HBO just released a video of some of the new cast members for Season 3 of Game of Thrones. Naturally, as I’ve read every book in the series, I should have plenty of things to say and think about the actors chosen. Unfortunately, I quickily discovered that the easiest way to get through the numerous, very boring sections of each book was to keep my head down, plow through and not ask too many questions. Which means that I honestly had to double-check who most of these characters were.
In any event, the top picture is of Dame Diana Rigg, whom you either remember as Emma Peel from The Avengers because you’re super hip and smart and practically British, or from the scene in Extras where Daniel Radcliffe threw a condom at her head. She’ll be playing the supremely badass Olenna Tyrell, grandmother to Margaery and Loras, who is probably up there with Tyrion and Arya and in the category of “characters that pretty much everyone loves.” If you’ve read the books, you know what’s up her sleeves. If you haven’t, I won’t spoil the fun. But in any event, this is some fantastic casting, particularly because — as other bloggers have pointed out — Natalie Dormer looks a lot like Rigg in her catsuit days:
Meanwhile, Mackenzie Crook, whose face you couldn’t possibly fail to recognize, is a shape-shifting wildling named Orell. It’s not a huge part — at least not in the books — but it is an instrumental one. Mostly he hangs out with Mance n’ the Gang and doesn’t much care for Jon Snow. In any event, you’re either very hip and practically British and remember Crook as Gareth from the UK Office, or you’re less hip and generally more honest with yourself and remember him as the eye-popping, skeletal slapstick pirate from Pirates of the Carribbean.
Also part of Mance n’ the Gang is Kristofer Hivju who plays Tormund Giantsbane and can be seen above, having a sick beard. Tormund is very strong. That’s probably it.
Clive Russell will be playing Lady Catelyn’s Uncle, Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully. He’s very grim and good at battle-planning and such. From photos of Russell, this looks like a good casting decision, as he frequently gives off a general air of taking no one’s shit. He was also in the most British-sounding TV show of all time, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. So there’s that.
Tobias Menzies — who looks like a cross between Bill from True Blood and Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — is Edmure Tully, Catelyn’s brother who is less good at planning and being serious and whose love of attractive women and propensity to ignore signs of trouble lead to one of the series’ most iconic scenes.
Nathalie Emmanuel is Missandei and, because I can’t remember her at all, here’s what someone else says about her back-story:
Originally from the peaceful island of Naath, Missandei was sold into slavery as a child, along with her brother. She received education in various languages and became a translator to the slave trader Kraznys in Astapor.
I was sad to see Dany’s favorite handmaiden, the former prostitute, be killed off (or starved off?) last season, so I imagine that — for the most part — Missandei will effectively fill the necessary gap of “It is known, Khaleesi”-style exposition.
Kerry Ingram is Shireen Baratheon, Stannis’s only child who (at least in the books) suffers from Greyscale, a disease that’s normally fatal (but somehow Shireen was saved in time) that leaves her covered dead, grey, flaky patches of skin. She’s never without her good buddy Patchface (as yet uncast) who I will never not be convinced is just a combination of Pip and Quequeg from Moby-Dick — a man with tattoos that cover his face in a checkerboard pattern who loses his mind after a shipwreck and mostly speaks in nautical riddles. The casting news for the show describes Shireen as an “avid reader” who escapes to her own private world of myth and legend. If this is a plot point in the books — or if Shireen even has a speaking part — it’s not very memorable, so I assume they’re beefing up her role for the show.
Tara Fitzgerald is Shireen’s Mother, Selyse, the super-religious, not-so-attractive wife to Stannis whose devotion to the Red God is strong enough to help her mostly overlook the fact that her husband is maybe-possibly-definitely shtupping their Priestess. This point is less clear in the books.
Then The Reeds — who a lot of people were worried were being cut altogether from the show — do finally show up in Season 3. Jojen, who has the dream about Winterfell flooding (rather than Bran), is going to be played by Love, Actually‘s Thomas Brodie-Sangster who is obviously older now, but looks pretty much the same. Given that they gave Bran the prophetic dream in the show, it’s unclear whether Jojen will have powers or not, but it would be a pretty massive waste if he didn’t. The bigger question is how they’ll work the Reeds in, since they were supposed to already be at Winterfell and escape with Bran, Osha, Rickon and Hodor. Casting information suggests that the Reeds “seek out” the group on their way to the North… somehow.
Ellie Kendrick, who played Carrie Mulligan’s school friend in An Education, is Jojen’s sister Meera who has no discernable talents and yet somehow winds up being a more vital character in the books. This is her as Anne Frank from a movie based on the diary of the same name:
Anton Lesser is the disgraced Maester Qyburn. You may not remember him as Einstein, but you will now. Qyburn is a pretty bad dude who was stripped of the title of Maester for deciding that examinations of corpses were far less interesting than the examination of the mechanics of a live body. He and Cersei broker a deal that effective makes him Westeros’s Josef Mengele.
And finally, we have The Brothers Without Banners: Paul Kaye (Thoros of Myr), Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion), Philip McGinley (Anguy). It’s hard to say much about the BwoB without giving away a pretty great secret, so we can just leave it at “a band of outlaws.”
And that’s it so far. Thoughts?