Months ago, a bunch of casting calls surfaced on the internet. Several of the calls seemed to be for members of Samwell Tarly’s family, including his kindly mother, sweet sister, meathead brother, and above all, his domineering father, Randyll Tarly.
Then, a couple week ago, it was confirmed that Harry Potter veteran Freddie Stroma was cast in the role of Sam’s brother Dickon. Now, Watchers on the Wall reports that the other members of Sam’s family have been cast, and will be filming in Spain this week.
First up: Randyll Tarly will reportedly be played by James Faulkner, a veteran character actor who has appeared in several stately period pieces, including Downton Abbey, Borgia, and Da Vinci’s Demons (as a Renaissance-era Pope, so you know he can exude authority). Also, he appeared in a medieval action-adventure with Christopher Lambert called Game of Swords, which sort of seems like destiny. He also voiced Severus Snape in the videogame version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, establishing a Harry Potter linkage between the male members of Sam’s family.James Faulkner as Pope Sixtux IV
The casting call describes Randyll as “humorless martinet, severe and intimidating.” I can easily imagine Faulkner bringing that. The actor also has a history playing villains, as when he starred as antagonist for Sherlock Holmes in 1988’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. At first glance, this seems like another home run for the Game of Thrones casting team.
Next up: Sam’s mother will be played by English actress Samantha Spiro, who’s racked up quite a few stage and screen credits during her career. She’s done Shakespeare (including as Lady MacBeth in a 2014 version), sitcoms (Coupling), and played everyone from Lucille Ball to Katherine Hepburn to Amelia Earhart on Psychobitches, a British series in which famous women from history undergo psychotherapy. Will she be able to play an “adoring mother” with “a soft spot for one of her children?” Smart money’s on yes.
Finally, Rebecca Benson will play Sam’s sister, a “kind, friendly and unpretentious woman.” Benson is a Scottish actress who graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2011 before appearing on TV series like Vera and Shetland. Game of Thrones may mark a new phase in her career.
And that’s the Tarly family. We’ll keep our ear to the ground for any new developments regarding this bunch, although last we heard they were filming at the Castell de Santa Florentina, which isn’t open to the public. Hopefully they’ll come out in the open before long.
Check out some clips of James Faulkner’s work.
UPDATE: HBO has now confirmed that James Faulkner, Samantha Spiro, and Rebecca Benson will indeed be playing Sam’s father, mother, and sister respectively. We’ve also got names. Sam’s mother is named Melessa Tarly, while his sister is Talla Tarly. Onward towards the Tarly family reunion!