

    will they cut the characters due to budgetary constraints? MAYBE, BUT PROBABLY NOT. you are incorrect in thinking that upgrading an extra to a speaking part for a named role will price these guys out of production. not a chance (sorry lex).

    will they cut the characters to serve the adaptation better, and make the adaptation work better on screen? MOST DEFINITELY.

    AYH's death count above is staggering and amazing, and it is one of the reasons why i DO see this show going the distance.

    this show is going to be unlike anything produced before. if it delivers on the promise of the books, and the promise of the pilot, look for the TV world to get a heavy dose of NEXT LEVEL filmmaking.

    i think D&D and HBO (and the amazing cast who has nodded and agreed to jump on board) all know they are sitting on three precious dragon eggs, and soon will be engulfing the world with the flames of their creation.

    but i digress.


  • also, @AYH:

    THE WIRE had 82 named actors over the course of its first season (325 credited over all five seasons).

    THE SOPRANOS had 62 (329 total over its six seasons).

    i didn't spend the time to do a full named-actors list for GoT, but i don't think it will doubling any records, and maybe not even breaking any, though it may come close.

    i could be wrong.


  • @invertebrate

    How many of these characters were non-recurring, single episode characters that once the episode was over you didn't have to remember anything about them?

  • @AYH

    It's true the death toll in the first season is very high, and many characters just go away. The problem is that during the first half of the book the number of active, live, recurring characters with presence in more than a single chapter doubles itself to over 50 (I checked that, but don't have the list in front of me). That's a ridiculously huge number, and there's no way an audience keep up with so many names and faces. If all the characters are kept, then your average tv viewer would go "wait, who was that?" quite a few times during each episode. That's why I would expect many of the lesser roles to just disappear. Someone said that the mountain clans can't be done justice without at least so and so characters. Really? Why's that? The tv series might be served better if they changed the story slightly to have only one mountain clan and one significant leader.

  • @Ryan
    I thought it was already record-breaking as far as the cast for the pilot? Maybe that was just speculation, but it seems like it was mentioned somewhere vaguely official. Or do you just mean it might not break records for overall cast for the first season? Anyway, not that important.

    Good to know characters won't break the budget. I think I'm much happier with the idea of cutting characters (or giving their actual lines to others) for plot streamlining purposes than budget. I'm wondering, though, why do you think they'd add characters? I could see them altering existing characters, potentially amalgamating others into them (Like some sort of Shagga/Timmet hybrid), but considering the sheer size of the existing cast I don't see why they'd make new characters, unless you count "Red Headed Whore" etc. Maybe one of those is what you meant. If not, obviously you know more about this sort of thing than I do. I'd love to be educated.

  • @amir

    dunno, but i think the same goes for GoT, even if certain Frey's are mentioned more than once, or Stark bannermen for that matter, you could argue that several only have one speaking episode to their credit based on the books.

    i guess i am thinking more in terms of production/logistical payment of talent etc. more than the epic feat of named characters?


  • @Demo

    yes, i was counting minor speaking characters like red headed whore.

    i think the series will have situations like that one, where it's not from the books, but helps build characterization for one of the main characters (in that case, it establishes the brotherly relationship between tyrion and jaime, characterizes them both, and shows a comic repoire from the jump, as D&D know that you have to get hooked on screen characters much faster than book ones).

    sorry for confusion.


  • I honestly don't see a problem with the amount of speaking roles in the show. The only comarable series for me was the Wire. The reason for that is there are no "main" protagonists that the series depends on. I know ereryone will say McNulty, but lots of story lines didn't depend on him at all so he wasn't as much of a fulcrum. The Stark kids will, in the 1st season be a sort of fulcrum, but Ned's demise and Jaime's moral resurgence will dispell that feeling. I think characters flittering in and out of the action is fine. They will be talked about enough and when there are big feasts there will be opportunities for Tyrion and others to name the big houses, while the camera pans along the guests, just like the start of Goodfellas. I honestly think that people won't need to keep up with who is who as much as the story line that will fit people into their places nicely once the viewer pays attention. And for any1 who doesn't have enough faith in the viewer to do so, well that is the sentiment that keeps networks churning out boring shit for people with the attention spans of goldfish. I honestly think the dialogue (an excellent part of the book) will be so funny that people will be stuck like bees to honey, and after a while they will get to grips with the intricacies & complexities of the story.

  • Cuts there will be, but this story is gonna be complex, and I think the Wire has proven that adults will tune in when there is something stimulating enough for them. No point in looking for a slightly dumber market. Other shows do that already.

  • I think the probability of an addition of a major character is highly unlikely. There will be plenty of room to add scenes involving existing characters if more perspectives are needed.

  • Tyrion will be GoT's McNulty, wouldn't you say? He's as close to a main character as we're going to get in AsoIaF.


  • Speaking specifically about the mountain clans, in my opinion part of the reason they're there is to show how much of a badass Tyrion is at political wrangling by getting them to work together. It's actually a great example of what I'm talking about. Merging them into one clan would be a revisionist move and kind of sloppy. You could accomplish a similar thing, if necessary, by giving lines away but leaving the story element of the multiple clans intact. Even then, though, I don't feel it'd be necessary. The three clans and their leaders are visually different. The idea that people will get them confused isn't, in my opinion, a reason to change the story. Making concessions to perceived audience issues is a dangerous thing. Trying to fit this show into a conventional framework could be the one thing capable of killing it. People keep bringing up The Wire for a reason. It kept doing things people here say won't work on TV, but lasted five seasons on HBO. We're not looking for a network TV crowd. Again, I'm heartened by the fact that we're all just killing time here, and HBO knows what they're doing. Some people won't watch a show if they have to "catch up" when they miss an episode, but the HBO dramas I enjoy never compromised on that.

  • Ryan, I think so. There will obviously be detractors, but I've always thought of Tyrion as the "main" character until AFfC. Plus, getting the right Tyrion was obviously important to the producers, which says to me that they're going to give him the prominence he deserves.

  • You know, having a DEATHCOUNT ticker for the game of thrones official webpage (or even this one) which ticked up each time a named character died on screen would be awesome.

  • Legion, not to set expectations too low or anything, but I didn't like the first episode of The Wire much. I had bought the entire series after hearing a lot of great things about it and was underwhelmed at first. Things picked up for me by the third episode and I really started to see why folks liked it.

    I think Game of Thrones is going to be different in that respect, if the pilot is any indication. At first glance, people are going to be able to tell that they're in for something unlike anything they've seen on TV.

  • I'm very impressed with all the clue solving, well done everyone!

    Strange I know, but I think the death that really sets the tone for the series is

    Lady's. Because a big deal had been made of the direwolf pups having special significance, and because pets aren't often killed off in stories. The death isn't fair, and it seemed to me that there would be a last minute reprieve, after all, how likely is it that the possibly-magically-significant cute pet belonging to the sweet little girl character get killed off? From that point on, you know there won't be any punches pulled. Bad things will happen, realistic things will happen, and a specially symbolic cute dead wolf is a dead wolf.

    I'm sure some characters will be cut or lines moved to others, but I hope the three mail leaders of the mountain clans remain- they're interesting in themselves, and I'd love to see Tyrion dealing with them on screen.

  • Hmmmm, I'm intrigued by the show.

    I can certainly see why it isnt that popular outside America (as it really makes the point that you're in America) but it was well acted and im interested to see what happens.

    On saying that, it isn't remotely different to any other crime show off the back of episode one. Granted, it may develop and im going to watch some more to see, but yeah, first impressions are that it's a good show, but nothing ground breaking off the bat.

    Now, granted, only seen Episode One, but I still don't see the similarities with GoT. In any way. The Sopranos, I saw some similarities there, but here, no, not yet anyway.

    On a lighter note, I had a weird as you like dream last night.

    In my dream, Angelina Jolie turned out to be a huge fan of GRRM and GoT. As such, she wanted to be involved in the project and offered up money to buy a slice of the action and get her the part of Melisandre. Never going to happen irl, but yeah, GoT is now invading my dreams!

    This dream was likely propelled by the fact that Angelina Jolie keeps popping up in films that i've seen recently (I caught Alexander last night, and Beowulf the night before).

  • @Mozart
    My concern isn't so much that people won't be ABLE to keep track of the plot due to character recognition issues, but that they'll be distracted from the plot by them. I personally have this problem in a lot of movies, where there are about 5 different average-looking brown-haired guys. I may not need to know which is which to follow the plot (or enjoy it, anyway), but the fact that I don't means I spend scenes trying to figure out who the hell is who, instead of paying attention to anything else. I agree with Paul that it shouldn't be a problem for the Mountain Clans, though, and this is also true for a bunch of others. I'm thinking more in terms of taking lines away from people who are forgettable anyway, so people don't waste time trying to remember their names before they realize they're not going to be important.

    On Tyrion's main character status, yes and no. He's GRRM's favorite, of course, and probably in just about everyone's top 3 or so. He gets a lot of pages. But he's not really that central to the plot so far. He's important while he's maintaining power as King's Hand, but even then he doesn't match Stannis (Or probably more accurately Melisandre), Robb or Renly for sheer influence on Westeros, since King's Landing is so full of rivals that he has to deal with. So in terms of being a well developed, interesting character, he's at about the top of the list, but in terms of being integral to anyone else's plotlines, he's pretty low so far. So it depends on how you define a main character. Since nobody really fits the bill entirely, he's definitely high on the list, though I think by the last book Dany, Jon and Bran may be the most influential on the plot, in that order.

    For all we know, though, George is going to have Faceless Arya the Assassin kill Dany off next book or something.

  • Legion, I'm not sure that I'd go with The Wire being completely groundbreaking, although the term has been thrown around for it a lot by fans and critics alike. Many people have stated that it feels like a grown-up version of Homocide, Life on the Street in many respects.

    The reason it keeps getting brought up here is that it succeeded in a couple of different areas:

    1) Having a huge cast and multiple alliances that the audience had to keep track of throughout the series.

    2) Not pulling any punches when it comes to making decisions audiences may not like.

    3) Trusting the audience is going to be smart enough to get things that aren't expressly spelled out for them.

    For all it is besides, The Wire is still a show about cops. It will have multiple differences from Game of Thrones by virtue of that alone. Still, though, the three points above aren't about genre, they're hopes for how the show itself is handled.

    Any time someone says, "Well, you can't do _________ on TV, because it' won't work," we'll keep pointing to The Wire and say, "Well, actually, it did work."

    Also, if I didn't make this point clear enough the last time:

    We're well aware that The Wire and Game of Thrones won't be the same show, nor do we want it to be. All of the times we've brought it up, it's because someone has said that something from the book wasn't going to work on TV. Game of Thrones may not be the same as The Wire, but I'd happily argue that it should be the same as the book it's based on. When you say Game of Thrones can't be the same as the book it's based on because it's going to be on TV and that aspect of the book won't work on TV, we bring up a show on TV that has done something similar. Not because we want Game of Thrones to be similar to another show, but because we want it to be similar to the book. This stuff can and has been done.

    Also, I agree about the death of Lady. That's going to be such an emotional scene. I already know I'm going to cry.

  • @legion

    all i can tell you, and i think others who have watched the entire series will agree, is that the wire is like a fine wine. it's much more meaningful than most crime show drivel, but has the setting and scenarios to take advantage of the crime show genre.

    the wire is still my favorite television show because it truly feels like a shakespearean or dickensian portrayal of what would be an otherwise gritty and unsophistocated portrait of a typical American city.

    You will start to see the similarities to GoT probably mid-season 2 legion, because it slowly becomes aware to you that you aren't just watching Law and Order: Baltimore, but something more meaningful, with characters more troubled and layered than you're used to seeing in that genre.

    At least, that was the experience for me. The biggest similarity will be when you see the major players emerge from the masses, and you decide who you love and who you love to hate. The characters are complex like they are in ASoIaF, and the war and strife is told through the lens of those characters, instead of a third person John Woo action sequence so-to-speak.


  • Oh, and David Simon shares GRRM's liberal disposition of killing off his characters big and small, whether you saw the story's arc going that way or (more profoundly) never saw it coming.


  • @Paul

    We can log on and talk about our manly crying sessions together after every episode, because GRRM is a fucker that way.


  • +1 on the Lady scene. In fact, I bet a lot of viewers will be more distraught after that than after the Ned incident.

    Haha, (slightly on topic) I was just watching a Chris Rock special on HBO last night and he was doing a bit about how no one cares about men. And he said something about how if you see a homeless guy with a dog, everyone feels bad for the dog. Someone says "Awww, we need to get some food for the dog" and then the other person says "well, what about the guy?" "fuck him." Of course, being Chris Rock, it was really funny.

    Point being, animal stuff tends to be much more sad and poignant for people than human stuff, so that will be a rough scene to see played out.

  • Demokritos, you bring up a really interesting point of plot-verses-character.

    For me, the individual character stuff is as or more important as all of the court intrigue, so I guess that's why he's on the top of my list. It bleeds into other things as well, especially when it comes to Brienne. The major complaints I've read from people about her is that not much happens in her parts of AFfC, but we learn so much about her in those pages.

    Also, and I think I mentioned it before, the wild goose chase she's on lends so much to the realism in my opinion. I love the fact that she's nowhere near finding Sansa.

  • "I can certainly see why it isnt that popular outside America (as it really makes the point that you're in America) but it was well acted and im interested to see what happens."

    THE WIRE is pretty 'big' in critical terms wherever you go. Several of the UK's biggest TV critics (including one of our most prominent, Charlie Brooker) have gone on about THE WIRE being the best show of all time for a while now, and there's a feeling that a lot of the show's themes of corruption and failed institutions apply right across the world rather than just to its setting of Baltimore.

    Interestingly, I've just finished watching all 24 existing episodes of TRUE BLOOD and that has a pretty big cast as well, divided into various factions. Not as big as either THE WIRE or GoT, but lots of minor characters to remember and quite a few major ones pursuing storylines going in different directions.

  • Another similarity that The Wire has is that it is very much character driven, and the plot is told through the viewpoints of the different characters(on both sides). If the characters don't work than the plot doesn't work and I think GoT will be the same way. Luckily The Wire and GoT both have great characters, and I think GoT is getting the right actors to properly bring them to life.

  • Right, I have watched some more.

    It's a good show. It is very much Law and Order: Baltimore as Ryan put it, at the moment. Obviously that changes as the show goes on. I'm not sure I like it though….don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad show, in fact I now understand much better why it's so popular, but I dislike it for being so real. I like a bit of escapism in my shows rather than gritty realism and such.

    Critically, yeah, I know Brooker loves it and the Guardian did as well, but very few people will have actually watched or seen it, so critically acclaimed isn't the same as being commercially popular (which isn't always a bad thing).

    HBO obviously are not afraid of a big ensemble cast with key characters in the centre. The Sopranos, The Wire, True Blood, Rome; all these shows have this massive set of characters, but only 5 or so central ones seem to really matter.

    GoT's is the same I feel. There are loads of characers, but only a few really matter at any one time. In book one, the Starks and Tyrion play centre stage, by book two, this changes a bit and Dany gets a bigger role while some Starks lose some, and then by AFfC, Brienne and the Lannisters have taken centre stage, with the Iron Islands and Dorne on the rise.

    I'm still thinking that some things will change, mainly that the adult roles will get prominance over some of the younger roles, mostly Arya and Bran, at least for the first series and am still very much of the opinion the Eddard's death needs to come at the end of an episode, not in the middle, but I can now see, finally, why people keep throwing the Wire out for comparison.

    @ The Lady moment people

    For me, I think Mycah will likely be the big shock there, with Sansa, frankly, the whole scenerio is almost built to make you think 'good, she got what she deserved, don't lie' and of course, it also highlights later how naive she is, because she goes to Cersei, after what Cersei did to Lady.

  • @Demokritos

    Re: Tyrion. I can see what you're saying except

    …he was the one who helped turn the tide at Green Fork.

    …he was the one who convinced Cersei he could free Jaime, which kept him firmly in place as Joff's hand.

    …he was the one who came up with the wildfire to be used on Stannis at Blackwater rush, which won that battle and kept the Lannister reign another day.

    …he was the one who blackmailed Lancel to spy on Cersei.

    …he was the one who suggested the idea of marrying Joffrey to Margaery and allying with the Tyrells.

    …he was the one who imprisoned Pycelle and drugged Cersei in order to negotiate terms with Robb

    …he was the one who showed compassion to Sansa at court, when Cersei and Joffrey used her as little more than a pawn.

    So in the scheme of courts and characters, I count Tyrion (as I said) as close to a "McNulty" as we're going to get in GoT. McNulty was not the focus of most of the plot lines, and certainly not the hero depending on which season we were watching, but he WAS (for the writers) a sort of home base. The place to return to to ground us back in the world of The Wire.

    Tyrion will be the same way, I think. D&D are going to have to move away from the strict POV chapter setup of the books, we already saw that in the leaked pilot. They'll have to have familiar faces/characters to bring us back to the center. Band of Brothers had Sgt. Winters. The Wire had McNulty. GoT will have Tyrion.

    Anyone disagree?


  • Just a quick thing that just popped in.

    A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons take place side by side correct?

    For the series, what the chances that the missing characters from AFfC will have some of their Dance chapters inserted in, while some characters from AFfC will have their stories cut in half to allow room?

    Would it work for a show to lose THREE of the 'main characters' for a whole series?

  • @legion

    Just let the Barksdale plotline grow, it becomes more than just a crime procedural done with a documentarian's lens. It becomes Shakespeare, and that is nothing if not an escapist's type of a story.

    Stick with it, pretty please? You'll like it for the reasons you said you don't like it. And you'll also like it for the reasons you said you WANTED to like it. I promise.

    Or at least, I hope so!

    I've run the Wire sales pitch on several friends, and it's returned in spades. We even had some serious polling going on for the series finale, trying to predict how each character's plotlines would close out, what would happen to them, etc.

    I won of course.

    But still!


  • @legion –
    If you are only lukewarm on it now, I can say that its a show that literally gets better with each episode, all the way through at least the end of the 3rd season. Then season 4 and 5 just stay at that high level. Both myself and a couple friends I know that watched it, started off thinking it looked like a cheap 90s cop drama with cursing after the first couple episodes… and now we would all agree its a top 3 show of all time. Just sayin… ;)

  • For those of you who do not follow HBO on Twitter, they have posted some of the GoT buzz on their stream, in the form of a cheesy fan video on Youtube.

    Still, they are seeing the buzz, and sharing, and hopefully that bodes well for the series.


  • The Wire is a modern day Great Expectations, and don't say that flippantly. It Victorian Britain orphans were not considered to have any rights as human beings but harles Dickens served to portray the children on the streets living in abject poverty as people by writing so vividly from their perspective. He enhanced the moral fabric of Victorian Britain and the lives of poor children improved immeasurably as a result of the charitableness and social conscience that ensued. The Wire puts everything on the table, "the good with the bad", as Bubbles says so eloquently, and paints no character as unauthentically or unrealistically good or evil (SPOILER: Even Marlow in that touching last scene of his). They are all given a perspective with due respect and time in character development that allows the viewer to see them as real people occupying the same world as him/her. The hardest thing for a human being to do is to recognise – in a way that actually effects their actions as opposed to recognise as a fact – that there are other perspectives and ways of viewing the world. Art is the only means we have of penetrating the Other and The Wire does this as effectively as a great novel.

    Just sayin'.

  • @Mozart

    Yes, Marlow's ending instilled a sense of perspective and unexpected pity to one of the more disturbed villains of our time.

    I've always seen Dickens in The Wire, and the fact that Simon hired novelists to write the whole series says a lot about developing characters in a different way.

    Benioff is an accomplished novelist himself, and this may be just the forum to show off his chops.


  • @legion
    It doesn't stay Law & Order: Baltimore for very long, trust me. The bad guys are just creeps in that and the dialogue is so dry.

  • I totally agree with the Tyrion/McNulty simile. I never new about the fact that they hired novelists to write The Wire. That explains a lot, and hopefully starts a nw trend in TV production.


    I'm currently starting Season 3, and it's definitely a great show. But Season 1 (especially the first few episodes) seemed really slow, and I think you need to wait until close to the end of Season 1 before you really start to get a feel for the show.

    I enjoyed Season 2 even more than the first, and so far Season 3 is excellent.

    I find the show so immersive, I feel like I'm seeing every side of an entire city. Perhaps not ground-breaking (it IS a cop show) but definitely better than any cop or law show I've ever seen before.