Game of Thrones vet Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is William the Conqueror in new medieval drama

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, best known for playing Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones, has a new gig: according to TV Line, he’ll play William, Duke of Normandy in a new period drama called King and Conqueror.

William, Duke of Normandy is better known to history as Williams the Conqueror. He defeated Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, effectively transferring rulership of England from the Anglo-Saxons to the Normans. This transfer of power came to be known as the Norman Conquest. In King and Conqueror, the role of Harold will be played by British actor James Norton.

“In the U.K. we learn about William the Conqueror, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s gruesome death in our school history lessons – but those headlines are all most of us can remember,” said BBC executive Sue Deeks. “King and Conqueror will bring Harold and William to life, depicting their lives, loves and families, and the gripping, high-stakes power game that led to their fateful meeting in 1066. With incredible talent both in front of and behind the camera, I cannot wait for this exciting project to be realized.”

King and Conqueror will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, but it does not yet have a U.S. distributor. Let’s hope that changes. Also, Coster-Waldau isn’t just starring in the show; he’s also directing one of the eight episodes!

Game of Thrones - Jaime Lannister
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

How the Norman Conquest inspired Game of Thrones

In a way, King and Conqueror is a return to Westeros for Coster-Waldau, since the story of William of Conqueror pretty obviously inspired author George R.R. Martin when he was writing A Song of Ice and Fire. Martin liberally borrows from historical events when writing his books, and William’s story maps pretty neatly onto that of Aegon the Conqueror, the Targaryen king who conquered the Seven Kingdoms some 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Granted, there are more dragons in Martin’s version, but the broad stroke are fairly similar.

So can we say that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is playing Aegon the Conqueror in this show? No, because he isn’t. But if that thought entertains you, we encourage you to keep it in mind as you watch.

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