Ever wonder if there’s any rhyme or reason to all of those great accents featured on Game of Thrones? Do the accents change depending on where in Westeros come from, or does it depend on the actor? John Fleming, a Toronto-based dialog and speech coach who teaches actors how to tackle accents, sees a pattern. “They’ve separated the seven kingdoms, to a degree, by dialect,” he tells Metro. “So all the people from Winterfell speak with a northern accent; something a little bit closer to Manchester or up in that belt between Manchester and Scotland.” Think Ned Stark or Jon Snow.
That contrasts nicely with the Lannisters, all of whom employ ‘Received Pronunciation’ (RP), the fancy southern British accent.
It’s worth noting that while Game of Thrones actors come from all over the United Kingdom (and beyond), many alter their accents to better fit the parts of Westeros where their character grew up. Metro even created an interactive map to chart the differences. Click and listen.
Below, Fleming guides us through some of the particulars of how the actors shape their characters’ accents.
The Lannisters: southern posh, or ‘Recieved Pronounciation.’ When Peter Dinklage speaks for Tyrion Lannister, he employs a distinct halt between each phrase, which Fleming thinks is characteristic of an American putting on an RP accent.
Fleming notes that Liam Cunningham (Davos) “has a very thick Irish accent,” and he is “one of the only people on the show who puts on a Geordie accent…which is from Newcastle … right up in the northeast, near the Scottish border.”
Actress Rose Leslie is a member of the Scottish nobility educated in England, “but she puts on that very quintessential northern English accent” for the role of Ygritte.
Check out the complete Metro article for more samples. But before we go, Fleming has an interesting read on Littlefinger ever-morphing accent.