Casting George R. R. Martin News

Loras cast, GRRM confirms and promises more

Finn Jones is indeed our Loras Tyrell, the rumour was solid! George R.R. Martin confirmed the casting on his blog. Here is the most relevant part of the post:

I suppose I could still hint around about this… something about holly and oaks and a bill, I guess… but it seems rather pointless, since (1) you guys would solve such hints in about twelve seconds, and (2) the answer has already leaked out on Twitter and has been picked up by some of the fan sites.

So instead I’ll just confirm the reports. We have our Knight of Flowers. The part of Ser Loras Tyrell in the HBO series GAME OF THRONES will be played by Finn Jones.

Jones is a talented young British actor whose previous credits include the long-running British soap opera HOLLYOAKS and a cop show called THE BILL. I haven’t seen either of those myself, but I have seen Finn’s audition for Ser Loras (the scene where Loras confront Jaime and Brienne at the gates of the Red Keep), which was terrific.

GRRM continues to tell us our reports were slightly premature. While Jones had been chosen for the role earlier, the official deal was only closed recently. He explains the casting process more in detail and gives us hope for more news soon:

There should be more casting news soon, by the way. Another five or six parts have been cast and approved… but the negotiations are still ongoing with the actors in question and their representatives, so I will say no more. You’ll have to wait. (But David and Dan and Nina have found some great people, so the wait will be well worth it).

Hear Me Roar: Great, the long awaited casting news is here. The first bit at least … I am sure we all hope the pace will not grind down to a halt again. More is promised, George is excited, and we are looking forward to it. I must admit I thought several more actors have already been signed on, but apparently no other contract has been finalized as yet. It is encouraging to know that HBO has not been holding back any such information. And George, even if we are good at clues, please continue to entertain us with them in the future! Thank you.

UPDATE: Finn Jones gives thanks for support on Twitter. Another fan of the books among the cast!

Thanks for the supportive tweets! I’m a HUGE fan of the books, it’s such a privilege to be able to bring one of GRRMs characters to life, especially The Knight of Flowers, BRING IT ON!


  • Fantastic news. Partly because he looks like an excellent Loras, partly because they're considering scenes much, much later in the series, and partly because, well, someone has FINALLY been cast beyond the pilot and others are seemingly soon to be also.

  • I think the reason for them using the Loras/Brienne/Jaime scene is that before Feast Loras doesn't have any very interesting scenes. He's much more of a background character for the first three books, with just a few lines here and there, though he looms larger in terms of his actions, perhaps, because of the tourney scene, his presence at Renly's camp, etc. But until book four, his lines are scant.

    It would be nothing to take those scenes from the book and quickly render them into script pages. They need not be the final version of that scene in the show, 4 seasons from now, but for casting it's useful.

    • He has some reasonably complex interactions with both Sansa and Tyrion in CoK, iirc. But I suppose once you're going to the second book, you may as well go to the third.

      One thing it has made me think about, as much as I'd like scenes to fangirl over,it'd be kind of brilliant if they included the scene that is told by Loras in SoS where


      he buries Renly (seemingly alone) at some secret isolated place – could be majorly heartbreaking, especially if shown against contrasting scenes elsewhere in Westeros


      • Sounds like a very touching scene. My only concern would be wether or not the brother of a King (traitor or not) would be allowed to be buried in secret. It seems that its more likely the body would be taken to the silent sisters and buried where the royal family is buried. Though after the pandemonium caused by SPOILER Renly's final scene, it might have been easy enough for Loras to sneak him away. I'd also like to give the Loras and Renly relationship a little bit more of a looksee in GoT than we do in the books. Maybe a compromising situation between the two of them after the Hand's tourney or even a look between them before Loras tilts with Gregor. Also in season two, a tender scene between them before all the frakas starts would go a long way establishing his character's motivation as well as painting his loathing for Brienne in a much clearer focus than is apparent at first in the books. The subtlity works very well in the books, but it might be something that needs to be made a little more obvious when translating to TV.

        • It's definitely how it goes down in the books:

          “I buried him with mine own hands, at a place he showed me once when I was a squire at Storm’s End. No one shall ever find him there to disturb his rest.” (Loras to Jaime in ASoS)

          And given Joffrey had designated a spike for his head by the end of the first book, it seems more plausible.

        • When season three airs, they're going to have to rename television. TeleStark, or maybe WTF!?!-vision.

    • Indeed. The confrontation is the first scene in which he really needs to act. Unless they flesh out his character some in earlier episodes of course.

      That scene is from Storm of Swords btw, not Feast :)

      • The fleshing out of Loras is an interesting act. My hunch would be that indeed they establish the character much earlier with some sort of something so viewers aren't left either why dude keeps getting on camera when we don't know who he is or just not noticing him at all.

        I confess it makes me quite curious about how the mechanics of how the series is being written.

          • So it is. I actually am a lot more confident of it than fleshing out Jaime. Loras is a more plain character and the danger of giving away too much too soon or making him too appealing to the audience isn't really considerable. I think it would be sensible not to enhance Renly/Loras at the early stage, for if certain kinds of people see Loras being gay from the beginning, that's all they can ever see in him. It would be interesting to know what kind of Hound are we going to get. Loras could easily represent ‘the knight of dreams’ to the Hound’s ‘knight of nightmare’, be around every time he is and come out as more chivalrous, more eloquent etc.

            Did Loras btw leave KL with Renly, or earlier/later? I can’t recall.

          • *** "THE WIRE" SPOILERS***
            If you haven't seen "The Wire" there are potential spoilers below.

            If we look at "The Wire," we see two different ways of dealing with gay characters that ensure people don't focus solely on their sexual orientation.

            With Omar Little, they pretty much overloaded him with awesomeness, so that his homosexuality was just one aspect of the entire package. People who may have been turned off by that aspect of him (I like to think we're sort of past that, but know there are still some issues) had his general gunslinger attitude to confound any prejudice they might have.

            With Bill Rawls, the audience isn't aware of the fact the character is gay until season three, when he's seen in a gay bar enjoying a drink, happy and comfortable. This revelation has very little impact on his role in the series.

            ***END WIRE SPOILERS***

            I honestly hope they're going to split the difference with Loras and Renly, and not reveal anything until the "Prayer" scene. I think it's the perfect place, especially with the hints just before that where Renly is ignoring Margaery at the Feast at Bitterbridge.

            I mean, they could decide to "let us in" on their relationship earlier, but it might be nice to parallel the series with when it starts to become apparent in the books.
            ***END SPOILERS***


            I haven't gotten a chance to see The Wire yet, but I read the spoilery stuff anyway. So without a better knowledge about it, I hope that HBO will take the Bill Rawls-esque approach. Loras is a minor character and that's why I doubt they can overload him with awesomeness – he won't be having enough screen time for that. He's relationship with Renly has a lot of impact on his character, but the key is that he loved him, not that he loved him in a gay way. I agree that the "Prayer" scene is a good starting point if HBO chooses to show us more.

    • Thanks Brude, I just mixed up Feast and aSOS.
      But still, does this confrontation with Brienne and Jaime came along in the Feast or at the end of aSos?
      I am just curious about it, cause I tend to forget so many details.

      And once again: Yeah! We should have some more casting news soon, maybe even during the next week.

      • You know, it might have been from aSoS, that scene. I'm not certain…either way, it's later in the series and not a scene they've actually written. That was my main point.

        • So you are saying you know every scene that has been written? (metric tons of irony)

          (robs Brude's drafts, just in case they exist)

      • I don't think he seems very attractive, but I'm a guy so my opinion doesn't really matter I suppose. However, I asked my wife (who had also read the books) and she expected Loras to be much better looking – more like Orlando Bloom as Legolas in LOTR. However, I think if they give Fin a pretty wig (similar to the one Bloom wore) he may have more of that "pretty" look that my wife and others seem to expect of Loras.

          • I think Orlando Bloom has much more delicate features. I also thought of Loras as having delicate facial features, but I imagine that was just my imagination. Even if it weren't, I don't think it will matter too much.

  • Nice to get some semi-news. Happy about this Loras. Not sure about his acting (but apparently the casting people are) but he is one the best fits lookwise so far.

  • I am a bit confused on where George says "the scene where Loras confront Jaime and Brienne at the gates of the Red Keep." I am not even half way through the third book and don't recall this scene happening from what I have read so far? So the season will be A Game of Thrones, but scenes from books beyond Thrones will be used in the first season?

    • As Brude said, it's a scene used for casting purposes, taken from later material because it's a strong scene and there aren' t many that Loras has earlier. So they made sure to get themselves an actor that can carry that scene if (hopefully WHEN) the time comes, which is great.

    • Chris, see my posts above and The Rabbit's, as well. This scene won't be in the first season. They needed a scene with good dialogue for Loras and since there aren't any in the early books, they used something from either ASOS or AFFC (not sure which it's from, at the moment) just for casting purposes.

    • I think they are just choosing scenes that define the particular character in question from all of the source material available. As (I think it was) Brude pointed out, Loras isn't very much of a dialogue-heavy role in the first few books (seasons). In order to help the cast an appropriate actor they need to give him a scene that shows the actor can bring the character to life. There is nothing in GoT that really fits the bill for Loras.
      Also, I woudn't expect the actual scene he read for to appear exactly the way Finn read for it when(if) the time comes to film that scene there may have been countless rewrites. They could likely write the scene over from scratch. They could even cut it out entirely. The point is that the need somethng for the auditioning actor to show off their craft and sometimes GoT(the book) won't have enough dialogue to fit the bill.

      • Exactly. It's really not much different from having Dany or Sandor read scenes from later on in Season One when casting for the pilot before the series was picked up.

    • Less than half way through book 3? I demand a report of your feelings about the book when you finish! :) A "Holy Shiznit" will suffice.

  • I might be jumping the gun a little but GRRM mentions 5-6 more roles have been cast and are in final negotiations and if you look at the list he gives in his previous post concerning roles still being cast, Tywin, Littlefinger, Varys, Ser Barristan, Renly, Lysa, Shae, The Bear, Bronn and Sam are excluded. I wonder if the 5 or 6 are from this group.
    Oh, and love the choice for this Finn Jones, he is a pretty boy the girls will swoon over and from the video clips he show's promise as an actor, so thumbs up.

    • I think that's a fair guess. I noticed those missing names too and thought maybe those were done (or close enough to done).

      If offers are out to those actors and contracts being passed back and forth for corrections, etc. I'd expect them to be signing next week (if all goes well in negotiations, of course). That's a reasonable amount of time to expect these things to get done in my experience. That doesn't mean we'll hear about it next week. Depends on how HBO wants to handle this.

    • I woud guess, that these roles are among the characters who would appear in the pilot reshoot, or 2 or 3 episode from the beginning of the series.


      It is probable that we are going to see Loras for the first time in the episode 3.
      I ll go with guess that we are very close to have Jory Cassel, Septa Mordanne,and some members of the Night-Watch, maybe even Renly and Ser Barristan.

      !End of spoiler!

      I am lokking forward to have a lot of fun in guessing not even the actors, but as well, the characters.

    • Yeah, I like this choice as well. He has a good combination of youthness and certain innocence. Though I'm not sure will the girls find this Loras to be more swoon-worthy than Jon or Robb, but I guess that doesn't matter so much.

  • We're now only little more than a month before the start of principle photography on the series, so we're definitely into crunch time for getting some of these actors on board. Costuming, rehearsals, fight choreography and all those other things that come before the series shoots will have to start happening soon.

    Certainly, some characters who enter the show in later episodes won't need to be ready so presently, but many, many will.

    • "principal" photography. Its all about the principalities, though, yo!

      Honestly, please continue posting. Your insights & info are invaluable.

  • SPOILERS(God I hate having to type that like every post ;P)!!!
    Why episode 3 Rabbit? Is the Hand's tourney that soon in the likely plot? If I'm not mistaken that's our first shot of Loras. Is that right or does he come in earlier?

  • Finn certainly is a fitting Loras. He resembles a young Orlando Bloom. Very nicelooking.

  • Thanks Lucy! I actually seemed to recall that scene as I was writing the comment, but I wasn’t. sure if } was making it up in my head or not. Anyway, it only serves to make your suggestion even better! It will be especially poignant if the precede it with a scene or two of secret tenderness between Renly and Loras. It’ll make for some great acting oportunities and give HBO a chance to handle some very delicate subject matter in a thoughtful mature way seldom seen on tv. The Renly-Loras story is truly a hidden gem in the main plot to let two actors (and the series) shine!

    • Knowing HBO, I think there will definitely be some sort of sex scene between the two. Probably in season two after they've hinted at it first subtly, then blatantly.

  • Yay for casting news! I like this guy. He has a little bit of an androgynous look that will work nicely for the character, I think, and offer interesting visual contrasts with characters like the Hound, Renly, and maybe even Joffery. Cool beans.

  • Before knowing the reasons of her departure…
    What a nice couple will Tanzim make as Margaery!

  • Does anyone know, yet, why Tamzin Merchant was ousted as Daenerys? I was unsure about her casting decision, but eventually grew to like the idea. Now I have to grapple with this new creature they've picked.

    I think I'd never be outright satisfied – the part is uncastable in my head.

    Great choice for Loras. I hope this show does not suffer the same problem I feel the Tudors does – so many FACES floating around, but I can never remember their names. HBO Thrones fans won't have the benefit of a handy genealogy to refer back to, to keep it all straight.

  • The reasons why an actor leaves/is fired from a movie or why one gets cast over another are simply things that are never discussed publicly because they have the potential to hurt an actor's career. If it's something mundane and outside anyone's control (not due to performance, basically) you might hear about it, or if the actor wants to discuss it, but otherwise it will probably always remain mystery to us.

  • Curious comment from Martin in the link:
    "Sometimes, in between the audition and the callback and the final offer, the actor gets another job… a movie or another TV show (you and I may think it mad, but truth is, most actors would prefer, say, a lead in another production to a supporting part in ours)… and elects to take that instead. Lots of things can happen."

    Could this be what happened with Merchant and Ehle? According to wiki, Merchant is currently filming a period film called Jane Eyre. Ehle is starring in a film and major play this year. Perhaps they decided to pursue these bigger roles instead of committing to what could possibility be a long term project.

    • It definitely sounds like the above situation happened with SOMEONE, otherwise why would GRRM describe it in such detail?

      • I agree. I think that it's actually more likely with Merchant than Ehle, since Emilia Clarke is a good "replacement" to Merchant. Michelle Fairley is more different from Ehle, so I could believe they consciously decided to take a somewhat different approach to Catelyn's character than they originally intended.

    • It does not have to be any we have heard about yet. Could be someone that auditioned for Littlefinger or whatever. Also – GRRM have seemed a little upset about losing Tamzin. I don't think he would have been complaining about it if she herself decided to leave. Seems more like a "we had the perfect girl, and you let her go, HBO!"

    • It's very similar to something he posted last August:

      "And of course, casting a role is not just a matter of picking an actor. Even after you decide who you want, there are offers and counter-offers, contract negotiations, a whole delicate dance that goes on. It is never wise to leak things prematurely. Sometimes that can actually throw a monkey wrench into the process."

      To be honest, he had the same caution about not getting excited about the series getting picked up, and about entirely different projects:

      "I never like to announce anything until the contracts are signed. Superstition, I suppose, but it has served me in good stead. It's embarrassing to tell the world about some exciting new deal or book or spin-off, and then have the thing fall apart on you."

      At the core, he's basically just advising caution like he always does. The example he gives simply serves to illustrate that.

      As to whether it applies to Merchant and Ehle, what he's describing is the audition process. I'd be more inclined to believe that if he's describing an actual event, it occurred during the casting one of the current open roles.

      Then again, the idea that an event like this would absolutely have to happen for GRRM to be able to conceive of and describe it in detail doesn't fully take his profession into account. I agree that it's very likely something like the scenario he described happened, but it could be just as plausible that he was simply imagining it when thinking of a way to impress upon people why they shouldn't put too much faith in leaks.

  • I can't wait for the prancing mare meets bastard stallion scene…They need to cast a monster Gregor who looks like he could eat Finn in one bite!

    Congrats on landing Loras! I'm sure you'll do us fangirls proud!

  • Just noticed the update where Finn Jones says he's a "HUGE fan of the books". That's awesome!

    • Yes. We got a little more from him than the standard enthusiasm that actors are "required" to show when they take on a new role. He seems pretty genuine.

      Not that i have any particular distrust in others that have said they're fans. And also, it does not truly matter anyway, as long as they give a kick ass performance. Buuut, its pretty cool to see for us WiC-followers, isn't it?

  • OT, but does anyone have any book recommendations? I've tried several series as a followup to ASOIAF but I've been really underwhelmed. Looking for something fantasy/medieval history feeling

    I have summer session starting tomorrow (and I'm taking 7 units :( ) so some recreational reading at the ready will probably be really beneficial to me, but I'm postponing my ASOIAF re-read until book 5 is announced… so sometime around when hell freezes over and never.

    • I really liked Joe Abecrombie's First Law Trilogy, and R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing. Each are pretty epic but very different. Haven't really found too much else I have liked.

      • yeah if you like martin you will like abercrombie hell its almost getting to the point that i like abercrombie more his resent books have been better than martens recent books

      • I read The First Law trilogy. I really enjoyed the first book a lot and Glotka is a great character.

        The second book was mostly very good, too and the whole plot with Crown Prince Ladisla in the North was a lot of fun, especially. I did have issue with the end of the second book – I know what Abercrombie was trying to do with it, but it really didn't work for me. It might work well for others though.

        The third book in the series really left me cold, though. Without getting all spoilery, I found the 'point' Abercrombie was trying to make, such as it was, to be kind of crudely handled. It seemed to be nihilism for nihilism's sake, and I was just left wondering 'why.' It didn't entertain by the end, and just made me feel kind of gross and depressed without any other redeeming features. Also, besides Glotka, whom I liked despite myself, I felt nothing for any other character and didn't see any growth or change in any of them, save one, but even there it was all to naught in the grand scheme of things. His betterment didn't much matter in the end for anybody, least of all himself – hence the overwhelming sense of nihilism I was left with.

        There is much that is good about the series, for certain and I think it's worth a look for anyone, but for me the negatives ultimately outweighed the positives.

        • Couldn't agree with you more about the 3rd book leaving you "cold." It had a good run up, and I was interested to find out how he was going to wrap things up, but he essentially gave us an unsatisfying ending where


          our long-concealed antagonist is, in the end, a childish/manipulative jerk that I simply didn't find believable (and certainly not compelling). Compare this with Martin's antagonists, who are pretty much across-the-board spectacular and believable, and I don't see how anyone can claim that Abercrombie's work is superior.

      • As Ashli I was searching for some books similar to the quality of aSoIaF. After some research I bought the Prince of Nothing trilogy, the first books of Abercrombie, Erikson and Rothfuss. I've only read the Prince of Nothing trilogy so far.

        Although I finished those three books in 2 months they didn't satisfy me. There are two main reasons for that I think: one is that Bakker's use of the english language is much harder to understand than Martin's. As english is not my first language it was very difficult for me to chew through the long poetic sentences he uses. And every page contained 10 words I simply did not know the meaning of so I never got in the flow like I normally do.
        Second reason is I didn't like the characters. I believe there are like 3 or 4 POV's and all except one annoyed the shit out of me. I liked the story but those characters actually stood in the way of loving the books and I finished the books just to know what happened to the one POV I actually did like.

        I'm now almost finished with Pillars of the Earth (also has the problem with annoying characters if you ask me), then onto Foucault's Pendulum. After that I'm starting on Rothfuss, only heard good things about that.

        • I might give Pillars a shot. I believe it's being made into a series (miniseries?) as well, and I like to try to read books before I see the film representation. (Lord of the Rings as an exception. I KNOW, I haven't read those yet, I can't believe I haven't either… maybe that should be next instead)

          • Haha, go read LOTR then. Leave the rest!

            Pillars is indeed made into a miniseries which will premier soon on Starz (?). Trailer looked crappy though. And I simply can't believe they can make a compelling series out of the book, because the timeline stretches over a couple of decades.

        • Foucault's Pendulum is a great book. Originally written in Italian, of course, but the English language translation is great as it was done by William Weaver, who's like the God of rendering Italian into English. I think he did all of Eco's work and most of Italo Calvino, and probably many others as well. I understand that Calvino, who was apparently pretty fluent in English, chose Weaver personally as his translator.

          Speaking of fantasy writers, you might try Calvino too, who more properly might be called a "fabulist," and not a fantasy writer. He's very brilliant. My favorite is his collection of short stories, all connected, called CosmiComics. The first story in this book, "The Distance of the Moon," is maybe my very favorite short story of all time.

    • Ok, first of all, Most fantasy is now ruined for you. Sorry, It's just the way it is.

      Given that:
      I'm reading Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, which, while it has an even bigger epic scope, lots of politics, and all the sad gory tales we all love from Martin. Where it's different is the lack of those tiny forshadowing details we've come to love. Everything that is a mystery gets cleared up really quick, with no theorizing brainpower needed by the reader other than a huge memory to keep characters straight. Still a good read, though I'm not fanatical about it.

      What I AM fanatic about is the Baroque cycle series, Necronomicon, Snow Crash, and the Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. You just can't go wrong with those.

      Next recommendation is the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Grave Peril, in particular, is made of Pure Win.

      Last recommendation is the Black Company by Glen Cook. It's the story of a Mercenary company stuck working for that world's equivalent of a Nazgul with a contract to exterminate those pesky plucky rebels. Yet again, it's full of win.

      • Glen Cook wrote an earlier series, before The Black Company books, which I like much more. Called the Dread Empire series, it is worth a read if you can find the individual books, or look for the 2 volume omnibus collection.

        He's also in the middle of a new series called The Instrumentalities of the Night, with 2 books out and more to follow. A sort of alternate universe, twisted, almost-familiar but not quite the same story of the era of the early Crusades, but very much flavored by sorcery and fantasy.

    • 1. Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy (and further books, if you enjoy them)

      2. Guy Gavriel Kay ("A Song for Arbonne", "Tigana", "The Lions of Al-Rassan")

      3. Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen.

    • Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles Trilogy. Definitely the best King Arthur story ever (worth reading even if you have doubts about the subject)

      Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora is a fun read. Not epic, but very entertaining. The renaissance-esque city milieu is refreshing.

      If you take negative votes, I say The Prince of Nothing trilogy. There were only two characters you could care about and one entertaining bad guy, but otherwise it was very difficult to read (and I'm not talking about its philosophical stuff, but the wallowing in misery and overly done (sexual) violence)

      • I completely disagree about The Prince of Nothing. I found the characters human and the world believable, and given the setting of the story, the violence imo wasn't overdone. But what really made the book for me was precisely the philosophical approach which gave it an unique tone. The series wasn't an easy or always a pleasant read, especially as I'm not a native English speaker, but I see that only as a positive feature since it never failed to be interesting.

        • The Prince of Nothing isn't everyone's cup of tea, that's for certain. If it worked for you, then good for you :) But for me it sadly was one big disappointment (I'd read some praise for it, so I was interested to find out what kind of trilogy it was)

          I guess it could be said I don’t know what Bakker was exactly trying to say, but I know that his way to transmit the message was certainly too off-putting for me. After I finished the books, I came to read some of his interviews and some discussions about PoN, and then I understood better what he had in his mind. But I think that the books should’ve been enough. When I read them, they seemed too much of self-grating malaise and intellectual wankery. It’s one thing to deal with the subject (I do think that PoN has an interesting premise), another how to do it. For example, if all the female rapes had been dealt with the same subtlety than the one male rape (ie. had been less frequent and less explicit), I could have stomached his books better, but now I feel PoN asked too much and gave too little in return.

          Another thing is I wasn’t that impressed by the characters. Kellhus could have been interesting if he wasn’t loaded with so much Mary Sue-ness and if his philosophical ramblings have been shorter and less meant to show off. By the third book I started to skim through his monologues. At that point I was only curious to see what happened to Akka, Esmi, Conphas and Cnaiur, even though some of them had changed to be more of a caricature and less of a character. The rest were quite unimportant to me and seemed more like plot devices.

          I dunno, maybe I’ll take another shot at PoN someday to find out if it seems any better, but I certainly am not in a hurry to do so.

          • SPOILERS for PoN

            I just hoped Cnaiur would kill everyone off at the end, I got really tired of all the other characters. I really like your take on the books.

          • *Perhaps minor PRINCE OF NOTHING SPOILERS*

            Well yea, it has to be admitted that not all of the characters were 100% successful (and don't get me started on the naming of places). The least successful in my view were the female characters whose behaviour I found sometimes a little annoying. It's also quite obvious in some places that the books were Bakker's first novels. But I guess I forgive a lot of that for the original stuff that caught me, maybe because I've always been a sucker for philosophising, or intellectual wankery as you put it. :) I also liked the atmosphere of the books, and though there is the generic fight against recurring evil as plot driver, the Consult and the schools of magic are still something quite interesting.


          • I like PoN a lot, and would like to add a note of recognition for its amazing backstory. Reading the glossary is just as good as reading the main story.

            I also love how the backstory and the magic system are revealed so slowly, so that you're always wondering what's going on (kind of the like the first of half of The Matrix).

          • *spoiler warning*

            Hehe, I was probably too captivated with bashing and forgot to acknowledge the merits of PoN. I also liked the Consult and the schools of magic, but OTOH the world as a whole seemed somehow half-thought and/or lacking something. At least I couldn’t combine the pieces to be a working whole. Especially the women’s role in that world seemed artificial, and given the story goals, it should’ve been thought very carefully through. And yes, the female characters should’ve been more prominent and believable if you will (especially the granny Ikurei was nothing but a wasted opportunity)

            The fight against recurring evil wasn’t that problematic for me, since I thought it an exciting twist that we could see how Kellhus lured himself step by step into a high position. Too bad he was a way too boring character for me to get really care whether he succeeded or not. I agree that the main baddie, that god (can’t remember the name now) was too generic.

            If Bakker would’ve put more effort in developing his characters and also adjusted the world & his narrative style, PoN could’ve been amazing. It has some really good and exciting ideas but the realization didn’t definitely work for me. I dunno, if PoN would be adapted someday to a tv series or movies, perhaps it might be worth watching (I’d imagine they’d have to tone down the disturbing stuff (and perhaps the philosophy as well ;D), and the shallow characters could seem more real and human if someone brought them to life.)

            And pualo, I also liked the glossaries well enough (actually they felt better than the main story)

    • "Les rois maudits", ("the accursed kings" in english), by Maurice Druon, is not fantasy but history, but has the same kind of court plots and intrigues than in aSoIaF. A classic for the french, and a reaaaaaally great novel… and the closest book to aSoIaF I've read. Much better than Ken Follett's novels, in my opinion.

      It deals with the succession of the templar burner french king Philippe le Bel. And it was a real mess… that led ultimately to the hundred years war with our beloved england. There's poison, treasons, cheating queens, mad kings… a real delight :)

    • Greg Keyes – Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone – if you don't want something that gives away the plot to early.

      Or Brent Weeks – Night Angel trilogy – along the same vein as Hobb's Farseer, but the main character is a lot less self-involved (although I do love Hobb :-) )

      Scott Lynch is great – although if you do get into it be warned that he has only written two books, he does have a contract for another 4, but he hasn't written any in about 2 or 3 years.

      • About Scott Lynch, it's true that the series isn't finished, but the first LL book works also as a pretty good stand-alone, imo. Besides, I think I heard that the third book is to come next year, I mean, like, it really is.

        • Very true, Nemo. I recently gave the exact same recommendation to someone, I think on IMDb. I loved "Lies of Lock Lamora," it's a fantastically fun, and very well written book. Some very fun, memorable characters and great humor as well. I wish "Red Seas Under Red Skies" was on par – I think it could have been, but it seemed rather cheesy to me much of the time. I think a few tweaks could have made it great.

          • Agree with "Red Seas". I think Lynch wrote it too quickly and was perhaps trying a bit too much, but for some reason I find myself expecting "The Republic of Thieves" to be better. Normally I would be disheartened after a weaker follow-up, but in this case I'm eagerly expecting the third instalment and trusting it to be on par with the first. I don't know why, it's just a feeling.

          • I know he released a teaser for his next book not too long ago (late last year maybe), but I think amazon has put back the release date for it, plus I don't think he's mentioned it in his blog (that's not saying he hasn't written anything at all, he could have and just not put anything). I eagerly look forward to the next one, as I think Lynch is fantastic. But I'm expecting it and GRRM to come out around the same time, it'll be one of those sod's law things! :-)

    • I tried this earlier but intense debate seems to have eaten it. I'll give it another go…

      I've never really been a fan of epic fantasy. I didn't even read ASOIAF for years because of this despite being a huge GRRM fan all my life. If you are looking to branch out a little you might want to take a look at Dune by Frank Herbert or Robert Silverberg's Majipoor Chronicles. They are technically science fiction but they read very much like fantasy.

      Also, I always recommend Spin by Robert Charles Wilson to anybody and everybody who will listen – an absolutely fantastic book with amazingly well developed characters.

      If you are a gamer you should also take a look at This is not a Game by Walter Jon Williams.

      Couldn't agree more with the people who recommended World War Z. Maybe it's just I haven't been reading the right books but I have never seen a mockumentary novel (movies yes, but not a book). It really added to the realism of the story and I don't understand how it wasn't a finalist for the Hugo or Nebula.

      • the Amber series by Roger Zelazny is brilliant (especially the first 5 novels). Corwin is definitely one of the best characters ever written in fantasy.

        Zelazny's standalone novel Lord of Light is probably one of the best until today.

        the previously mentioned Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erickson is great.

        Prince of Nothing is simply unreadable.

        • I second Zelazny (though I haven't got a chance to finish the series yet). Corwin is hilarious.

        • Oh no! I was just setting up to read Erickson, but now I'm not so sure since you hate PoN which I love and think rivals Martin.

          • i might have exaggerated somewhat.. i read 2 books of PoN (maybe even started the 3rd i dont remember). it started nice and i thought that it is a nice setup for a good series, but as it went on i lost interest. too much whining and self loathing/pity. Erickson has those moments but overwhelms them with awesome humor and great action sequences.

          • Well, if it helps you, I might mention that Erickson didn't work for me. Tried the first book, but had to stop (I was like ??????? + zzzzzzzzzz)

          • I loved PoN and didn't really like Erikson. I think I managed to get through 4 or 5 of the Erikson books, but with effort. They maybe had 3 interesting chapters each, and the rest of it was as much fun, as, I dunno, sifting through the sands of Raraku desert trying to find that one coloured grain.

          • Lol, so far we got:

            one PoN disliker and Malazan liker
            one PoN disliker and Malazan disliker
            one PoN liker and Malazan disliker

            pualo, you could be the one who likes them both. Go for it!

          • We both dislike Bakker, too!

            Btw, have you ever tried The Stainless Steel Rat series by Harry Harrison? It’s scifi though, but highly amusing.

          • i started reading the first novel a while ago and was enjoying it, but had to return the book . gotta come back to it someday.

            i loved the Deathworld by Harrison though (i bet Cameron stole the concept of a collective living being that encompass the entire biosphere and fighting against the invaders from there).

          • Well, if you cannot be original, then it's best to steal from your betters :P

            Anyway, the reason I asked was that my friend who recommended me the Amber series advertised that they reminded of Stainless Steel Rat, and I came to agree pretty fast.

          • thats sounds great! because i haven't encountered anything that even closely resembled Amber. i guess i should try getting it, even though i barely got time to read these days.. (damn Master's studies -_-)

          • Well, I haven't finished the Amber series, so you should probably take my opinion with a grain of salt.

            I think that the greatest similarity is the attitude of the protagonist. And that's the main reason why both series are so brilliant, imo, but if you don't agree with this, perhaps you'll find them less alike than I do. But hopefully enjoyable enough :)

    • To add my two cents, I would recommend the stories of Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, by Andrzej Sapkowski. The first books ar a collection of short stories, much like Robert E. Howard's Conan, but then it evolves into a full fledge epic fantasy.
      It has been a HUGE success in its natal Poland, with a so-so series based on the books, a fantastic video-game, and so on.
      According to Wikipedia, only the first book , "The last wish" is translated into english, tough. But it's amazing, specially the short story that lends the book its title.

      • "Blood of elves" is also translating into english, but I haven't got it yet.

        I loved his collection of short stories, "The last wish", specially his twisted -and oh, so sad- version of Snowhite, "The lesser evil".

        And I agree, the video game is absolutetly fantastic.

    • Kate Elliott – Crown of Stars (7 books in the series – I think!) Great series. Her recent trilogy is great as well.

    • I recently read Ellen Kushner's book "Swordspoint – a melodrama of manners", and enjoyed it immensely. It's setting is an imaginary pre-industrial city, but it's not traditional fantasy as such. It's more an almost Austenisque description of its society's intrigues in high and low circles and between, but with even more humour and wonderful modern twists. Highly recommended.

  • Rothfuss is nice but it's the beginning of a series, and fans are eagerly awaiting the next installment. Sound familiar, anyone?

    For really excellent fantasy, albeit not of the medieval history type, try Stephen R. Donaldson's 'Thomas Covenant – the Unbeliever' series. There are two trilgies out and the third installment of the final tetralogy is due this autumn. Donaldson delivers on schedule ;-)

    The Covenant books have made me cry in public, and rage at the author. The prose is vivid, to the point where I can almost smell the rain and taste the dust, and though his main protagonist may be hard to like for some, give it a shot. Not for the squeamish, though. If you're a strictly standard fantasy, happy-ending type, don't try these.

    Also, a warning. The first book is difficult to get into. But give it a few hundred pages (ouch!) or until his transition into the Land and you should be fine :-)

    • I'm underwhelmed by Rothfuss. Kvothe is SUCH a Mary Sue, it's like if Twilight and Harry Potter had a baby but it looked a little bit like it's uncle The Belgariad . I'm actually 100 pages from the end, and there it sits on my bookshelf.

      I've heard about the Covenant series though, I'd probably give that a shot. I don't mind books that are tough to get into as long as they have a payoff.

      • Don't like Rothfuss, but it's probably the way he did The Name of the Wind as a first-person narrative–I just don't jive with that style in anything save perhaps a crime noir setting. It's like an anti-preference of mine.

        If you like your fantasy with a dash or two of depressed insanity, I highly suggest Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series, which I hold on par with the Elric of Melnibone books, as far as that goes.

        • The only fantasy or sci-fi writer with anywhere near the command of language that Donaldson has is Gene Wolfe (who is probably the most inscrutable writer i've read since Joyce). Covenant is awesome and I think Donaldson has only gotten better with age, I personally think his new work is tremendous.
          Other good fantasy writers I always like are Robin Hobb, Tad Williams (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is how i've always seen Jordan's books if he actually kept them confined to a trilogy), and of course Roger Zelazny. Seriously anyone who hasnt yet read Zelazny is doing a disservice to themselves.

          • Yeah, In the Name of the Wind was an odd read. I kept on telling my wife– it's not bad, it's well written enough, but there's no tension. He is a Mary Sue, that's true. I told her– "Remember the first 2/3 of every Harry Potter book? Where the book just meanders along merrily, and there's no real plot, but stuff just happens, and there's a mean older guy who's snarky, but you really like the world and the hero is pretty cute and nice? That's what this whole book is like. Then it ends before anything happens." LOL

            I mean, not a bad read and all, I had a good time, but nothing to write home about, IMO.

      • I have to agree, was really disappointed with Rothfuss. Boy loses parents, boy goes to wizard school, boy has special abilities etc. etc. Nothing new, nothing exciting or different, but might give you a good time if you like the kid stuff. I don't.

        In fact, here are my avoids:

        1.Rothfuss(look above)

        2.Robin Hobb: Fell for all the recomendations, but after reading Martin, its just a generic fantasy land with all the same characters you have read before. REALLY lite reading.

        3.Glen Cook: Like the first two really had to push to finish the book. Nice premise, but failed to pull me in, and had no wow factor for me.

        Its really hard to find anything good in this category after Martin, as said go for Abercrombie, Bakker, and for my sleeper pick, Theodore Judson's Fitzpatricks War, never read anything remotely like it.

  • Mods, my above post was meant as a reply to the previous post of Ashli, not as a new post in itself – any chance of having it moved there and having this deleted? :-)

  • It’s maybe not what your looking for but if it’s something original , I highly recommend World War Z…it’s Fantastic….I devoured that book !

    • I was reading World War Z in a doctor's waiting room, and when the Nurse called my name, I jumped about 60 feet in the air, I was soooo engrossed. It's an amazing read. I've actually heard someone accidentally refer to World War Z as a real war! haha.

  • Read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Its not fantasy, its historical, but its amazing…AND it will be a miniseries on Stars (with Ian McShane) next month. If you hurry you could finish the book in time for the first episode!

    • I love that book. I've also heard great things about the sequel World Without End, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. It's a lot like ASOIAF in that it's an unflinching look at what a medieval society is really like.

      • Seconded.

        Now I also remember Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It's a time-travel story to the Middle Ages and the frame story is set to an imagined near future. Very atmospheric.

  • FYI Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark) did a guest shot on this past week's episode of Merlin. Merlin is nothing like what Thrones looks to be shaping up as, but its always good to check out the talent while we wait.

    • Merlin is more of a kid's show, they put it on between 6-7pm, so it's one of those 'amuse the kids just before bed time' type shows. A bit like Dr Who.

  • I totally LOVE this guy. He is a perfect Loras, just imagine him in costume, with the armour and the flowers… Nice to hear he is a fan of the books too!

    (Please god, please, make HBO to show a little bit his of relationship with Renly!)

  • Congratulations to Finn Jones. He looks perfect for Loras Tyrell. I like this casting choice. And nice of him to tweet about the news, the books and the fan community too!

    Can't wait for the other 5-6 coming announcements and GRRM's clues!!! :)

  • I’m actually curious how anyone found it, since my blog sucks and I never advertise it anywhere! :)

    • Very cool, Lex. Well done! You could probably update the Sophie Turner pic with the one (don't know where I saw it though) where they photoshopped her with red hair. That was a pretty spot-on Sansa. Also you could update the Jack Gleeson pic with a still from that movie he just did rather than that old one from Batman.

      I've bookmarked your blog, and will direct people to it when they ask for a comprehensive cast list that includes artistic renderings of the characters. (Still waiting for …ryan to update his Lifting Faces GoT page.)

  • Finished watching the Merling with Mawle. As usual is a ho-hum cliche-ridden episode of mundane fantasy (oxymoron or is it?). I paid particular attention to Mawle though and I can see him doing Benjen very well. His acting ability almost seemed overqualified for the role.
    Here is a really odd request. Since we are talking other books, can anyone recommend a good novel that takes place in Barcelona? I’m heading out there on a cruise next week and I’d love to read something that goes along with my trip. Cathedral by the Sea has been recommended. Does anyone know it ot can you offer a different suggestion?

    • I've heard a lot of praise for "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Haven't read it myself, but it is on my to-read list. The same goes with Pablo Tusset's "The Best Thing That Can Happen to a Croissant"

          • Please, if you ever think of approaching northern Spain, let me know! I'd be thrilled to meet a fellow Wic Commenter!

            And, besides that, we're sure worth visiting. Northern Spain is nowhere like the rest of the country. We don't have bullfights, or flamenco or other typical things. What we have is great people, great climate (seldom passing over 27ºC on a summer day), and great great food indeed!

          • You're so right, Caedes! Northern Spaniards… We are the best people in the country! haha ;)

          • It would be pleasure to meet some of the WICs commenters-but I thing we are planning to visit some of the islands (Mallorca perhaps),because I am very weird sort of Rabbit :D – I adore swimming in the sea (espcially warm sea).

      • "The Shadow of the Wind" is a unbelievable novel! I highly recommend it, not only because it's located in Barcelona, but the story is beautiful and the characters are brilliant. You can also learn a lot from this novel about the old Barcelona. Give it a try! Perhaps the best novel I've ever read in Spanish…

    • "The Cathedral of the Sea" is a widely popular historical novel, but I have read it and didn't find its appeal. "The Shadow of the Wind" is tolerably good the first time you read it. Then you start reading Zafon's other novels and find exactly the same atmosphere, whether the novel takes place in Barcelona or in Bombay, and the same story, again and again.

      There is a wonderful detective novel, "Southern Seas", by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, which takes place in the Barcelona of the 1980's. The author was awarded the most prestigious (at that time) literary prize in Spain for this novel, and it is a far better read than the other two novels.

      • I didn't like "Cathedral of the Sea" either. Seemed lika a Pillars of the Earth wannabe to me.
        I love "Tha Shadow of the Wind". It's absolutely wonderful.
        I recommend it specially for those of you who are taking spanish language studies. The way the people talk on that novel shows how much the ordinary language can change in less that a century's time.

    • Thanbks for all the wonderful suggestions. I think I might check out Shadow of the Wind. As far as visiting northern Spain, I would love to, but alas, we only have one day prior to the cruise and one day after it. If we ever get back to Spain though I might just take you up on the offer!

  • Not much seems to slip by da rabbit01…has me wondering if she’s a part of CSIS lol

  • Off topic but I saw that HBO officially has True Blood season 4 slated for next summer. Possible GOT pairing? Or maybe seasonal overlap?

  • **Somewhat spoilerish**

    Just curious. In all the casting stuff that GRRM has mentioned, has he suggested anywhere that he's looked at video for Lord Beric Dondarrion? I don't remember any such thing. This could mean a few things:

    1) It slipped his mind when making his lists – no indication his lists have been exhaustive.
    2) Beric was already cast or is nearing completion.
    3) Beric won't start showing up as a character until 2nd or maybe even 3rd season (just referred to before then as a rumor, maybe). They could just make him a Riverlands lord whose taken up arms vs. the Lannisters, not get into Ned sending him out after Gregor.
    4) He's being written out of the story completely, and we'll have a less complicated situation in the Riverlands, maybe with a different sort of BwB or no BwB at all?

    Another question along the same lines…any word on Thoros of Myr as well?

    • I hope that 3) isn't true. I liked his character arc and if we see him only with BwB, it doesn't work so well.

      As for 4), I get mad if they preserved the mountain clans but cut BwB away. They're much less Tom Bombadil.

    • He has not mentioned the Blackfish either. Though the latter is my fave, I like Beric and Thoros too – such wonderfully tragic characters. I think they are vital to UnCat's story. Even if I try to make allowance for the fact that we don't know which characters will be important in future books, I just can't see UnCat not being important, otherwise why setting her up that way? And for UnCat you NEED Beric and Thoros.

      • They show up in Arya's story, too. They could be avoided without fundamentally changing her story, but the Hound and Beric's duel would be sorely missed.

        • My thoughts exactly, Brude. The duel is a massive stepping-stone for the Hound's development. Also, it came to my mind that servants of the Red God (Thoros too, not just Melisandre) will acquire more importance as the story goes on.

          Arya, too, undergoes a massive growing up while in the company of the BwB – the Ghost of High Heart, losing Hot Pie and Gendry etc. I can't see it happening without the BwB.

  • I find it a stressful time for characters being hired to do mnior jobs in the first season or two that really have huge roles in season three and four.

    Frankly Littlefinger isnt exactly minor but his own personal freak show doesnt get going till book three/four.

    Sansa is little more than a POV character for happenings in Kings Landing. She obviously will have an amazing book 4 peroiod with hints of huge changes in her personality coming.

    I hope they do the undieing KNight scene great. That could be just amazingly creepy stuff.

    Love the changes that happen over time to Jaime. It seems obvious by book 567 that he may have become a true hero of the story.

    The bloated ,fat, fearful Black Crow. I forget his name. The one who gets the wildling woman as wife. I see him having a huge role in later books. Probably after he finds courage and destroys his father and assumes his rightful position in the family.

    The one guy they need to go to the dark side some is the young leader of the Black Watch. He needs to get corrupted as all dragon born have mental illness. I expect him to start to show signs of insanity.

    • I don't see how Sam would "destroy" his father, who is a badass supreme.

      As for Jon Snow, the dragon link is only a theory. Even so, it's not correct that all Targaryens are insane — what we have heard is that they tend to fall into one or the other category of "greatness or madness."