Casting Speculation

GRRM provides short casting update

Short update from GRRM about casting over at his Not A Blog. Here is what he posted:

Poor Doomed Souls Department

Two of three are done, I’m told.

Waiting for signed contracts on the last.

Winter Is Coming: In the comments of my last post, Greg posited that George is referring to the three characters from the prologue here: Gared, Will and Waymar. That makes sense to me. With less than a month to go before filming begins I expect the minor roles will be filling up quickly at this point.


  • Gotta be the prologue characters.

    Wonder if it will be anyone known. If I was in charge i'd try and cast a known name for Waymar Royce so it's a shock when he's killed right off the bat.

  • I totally agree with Shawn. Once you do the whole big name actor gets killed off thing it takes away a ton of the shock value from Ned's death because its already established that they are willing to do that.

    It won't be completely the same because Ned will be a well liked well established character by that point, but still…

  • See HURT LOCKER for evidence on why there is merit to casting a well-known actor as Waymar Royce!


  • As far as worrying about dulling the shock of ned, i think the prologue will 1) stand alone as a totally separate part of the story, and 2) at best, simply foreshadow the fact that you can't trust who GRRM is going to kill.

    I don't think the level of stardom is going to be a factor. Nobody will see Ned's death coming, because he is the central protagonist for 95% of the first season, unlike Ser Waymar, who gets all of five minutes of screentime maximum.

    If anything, what happens to Bran will be enough to tip the viewer's unease in favor of simple, irresistable mistrust.

    I know, for me, it is what kept me reading. I read many pages with a hand over my eyes, peeking between my fingers to see if something bad was about to happen (metaphorically speaking of course).


  • I'm with Legion (and Ryan) on this one. When I re-read it just recently, the whole prologue played very similar to one of the more popular cop shows of the day, as a young brash but brilliant investigator throws the old guard off with his disregard of procedure. In fact, if you take it out of the POV, it looks like that even more.

    Viewers who are used to that sort of thing may fall into thinking they're watching a familiar pattern. Depending on how who they cast, or how they handle publicity, the audience may even go in thinking that Royce is going to be a major player. Then we learn that sometimes the old guard is right, which is a lesson people have to learn time and time again in this story.

    Ryan, I actually think Bran will help reset the audience's trust after Royce. "Aw, you see there?" they'll say. "They couldn't bring themselves to kill the kid off."

    Trust restored.

  • Getting off the topic, but if you really want to see an interesting nugget of police procedural in ASoIAF, re-read Janos Slynt's interrogation of Jon Snow after Jon returns from his beyond-the-Wall adventure. Classic detective interrogation– which makes sense, given Slynt's background as former head of the Kings Landing watch.

  • If they re-do (which I don't think they will) the prologue for airing they might get some big name for Ser Wymar Royce. But I doubt they would consider doin' that for the pilot. They already have so much on their plate. These will be no-namers from Holby City or The Bill.

  • @Guderama

    You bring up a good point. Do others think the Bran incident will put viewers on their guard or put them at ease?

    Even though he isn't killed, I personally think it will foster a subtle mistrust of the material. As I read the book after "The things I do for love," I couldn't shake that tinge of doubt as to how attached I got to any of the characters.


  • I wouldn't worry about the shock values in this show. In the pilot alone they have 2 people killed by mysterious creatures in first 5 minutes, then a beheading, then a girl being sold by her brother to a barbarian warlord and then a kid gets thrown out of the window after seeing brother and sister having sex. By the time Ned kicks the bucket viewers will get the general idea that pretty much everything can happen in this show.

  • I think it almost did the opposite for me. That single incident gave me the feeling that this guy will want to hit bellow the belt, but will change direction because it would be less squeemish. So, because Bran wasn't a big character for ages, I thought it was cowardice not to just kill him off. But further on in the book I realised all of my protentions were off by a mile, because Bran's disability, and how he deals with it, is a much more powerful plotline than just a temporary shock factor involved in killin' a kid.

  • I really do think that there will be some people who view Bran surviving as an excuse to feel safe with the "main" characters. They might get hurt, they'll reason, but they won't die.

    The fact that he isn't killed by the assassin will just cement that feeling.

    They may even assume that Bran is eventually going to "get better" and walk again after some kind of happy miracle. They've been trained by too many shows that things just work out.

    I say, let 'em think that. All the more sweeter when things go south.

  • @Paul Gude
    You could argue that Bran *does* walk again through the miracle of warging. But, yeah, still crippled, so it doesn't quite count…

    I think the viewers will probably respond to Bran's fall about the way we do: differently. Some will be startled and mistrustful because a kid got badly harmed so early. Some will be reassured that main characters can get disabled, but not die. Others won't be sure what to think. And of course some will read Wikipedia and spoil the whole season for themselves right off. Just depends on the viewer.

  • Heh, Mozart, I suppose that's appropriate.

    Demokritos, you've highlighted one of the truly sad things about the TV show verses the books.

    For me, the books were a private thing. I read them, and then after I knew the whole story I was able to seek out and find people who were interested in them to discuss things about them.

    For the show, the culture behind TV discussion boards (at least the ones my day-job company hosts) are much more immediate. People who want to talk about the episode they just saw are going to be walking into a minefield of spoilers, both from people who have read the books and from wikipedia "experts" about what's going to happen next.

    This goes back to the whole idea of a Benjen subplot. I think it'll behoove the show to have at least one major character about whose future readers of the books and TV viewers alike have no idea.

    The only other option to truly surprise everyone from time to time would be to alter the actual plot in the show, and I'd rather not see that happen.

    (It could simply be a revelation in an non POV scene of something that's going to come to light in ADwD, but again, I'd rather discover that there.)

    Of course, truly surprising everyone may just not be on their agenda, but knowing how much GRRM likes to do it, I'd be surprised if there isn't at least one scene designed to shock everyone.

  • In his latest blog post GRRM reminds us how lucky some folks are to be living in NI right now:

    Riders Wanted

    Sep. 30th, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Ever since HBO first took out an option on A GAME OF THRONES — even before we got an actual production order — I've been getting emails from readers who desperately wanted to be a part of the production. "I'll do anything!" some of you have written. ((Really, don't say stuff like that. Really. Don't.))

    Well, now's your chance. The call has gone out for extras. Details here:

    Of course, you need to be in Northern Ireland, or get yourself to Northern Ireland. They're shooting this mostly in Belfast and environs.

    And it would help to know horses. As you can see, their biggest need right now is for experienced male riders. (I imagine they could use some female riders too, though maybe not as many. And if not, hey, that's why they invented false beards.)

    But I'm in Santa Fe, so I'm not the guy to write to about this. Inquire as above.

    And good luck. Maybe I'll be meeting some of Belfast, a month from now.

  • It will be fun / weird to watch this show with people who have never read the books. My wife has never read the books but knows I love them. After watching two twins have sex and then one of them push a innocent little boy out the window, I'm gonna be a little scared to look over at her and see her reaction. She may be like, "THIS is what you consider your favorite books?!?!" haha

    Anyways, I think the show will have a definite feeling of "you never know what's going to happen next." Some will be more shocked than others, but I think all will watch in fascination because they will quickly realize that the show isn't going to hold back at all. MORE IMPORTANTLY, its not simply a shock-fest… it actually is a really good story with really good characters, so it won't seem like cheap tricks to attract low-brow viewers. Man, I'm getting giddy.

  • @Paul

    A faithful adaptation, by definition. CAN'T truly surprise. It will be simply a lesser version of LOTR. The fans knew all the beats, every twist. The ones who read the books as kids got to remember the scenes after they happened, and the unannointed got to experience a marvelous new world with virgin eyes.

    I have a Danish friend who was the one to recommend ASoIaF to me a couple years back. It has been several years since he read the series and he had forgotten many of the twists and turns."I remember Petyr and Sansa making a snowman," he said. I had to laugh.

    The immediacy of the Internet is going to ruin episodes for some, but HBO subscribers take their TV watching seriously, and let us hope that with a series like GoT they show some restraint with diving into forums or Wikipedia to spoil the maiden voyage through the story.

    That's all you can really hope for. Anyone who TiVo's reality programming or sporting events knows how hard it to prevent finding stuff out before watching. GoT will run a similar albeit much milder risk, especially when BIG things happen in an episode.


  • I would also love to watch the series with someone unfamiliar with the books and see the reactions. It seems that it won't happen, however, as my girlfriend plans to read the books soon … we'll see :)

  • See HURT LOCKER for evidence on why there is merit to casting a well-known actor as Waymar Royce!

    Very true. Hell of a movie, too.

  • See HURT LOCKER for evidence on why there is merit to casting a well-known actor as Waymar Royce!

    See also, the first Scream movie. Drew Barrymore opening the movie as the first victim worked pretty well.

  • @Jeff –
    I noticed as well. I was wondering if he is just as giddy as we are and is calling D&D every hour saying "please can I tell them?"… "can I tell them yet???" "what about now??… I'll use good clues, I promise." and finally D&D can't take it anymore, and say "fine! go torture them some more with some clues."

    Or… maybe HBO and D&D are just keeping him involved, and realize he is as good of an outlet as any for letting some news out here and there.

  • Ryan, I'll grant you that. One of the reasons, actually, that I think throwing out entire minor characters (as some advocate) would be a mistake. For those that have read the books, even if they can't put their fingers on it, a gap in the characters/story line is going to be hard to get past. Having a simple nod in that direction rather than a full-scale omission would work wonders.

    Still, though, I do think the chances of throwing in something new for the book fans, even if it's just an in-joke, will be pretty high.

  • "With GRRM's kill count, it's almost fantasy horror rather than fantasy historical. :)"

    I will never forget that scene in the first Dunk N Egg story. It was so vivid and so purely horror. The scene regarding what happens to that Targaryen's head when they take off the helmet…. eeee. Since this has nothing to do with history (any relations to reality are meaningless to me since the names, shapes, and reality at large are all different), then I definitely agree.. Fantasy Horror!

    I'm ready for a TV interview or featurette. I can't wait for production to crank up a notch in marketing this thing.

  • By the way, I never mentioned this before today but I completely disagree with anyone calling SOAIF fantasy historical. I read about the parallels between the families and uk noble families, but SOAIF just doesn't have the framework on the flair to make this fit in any way have 'history' as part of a subgenre tag. I recently read Kushiel's Dart which is Dark Fantasy and possibly could be historical (the references to concrete real-world Europe are there in the text) and maybe even romance (which I don't know enough about that genre to outline exactly what makes a novel romance).

    Even if there are historical parallels to reality in SOIAF, which are so marginal that no one would ever know unless it was outlined for them (or kind of like putting the Dark Side of the Moon CD as a soundtrack to Wizard of Oz)… SOIAF doesn't need a "this is more than what it is" tag on top of a novel. It's good enough as a book, no matter what genre it's tagged under.

  • Forgive me, as I have not read every post, but has there been any discussion about "Game of Thrones" vs. "A Game of Thrones"? The latter just sounds better to me, and of course to GRRM.

  • @myself although as they say…."that destrier has already left the garrison".

    *chuckling to himself at his overinflated sense of cleverness*

  • @hayryckman

    My nerdy fake posters included the "A" because I think it is the wise way to go about it. However, I think the HBO show is going to eschew the all-important vowel, and just call it "Game of Thrones".



  • I can't tell if it is because I am USED to saying AGOT or if it is just clumsy. Can we start a t-shirt/email campaign: "Bring the vowel back!"

  • I'm going with Game of Thrones because:

    A) (see what I did there) It's what HBO seems to be doing.


    B) It allows me to differentiate between Game of Thrones (the show) and A Game of Thrones the first book in ASoIaF.

    Also, I do like it better than simply Thrones, which I believe had been suggested before.

  • @Paul

    Didn't think of it that way.

    Also, perhaps using the book 1 name verbatim would be too strict, when you get to the later seasons.

    It might be just enough distinction to keep the meaningness of the bigger plot (which is, indeed a game of thrones) and give the show a little ownability.

    What about:

    The Things I Do For Love


    It could be sort of an epic dramedy frought with bastards and punchlines!!





  • Ryan,

    Perhaps the "A" was dropped because calling the series by the name of the first book would be seen to "jinx" it to one season. (Sort of a play off of what you said at the top there.)

  • maybe if george lucas was on board it could be called:

    Star Wars: The Revenge of the Game of Thrones.

    or if spielberg got involved:

    Tyrion Lannister and the Adventure of the Thrones.

    just some other ideas for nomenclature. actually, i think we should just stick with:

    Game of Thrones.

    that sounds more…. HBO to me.


    *more crickets*


  • Any love for:

    George RR Martin's Night of the Living Thrones?

    George RR Martin's Dawn of the Thrones?

    George RR Martin's Day of the Thrones?

    George RR Martins's Land of the Thrones?

    George RR Martins's Diary of the Thrones?

    Did I really need to list all of those?

    Oh look, some of Ryan's crickets…….

  • That Show with the Really Smart Dwarf and That Legless Kid…What? Okay He Has Legs, Sure…That Kid Who Talks to Wolves or Whatever…Warg? What Does Warg Mean? You're Such a Dork, Gude.

  • Nice!!

    You've Got Throne

    She's Got a Game

    Throneless in Seattle

    and a greatest hit:

    The 40 YeR Old Winter



  • Our Headless Brother…
    Sep. 30th, 2009 at 5:33 PM

    … has been a pig, a roach, and a fat friend. He's been known to hang about with highlanders, rabbits, and dwarfs.

    Just sayin'
    Mood: mischievous


  • He was also in two episodes of Red Dwarf, which i'm guessing will be the dwarf clue and Rabbit is the only one I'm not sure on, but he once played a character called Warren and rabbits live in warrens.

    James Cosmo
    Appeared in Braveheart (member of Wallace's band who gets his hand chopped off but keeps fighting) and Highlander. Also appeared as Father Christmas in the first Narnia movie, which I believe covers dwarfs and possibly rabbits.
    Played Thelonious (whom I think is a pig) in Babe: Pig in the City.
    Stumped on "roach", though.

  • Heavenly Sword, a 2007 video game.

    And yeah, didn't see the Roger Rabbit clue, that'll make more sense that rabbits live in Warren, lol!

  • The Headless Brother is Gared I guess.

    A reasonably known face to be killed off early on (though I would have had no idea of his name).

  • Yeah, has to be Gared for this role.

    Wonder if we'll get more clues for the others today, or if they'll be no bodies and thus we wont get clues?

    Did anyone tell GRRM we've guessed it super fast again? I really should get a Livejournal so I can do it myself….

  • Your not sorry.

    I confess, I actually had it at 9:50, but since I got it last time I wanted to give yee others a chance. Well done though legion. 10mins isn't bad, I guess.

  • I'm guessing we still have:



    Septa Mordaine



    Either Bran or Drogo

    Plus the random like eunuch and red headed whore, but they dont count.

  • Do we still need a Jory?

    Other than Bran and Drogo I really want to see who they cast for Illyrio. I have no clear picture of him in my mind.

  • Oh yeah, Hullen and Jory are the talking Stark household parts I think (can't be bothered to check the script atm).

    Good call Jillian

  • I imagine that Hodor (almost wrote Modor there) will be introduced in the 2nd episode (hopefully we get there).

  • Dang! One conversation with my wife and I miss the whole game! Well, family relations are important. Nice job, Legion! Off to let my daughter throw things at me.

  • Some1 needs to push Omid Djalili forward. Who is incharge of dealing with agents here? And some1 has to pimp him off to GRRM and D&D as well.

  • Oh, I'm still betting that Drogo is the major we have yet to fill, for the reasons outined earlier. (No clue might be because Bran's actor is unknown, very little Sue, Drogo's scenes might get filmed later, etc.) Not of those factors is good enough on its own, but as a whole, it makes me think that's the case.

  • Two good actors there, although I hope it's Ridings as (no offence to Ridings, who is a decent actor in his own right), James Cosmo is an actor I'd prefer to see in a longer-term role later on. He'd be on my list for Tywin (although a fair bit further down than Dale and Dance) but could also do Balon Greyjoy, Hoster Tully or any one of a number of older warrior roles.

    Cosmo may be slightly more likely though, as he was in TROY as a senior Trojan general and David Benioff would obviously know his work from then.

  • Omid Djalili? Great comedian and actor. But for what role? Varys? Could work. Also maybe Xaaro (although that's some way down the line).

  • Really? He looks a more like Varys (bald, erm, somewhat rotund). Ilyrio I always envisaged as someone more grand and magisterial.

    I just had a major brainwave: if James Cosmo isn't Gared, he would be an absolutely brilliant Barristan Selmy.

  • I imagine that Hodor (almost wrote Modor there) will be introduced in the 2nd episode (hopefully we get there).

    There are ways they can insert Hodor back into the first episodes via editing once it goes to series. It would not be hard at all to slip a few shots of him doing some random stable-boy stuff around Winterfell, maybe a reaction shot here or there to other stuff happening on screen, if they really want to.

    I'm certain they will wait until it goes to series to cast him.

  • Yeah, I was following up on legion's comment. He would be great cos there needs to be an element of comedy in that role to compliment the tension when he is around. Well, I always felt a tension due to having no idea what he was playing at. He seems to be playing every1 and I have no idea why. Probably trade. Anyway, a comedian would be good in that role to play on that.

  • I have overtaken Gude & legion in the most posts least life competition. The victory is bitter sweet, at best.

  • I'm more on the side of Ian McNeice myself, just because he fits my idea of the character more. Plus, I loved him in Funny Bones.

    Still, I'd be happy with either of 'em.

  • In interest of equal time (plus self-interest), I sent a note about this thread to Ian McNeice's agent as well.

  • I son't want to sound like a complete bitch, but I saw McNeice recently in the AWFUL Day of the Dead remake/adaption.

    The guy may have been acting, as his character was meant to have a cough, but he was so large he struggled to get his lines out if he had to walk and talk or if he walked between locations and saying something.

    Like I say, totally may have been acting, but equally, may be a bit too big for an active role……although granted Illyrio hardly moves though.

  • Ha!

    Now I feel I should delete my comment in case poor Mr McNeice was just acting and here I was accusing him of being overly over large!

    He's always been a big guy, blatantly just acting. Ignore me, lol.

  • Richard Ridings is Gared. He was in the series Fat Friends. He had roles in Red Dwarf, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Highlander.

  • Legion, I keep looking at Richard Ridings and thinking the same thing:

    Both you AND the casting department nailed this one. Yet more proof that just because someone can figure this stuff out fast doesn't mean it doesn't take some amount of skill.

    (Yeah, I know, self-serving to the very end.)

  • Also, don't think I haven't been a wee bit self-conscious about going "Fans of the book think he'd be GREAT for this character!" and then have the first part of the description read:

    "He is immensely fat…"

    Same issue as when we tell someone she'd be perfect for Brienne.

  • Good point. I talked to my wife, a stage actress, about how folks would feel about that. She mentioned to me that there are actually contracts for people on TV shows that say they can't lose weight. So where a stage actor would maybe want additional reasons to play a role than just "It's a fat guy," a TV/Film actor would be very used to getting things like that passed his or her way.

  • I'm watching Kjærlighetens kjøtere right now. Stellan Skarsgård is doing some pretty amazing things.

    Has anyone mentioned him for Tywin already? I seem to remember them mentioning him for something like that, although Kevan might be more appropriate.

    Regardless, after watching him in this I realized he could be Yoren as well. Worth a check.

  • Funny, I imagined Gared to be more scrawny for some reason. Glad we have another one pinned down, this was amazingly quick :) Well done.

    Jeyne Pool alongside Jory and Hullen is another speaking role to add to Legion's list, and then we have the non-speaking roles still missing: the three youngest kids, and Beth (Cassel's daughter). These should be coming about one a day now, close as we are to shooting …

  • I think the role of Hodor would be much sought after because he has to convey the gamut of emotions and can only says "Hodor". I think some actors would jump at the chance to show what they could do with just one word. IMHO

  • gared was definitely rotund, and i wonder whether they got the idea for ridings from his role in The Brothers Grimm.

    Ridings in Grimm.

    Just sayin'.

    Nice work @legion btw, and not to diminish the sheer speed of your results, but this one was quite easy!


  • i meant definitely NOT rotund, at least, not by book description.

    "But the man they found bound hand and foot to the holdfast wall awaiting the king's justice was old and scrawny, not much taller than Robb. He had lost both ears and a finger to frostbite, and he dressed all in black, the same as a brother of the Night's Watch, except that his furs were ragged and greasy."
    (AGoT – BRAN – p.11)

    but i DO think the brothers grimm connection may have won ridings the part regardless.


  • Is there a description of Gared in the Prologue? How long has he been on the run from the Others and from justice? Long enough that his furs have gone ragged and greasy. I don't think Mormont would stand for that.

  • @Robert

    But it has to fit all the clues and I think the roach is a stretch. Now if George had said "bug"…

  • You too, Ryan?

    Sigh. I still think talking about how easy a clue is once the answer is posted isn't fair. It seems like a guess is thought of as "easy" to me once someone has proved the person is correct and there are clear clues to the person. It's a lot easier to forge a path to the clues once doubt is eliminated. The "Boney Pop Singer" clue would have been thought of as easy if IMDB had listings for unknown actresses.

    If it were REALLY easy, would people still be posting incorrect guesses?

  • Still, I get it.

    Legion himself was pining for questions like the "wax off" one, and I totally get it. It was something that involved a few more leaps than just figuring out the names of roles someone had played. I just don't believe doing that is as easy as everyone thinks.

    I sometimes wish for a hidden registry where you can put in your guess and lock in the time it was made without revealing your answer until the end. That way, people can determine for themselves how easy it is to get the answer.

    But, that would take away the whole community discussion that happens while finding the answer. "What about this person?" "Naw, it couldn't be them because _________!"

    I do enjoy that sort of thing, and think it's one of the reasons why we're so good at these things.

    So, I guess as long as the clues are solved quickly, I'll have to learn to deal with my issues with the "that one was easy!" crowd.

    Again, hopefully the next one is a "wax off" type of clue so that the solver can get a little bit more of a feeling of accomplishment from all fronts.

  • The minute he said 'Fat Friends' I guessed he meant the UK show. Had I been American, that might have been harder as I dunno if it was showed over there or if you had your own version or whatever.

    I don't take offence as to people saying this one was easy, cos frankly, I thought it was. I was more impressed with myself for getting Iain Glen and, oddly enough, and most impressed with me cracking what the wax off clue meant after the Lena Headey stuff was released.

    Either way, I love posting guesses and such, so hope we get a nasty clue set at some point, but equally, I love being right and so am not going to complain about easy ones that I get first, lol!

  • Yeah, Legion, we don't have that show in the US (as far as I know), and to be fair, my level of admiration goes:

    1) Headey
    2) Iain Glen
    3) Gared

    The thing I liked about Iain Glen was that once you got him, the rest of the choices kind of fell into place.

  • I'm hoping for more of a mass cluing a la "the secret seven." Makes for many more possibilities when you don't know which character goes with which clue.

  • oh yeah? well……

    well, well i hypothetically guessed lena headey to be cersei on a fluke before it was announced. translation: i'm so good i can ACCIDENTALLY get it right, so there.


    crickets, are you out there?



  • Ryan, like I said when that happened, I think you mentioned her as a favorite of yours even before you used her as a hypothetical guess, right?

    To me, that's pretty cool.

  • @Gudenspiel

    Yes, she was always my Cersei, since the beginning. So it didn't matter who guessed it right, it was a win/win for me!