Casting news has been coming thick and fast over the last few weeks – let’s fangirl over our fifteen new characters!
Spoiler warning for non-book readers, or readers who haven’t gotten past A Clash of Kings: this post contains mention of new characters in Season 3 and their likely relationships and interactions with existing characters. I won’t be talking about actual plot events, but if you are very conservative about your spoilers, you do not want to read this post. If you don’t mind knowing who the new people are and who you’ll probably be seeing them onscreen with, read on!
Spoiler warning for book readers: see above! If you want to mention future book events in your comments, please use the spoiler tags i.e.: [*spoiler*] So RW stands for… [/*spoiler*], without the *s. Seasons 1 and 2 of Game of Thrones and how they relate to the first two ASoIaF books are fair game.
With Margaery’s engagement to Joffrey, the Tyrells are making themselves at home in King’s Landing, and they’ll be bringing their granny, Olenna, to help them settle in. The paternal grandmother of Margaery and Loras, she’s an experienced player of the Game and is known (affectionately or not) as the Queen of Thorns. She’s played by Diana Rigg, who readers of a certain age might remember from the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (she’s also a Dame). You’ll also see her in the next season of Doctor Who, in an episode written especially for her. She calls Olenna a “wonderful part, beautifully written“; at her read-throughs she’s already made an impression on Emilia Clarke: “She just blew my mind, she’s incredible.”
Other than Lysa, Catelyn’s family has so far been absent from the series, but this time around we’re going to meet some more Tullys: Clive Russell takes on the role of her uncle, Brynden “the Blackfish,” and her brother Edmure will be played by Tobias Menzies, who I’m very excited about, as he did such a good job of playing Brutus in HBO’s previous historical epic, Rome (if you’re thinking “Et tu, Brute?” – yes, that Brutus, though the line was never actually used in the show – skip to 1:30 if you only want to see CiarÃ¡n Hinds get stabbed a little instead of a lot).
We’ve actually seen Beric Dondarrion briefly before – he’s the knight that Ned Stark sent to chase after Gregor Clegane after Robert’s death near the end of Season 1. His departure may have been somewhat overshadowed by Ned being arrested in the Throne Room soon after… However he’ll have a much bigger role this season, played by Northern Irish actor Richard Dormer. Beric hangs out with another acolyte of the Red God, Thoros of Myr, who’ll be played by Paul Kaye, and also in their gang are Anguy (Philip McGinley), a skilled Dornish archer, and disgraced ex-Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser). These guys meet quite a few of our characters in their wanderings so while I’d bet on you seeing them with Arya first, I wouldn’t bet much.
We all know Stannis Baratheon has a wife – he was very insistent on that point before he fucked Melisandre on his giant map table – and some of the more eagle-eyed among you may have spotted a woman beside him in the bonfire scene from last season. His wife Selyse Florent has a bigger role this season, and she’ll be played by Tara Fitzgerald. Non-book readers might be surprised to learn that Stannis has a child, too, called Shireen: but as she’s both a girl and (in the books at least) disfigured by a skin disease, she’s unmarriageable and thus useless to her father. She’ll be played by Kerry Ingram, one of the four Matildas from the fantastic Matilda the Musical.
The last time we saw Dany and the remains of her khalasar, they seemed pretty determined to leave Qarth; somewhere after that Dany will meet Missandei – probably in the slave city of Astapor. She is played by British actress Nathalie Emmanuel, who is known in the UK for the soap Hollyoaks – like Roxanne McKee, who played Doreah in previous seasons – and also had a guest role on Misfits. In the books Missandei is a young girl who acts as Dany’s translator: but as the character has been aged up to at least Dany’s own age, I expect other things about her to change as well.
In the North:
After Bran, Rickon, Osha, Hodor, and the direwolves escaped from Winterfell, they’ll sooner-or-later be meeting up with the Reeds, Meera and Jojen, the teenage children of an old ally and bannerman of Ned Stark’s, played by Ellie Kendrick and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. The latter is probably more familiar to you, having previously starred in Love Actually and Nanny McPhee. I love these two – they have the petite features required for their characters’ background – a good thing, as they are both 22 and will be playing young teenagers – and also seem to have the acting chops. Curiously, Ellie is only listed for one episode on IMDB, whereas Thomas is listed for five – an oversight or signalling a change from the book storyline?
Jon will have a whole lot of new wildling faces to remember north of the Wall, among them Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju). A surprise for book readers might be Orell – played by Pirates of the Caribbean and The Office actor Mackenzie Crook. In the books, Orell is a preview character who meets an interesting end before the A Clash of Kings properly begins but I’m guessing his role will be beefed up substantially if Mackenzie Crook is playing him: he’s known among the Wildlings as a warg – a person who can take over the bodies of animals and see through their eyes. Sound like anyone we know?
Some of you might also be wondering what happened to Theon after Dagmar clocked him one in Winterfell. He’ll be meeting Lord Bolton’s bastard son, Ramsay Snow – the son of Robb’s right-hand man in the Riverlands, deputised to bring Theon to justice. Ramsay Snow is no relation to Jon, and suffice to say that, unlike Jon, he would have had no trouble dispatching Ygritte. Reliable word on the web is that he’ll be played by Welsh actor Iwan Rheon (so far HBO have only confirmed he is playing “Boy”). He even looks plausibly like Michael McElhatton, who plays Lord Bolton. Anyone who’s squeeed with me in the open threads about this knows just how excited I am about his casting. If you’ve seen Misfits you’ll know why: if not, here’s a selection of clips of him as Misfits’ Simon – it’s a fan-made video but captures Rheon’s “crazy eyes” particularly well (one spoiler for Season 1):
Along with Iwan and Nathalie, two other former Misfits cast members are already in Game of Thrones: Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) played Nathan’s long-suffering mother; and Josef Altin (Pyp of the Night’s Watch) was Gary. Bonus trivia questions:
- what actor appears in Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones?
- What actress has appeared in Downton and Misfits but not Thrones?
- What actor has appeared in Downton and Rome?
- And what lead singer of a famous Belfast-based band recently had a cameo for Season 3?
Here’s the vid HBO has released showing some – not all – of the new characters:
What’s clear to me from the casting released so far is that the King’s Landing cast is fairly established already – I doubt we’ll be seeing many new faces there – but the war in Westeros, between Robb, Stannis, and the Greyjoys, is only just hotting up, and events north of the Wall are too. It’s also worth noting, however, that scenes in Northern Ireland are being filmed first, with production moving to Croatia and Iceland later on in the year, so expect more Essos- and Wildling-centred casting announcements to come.
So, what do you think? Good casting so far? Book readers – anyone you expected to see in this season who isn’t here (yet)? (*cough* Mance Rayder *cough*). Who else is going to have to stop themselves yelling SAVE ME BARRY whenever they see Iwan on screen?
Unless otherwise noted, images are from http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/.