Editorial

Curtain Call: Dan Hildebrand

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This is a first to be sure: a Curtain Call post for an actor playing what might be considered a throwaway role—a vile antagonist set before us merely to be bested. And yet what else is a villain’s part to play? They oft rise quickly as grim specters placed directly in the paths of our protagonists, and then pass before our eyes and exit just as quickly, battered and bested, unloved and unmourned.

We knew Kraznys mo Nakloz for the span of a mere three episodes, but in that short bit of a time Dan Hildebrand impressed the hell out of me. Sure, he played the role as equal parts misogynist douchebag, sneering slaver, and slimy used car salesman… but the point is he did it excellently—and all the while speaking none of his lines in an actual, existing language.

(“Tree drago,” “tou drago,” and “don” may count as English for some of you, sure…)

To say I was impressed is an understatement. Short-lived villains aren’t supposed to garner much attention, if any at all, but this portion of the Game of Thrones storyline raised the stakes to an entirely different level, and central to that was the antagonistic onscreen chemistry between Dan and Emilia Clarke (who was herself never better). It’s yet another example of the show taking a scene from the book and making it all the better. Props all around.

QDq0XVXDan is no stranger to good scripts. His two most notorious roles prior to playing the sharp-tongued Astapori slaver were in Sons of Anarchy and HBO’s Deadwood, two shows of exceedingly worthy repute. It’s no small thing to say he has garnered even more attention with this latest role.

To honor Dan’s skill, I have enlisted none other than David J. Peterson, creator of the Dothraki and High Valyrian languages (as well as the Ghisceri “Low Valyrian” tongue) to help me express to Dan the depths of my gratitude. (And yes, David was extremely impressed with Dan’s handling of the language.) I could not have done this post without David’s help; I am eternally grateful, and have promised him Hear Me Roar’s firstborn son as payment.

And so I leave him with these fine parting words for Dan, written first in Valyrian and then (liberally) translated beneath in the common tongue known as English:

Aeske Hildebrand, majin vaghoma av quvemagho, do av rijagho.

Master Hildebrand, I come to praise you, and with words to lift you up high.

Oa Valyre sa nagostova; sa qrugh, he unir ez j’Astapor, lislisari he orgoz himi nobisto.

Your Valyrian is spoken with sublime grace; the strength of Astapor’s might is behind every sentence, and it flows like honey.

Oa odri si narysta, si oa engo sa he mi tyvaro.

Your words move me, much as they have moved many.

Ima vi nejo emi hubre, si hin kizir sizi, gimin sko oo jelevre tuzis ji gunjda emi begisto dos.

You are a handsome man, and all rejoice at the mere sight of you.

Sir pigivas nya odri, Aeske Hildebrand, si gimis sko dory ilimozlivas vi murgho ez Kraznys mo Nakloz.

So read my words, Master Hildebrand, and know that the world is lessened by the passing of Kraznys mo Nakloz.

Dan-Hildebrand-as-Kraznys-mo-Nakloz-smSome might consider him to be a “niche” actor for the roles he’s played thus far, but he has shown plenty to me in mastering this highly underrated and difficult character. I know that any production that has his name affixed to it will garner my immediate attention. I have a feeling we will be seeing him around.

And I am thrilled to be the one writing this Curtain Call for him.

Thanks so much, Dan, for this brief but vital spark to our beloved story, and for playing this short-lived but altogether excellent role. You have earned your rest, ser, as well as you have earned our love. Well done, and stay fabulous!

Valar Morghulis. ~FaB~

73 Comments

  • He did a fantastic job. Even watching the show, I knew as I hated Kraznys that it was because the actor was killing it, and I forgot that he never even spoke English.

  • I wasn’t sure that we would see one of these for this actor. Thank you. I found myself thinking on many occasions what an amazing job he was doing. For that reason, I’m actually going to miss his vile character.

  • What a great send-off–nice touch with the Valyrian. Dan Hildebrand definitely left a lasting impression–nothing like a talented actor who so clearly revels in playing a character you love to hate! He’ll be missed. I look forward to seeing what he does in the future.

    I am eternally grateful, and have promised him Hear Me Roar’s firstborn son as payment.

    How magnanimous of you :D

  • Thank you, Mr. Hildebrand, for all the effort you have put into this character. You will be missed.

    Related question for WiC, do you intend to do a curtain call for Michelle Fairley after the RW? It might spoil her story for new viewers if they don’t see one.

  • He absolutely owned that role. Well done! And, like several other posters, he was so convincing that you didn’t even notice he was speaking (high quality) gobbledygook.

    That’s what’s great about this show; every role is jam-packed to overflowing with talent.

  • I could not have done this post without David’s help; I am eternally grateful, and have promised him Hear Me Roar’s firstborn son as payment.

    Lol!

    Thanks mr Hildebrand, I enjoyed watching you insult Dany!
    “And that’s only because I like the curve of her ass” lol

  • I pictured Kraznys in the book as more of a fat, sweaty inhabitant of Jabba’s palace, but Hildebrand killed it. The perfect example of why characters don’t have to match up with their descriptions from the book.

  • Though not as much a part of GRRM’s gallery of grotesques (the book version is gloriously over the top…dead puppy stew anyone?) he was undeniably excellent. I replayed the Ep3 interchange between him and Emilia many times because of its perfection. Kudos and classy Valyrian sendoff here, thank you Mr. Hildebrand, Mr. Peterson and WiC!

  • I loved him as Kraznys!
    I hope he will read this article on WIC and all our comments.
    I can´t imagine any other actor doing the job better and i am a diehard GOT fan and have a hard time with some casting choices (e.g Mance)

  • Great actor! Really great! His whole demeanor and way of saying things in a fake language made me love to hate him in the space of three episodes, I almost wanted Drogo to miss his flame breath just to see Kraznys flee and live to insult Dany another day. He was such a good villain, he deserved to see the curve of Dany’s ass one more time :)

    Good luck in the future Dan!!

  • This was as surprisingly long for a curtain call as was James Cosmo’s surprisingly short. ;)

    Thanks, though. Still glad these are being done.

  • Yeah he was amazing. Farewell Kraznys!

    so many Davids and Dans…

    also nice sendoff FaB!
    But one question, is it in High or Low Valyrian? i know there are minor differences but since David is somewhat of a perfectionist he wouldnt mix it up :D

  • sunspear:
    Thank you, Mr. Hildebrand, for all the effort you have put into this character. You will be missed.

    Related question for WiC, do you intend to do a curtain call for Michelle Fairley after the RW? It might spoil her story for new viewers if they don’t see one.

    They should, because Catelyn is dead. Lady Stoneheart is not Catelyn.

    Then again, Michelle Fairley will return, so… hmm, I see your point.

  • Check out the impassioned defense of Kraznys about an hour in to the latest Cripples Bastards & Broken Things podcast!
    Just like Ned Stark, Kraznys’ honor wouldn’t allow him to use his 8,000 Unsullied to steal Dany’s dragons.
    And just like Ned Stark, Kraznys’ honor cost him his life!

  • sunspear:
    Thank you, Mr. Hildebrand, for all the effort you have put into this character. You will be missed.

    Related question for WiC, do you intend to do a curtain call for Michelle Fairley after the RW? It might spoil her story for new viewers if they don’t see one.

    Can we not have one comment section without people talking about the RW?

  • YES! Thanks for this Curtain Call … what a slimy, smug a$$hole this character was, which just goes to show how great an actor Dan was in bringing him to life. Also mad props for doing 99.9% of his dialogue in Valyrian.

  • Morrigan: They should, because Catelyn is dead. Lady Stoneheart is not Catelyn.


    Then again, Michelle Fairley willreturn, so… hmm, I see your point.

    If, as some people speculate, Lady Stoneheart shows up in episode 10, they might not have to worry about it, they could just wait to do the curtain calls after the season airs. Most people won’t notice :)

  • I thought this actor was absolutely fantastic. Pitch perfect performance that immediately gave Astapor more depth and gravity than the mess that was Qarth. As a fan of the show and the books I’m truly disappointed that we’ve seen the last of him- I wish he would’ve been cast in a role with more screen time, like Grey Worm or even the Red Viper. His character wasn’t major, but his contribution to season 3 was.

  • He did great and I’m very happy the kept the whole insulting her but she actually knows what is being said thing from the books.

  • Moët,

    He was indeed, but JamesL means that Craster was also in the James Cosmos CC.

    Loved Dan playing Kraznys, the Kraznys from the book didn’t leave a specific impression on me, but this one certainly did.

  • Another great addition to the GOT minor characters Hall of Fame… he really brought Kraznys to life better than in the books…

    I wonder if he smelt as good and Bannon did…….. -_- lol!!!

  • Thanks for adding this! I didn’t think there was anything particularly amazing about Dan Hildebrand, until I realized he’s the same guy who played TWO characters in Deadwood (an Irish guy, and an English guy) which I’m re-watching right now. All 3 characters are completely unrecognizable from each other. He’s a chameleon! Now I like Kraznys even more than before.

    Also, I loved the look on his face, in the moment when he said “You speak Valyrian?!” LOL!

  • I gotta agree Dan really was incredible. He made every scene light up in a way that I kept looking forward to.

  • Nicely done, and I geniunely thought he was Middle-Eastern. And I mean this in a good way.

  • Bravo Dan Hildebrand, Bravo. I absolutely loved watching every scene that you were in… you truly brought a slimy scumbag of a character to life! I rewound and watched some of your lines over and over because they were so awesome. I never got sick of listening to you insult Dany. Awesome job!

  • Duval:
    Moët,

    He was indeed, but JamesL means that Craster was also in the James Cosmos CC.

    Loved Dan playing Kraznys, the Kraznys from the book didn’t leave a specific impression on me, but this one certainly did.

    This, when a character from the show leaves a (way) better impression than his book counterpart, it shows what an amazing actor Dan Hildebran is

  • This guy was awesome. What an incredible dirtbag. Even people who haven’t read the books saw it coming: “They’re going to BBQ that guy, right?” That’s what I was hearing. And they did BBQ him. Deservedly. And all the more so b/c of Hildebrand’s great performance.

  • mags giantsbabe:
    Nicely done, and I geniunely thought he was Middle-Eastern. And I mean this in a good way.

    Mr Hildebrand is British, but that fact alone does not clarify his ancestry.
    He’s so versatile as an actor, I’d wager he’s a Chameleon (:

  • Great post subject for an antagonist we all hate to love. His performance
    was so authentic that I believed he was Krasnys, from the moment he haggled
    and insulted Danerys at the slave Auction to his well expressed fear when Drogon
    fried him with dragon fire.

    I’ve learned that a few others here have commented earlier, where they’ve first noted
    Hildebrand’s other performances ( Deadwood, etc ). I recall seeing his name among
    cast credits for “Lost”. Since his name is not that uncommon, I considered this
    coincidental until I looked it up just now….. yep, that was him too.

  • Props for his work on Deadwood which is easily in my top 5 shows of all time (The Wire, Breaking Bad, Futurama, and Arrested Development, no particular order)

    Ancillary characters in HBO shows can be pretty memorable. And I don’t think anyone will forget Kraznys. Hildebrand did a great job. Thank you!

  • Nothing against Dan Hildebrand (he was great), but how come his curtain call is double the length of James Cosmo’s? Also, James Cosmo had to share his with Robert Pugh. I just find that a bit interesting.

  • Thanks for the photos, FaB. You can see what a difference it makes when Dan H. is in character, just his whole body language screams “JERK!”. Plus the makeup darkening around his eyes helps too. Pretty neat.

    Who knows, maybe Dan H. will shop up in another role, fooling us with his chameleonic powers!

  • Lex: He’s a chameleon!

    I don’t see any reason why Mr. Hildebrand can’t play another role in Game of Thrones. Perhaps a character later on in the Victarion arc.

  • Clabog:
    Nothing against Dan Hildebrand (he was great), but how come his curtain call is double the length of James Cosmo’s? Also, James Cosmo had to share his with Robert Pugh. I just find that a bit interesting.

    Different writers. FaB did this one & WiC did Cosmo/Pugh. FaB is just longer winded. ;)

  • Morrigan,

    They *could* do a Curtain Call for “Catelyn” (Portrayed by Michelle Fairle) and then talk about the character and how the actor brought the character to life etc etc

    It would be very sneaky ;)

  • Well put, and agreed. This dude knocked it out of the park.

    And that’s just one of the many reasons why GoT is so great. The detail and care that goes into even the most insignificant of characters is amazing, let alone the major players. It’s like an artist who labors over each and every brush stroke.

  • Even though I always imagined him to look sort of like the Spice King from season 2, Hildebrand really blew me away as Kraznys. He will be one of those fairly insignificant characters that will be missed. As an actor. Not as a character.

  • Kraznys you were a fecking bastard! But I gotta give props on two things: you burned well and you were funny as hell!

    To Dan Hildebrand, thank you for your work and dedication to even such a minor and fleeting character! That is the true measure of the talent of an artist, the effort, attention and craft put into a small albeit memorable role. Thank you once again!

  • Dan was addictively watchable. I rewatched his scenes many times. I’d wager he elevated Emilia’s performance with his talent and chemistry. Cheers!

  • No Curtain Call for Hot Pie? I know he’s not dead, but I doubt we’ll be seeing him again, and Ben Hawkey did a fantastic job playing out his transition from villainous bully in season 1 to lovable in season 3.

  • It takes a rare talent to make you hate him with a few seconds, a few words in an unknown language, and a few glances. Yet, Mr. Hildebrand did that, and so well, you wanted to keep on hating him for a little bit longer…but alas, dragon-breath being what it is, we must say good-bye. Thank you Dan Hildebrand, a woman shall look for you in other endeavors as you were delightfully despicable!

  • thupple,

    I would agree, he definitely did elevate Emilia’s performance in a way no other actor has since Harry Lloyd and Jason Momoa were on the show.

    Dan, you did a job well done here. Bravo!

  • I really hate all those useless POS characters from slaver’s bay in dany’s arc (from the books) whose names hurt all of my brain cells, but I gotta say this actor was brillant and crushed my pre-antipathy from the get-go.
    Thanks hildebrand, yours was a work well done.

  • He did a great job, playing off Emilia, it was so real, I found this entertaining and the best ending ever! Dracarys!

  • I am impressed with this show’s ability to attract and to hire good quality, veteran actors and actresses for supporting roles. Hopefully, we will see more of Mr. Hildebrand in the future. He made the most of his limited screen time in this show.

  • I can’t wait to see the curtain call for the Red Wedding episode. It’s going to be a looooooooooooooong list.