Nerd School: Game of Thrones Primer Part 2 “A Clash of Kings”

by Joe on June 20, 2011


Warning, Spoiler Heavy!

With the epic season 1 of Game of Thrones ending, I think its appropriate to start to look to the future of the series, and maybe suggest a couple actors to play some of the new characters.

Let’s start with a recap. At the end of season 1 Ned has been decapitated at the whim of Joffrey. The kingdom is in turmoil as Robb Stark, now declared King of the North,  has marched across the neck and has taken the Riverlands and Jaime Lannister. The Lannisters as a whole are on the defensive as Robb causes defeat after defeat. With the execution of Ned, their only hostage is Sansa though they claim to have Arya as well. However Arya is making her way north with the Night’s Watch. The Night’s Watch at the Wall are in turmoil as the North is coming alive with an evil that has not been awake for thousands of years. In the far east Daenerys fresh from the death of Drogo and her unborn son has been reborn with her new dragons.

Oh yeah, and Winter is Coming…

Season 2 will follow the war of the 5 kings as Robb and Joffrey are joined by Theon’s father Balon Greyjoy as well as  Renly and his brother Stannis.

This new season will see the inclusion of 3 houses and a dozen new characters

House Baratheon:

Though the Baratheons were represented in the first season by Robert and Renly, this season we get to see Stannis, who Ned refers to as Robert’s true heir. Unlike the younger more likeable Renly, Stannis is stubborn and implacable in his opinion. Master of Ships on the small council during the events of the first season Stannis left King’s Landing before Ned arrived due to him learning the truth about Joffrey and Jon Arryn.

In casting Stannis, I would love to see a big name to replace Sean Bean. I personally think Gary Oldman would be amazing, but lets face it, the show might be a bit below his pay grade.  I think the best person to cast would be the one they bizarrely had up on IMDB for the season finale, Gerard Butler. Butler’s got the crazy, he has the looks, and he has the geek cred to play the real heir to the throne of Westeros.

Stannis’ right hand man (who is missing the tips of the finger’s from his left hand) is Davos Seaworth, the Onion Knight. He’s a blue collar guy who made it good during Robert’s Rebellion. He’s an older ship captain-type, illiterate, and definitely salty. A lot of Stannis is seen through Davos’ eyes and he is a bit of a fan favorite.

To me Jeff Fahey is Davos. Fahey, best known for playing Frank Lapidus on Lost, really pulled through with the uneducated man coming through with his down-to-Earth wisdom.

Davos also needs to be a charismatic character, as he is essentially the lead of his own story.  I’ll be damned if anyone would call Jobe from Lawnmower Man uncharismatic.

The last big character with Stannis is Melisandre, the Red Witch. Essentially Stannis’ religious adviser, her role is not fully explored in the current books. However it is constantly being hinted at that her character is much more diabolical than she seems. She consistantly refers to Stannis as the messianic figure of R’hllor prophecy. Yeah, I’m not quite sure on that one myself, but she seems to be the one who is actively fighting what is going on in the North above the Wall. She works with dark magic and is sort of an adversary to Davos.

Melisandre needs to be sexy and most of all red. My first thought goes to Christina Hendricks, but she’s already on Mad Men. Famke Janssen, best known from X-Men films, essentially played this part with Jean Grey. Janssen brings a bit more maturity to a character who seems old beyond her years…and she’s got amazing leg moves.

On Renly’s side, as he fight’s against his own brother, is fan favorite character Brienne of Tarth. Though she doesn’t have a huge part in the second book, she become super important to the plot later. She is a member of Renly’s Rainbow Guard, his analog to the White Cloaks. According to the books, Brienne fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Martin describes her as “abnormally large and strong for a woman, and exceeds most men in size. She has large, very blue eyes that appear trusting and guileless, but they are her only attractive feature. She is extremely broad-shouldered, but has virtually no bust. Her face is broad and coarse, with a nose that has been broken several times. Her mouth is too wide, with prominent and crooked teeth and lips so plump they seem swollen. Her hair is the color of dirty straw and her face is mottled with freckles.” What’s also important to know is that she loves Renly, and we all know he doesn’t play for that team.

This is the hardest character to cast, as most actresses just don’t fit all the characteristics. The casting call goes

“[BRIENNE TARTH] FEMALE. Age: 20s. A skilled warrior in service to Renly Baratheon. Larger and stronger than most men, we first meet Brienne when she wins a tournament, defeating the famed Loras Tyrell. Big-boned and plain faced, she has an awkward personality, but is also honest and loyal. She is derisively known as “Brienne the Beauty”… RECURRING. (Season Two: 6 episodes/Season Appearances: Multiple Season) Must be a MINIMUM of 5’10″. Do NOT submit actresses that look like models. We are looking for a big, WARRIOR-TYPE woman that’s more MANLY than womanly.”

I really have no idea on this one people. Eva Damen has been opening pushing to get the partshe’s about 5’10” and she looks like she could pull off the part.

The next house we will be seeing will be Catelyn’s family, The duty bound House Tully. The head of house Tully, Catelyn’s father, Hoster Tully, doesn’t really do much in the next season do to him being near death. I think Hoster is another good choice for a larger more famous cameo due to his lack of screen time and pretty emotional scenes.  Hoster would be played to a T by Malcolm MacDowell.

McDowell is no stranger to TV and he’s not quite big enough to be beyond the part. Not to mention he would be excellent against the man I would cast for his brother Brynden “Blackfish” Tully.

Brynden is a mjaor side character like Tywin Lannister, an older seasoned knight who has seen combat, and is as stubborn as his brother. I think Alan Dale would work perfectly as the brother of Malcolm MacDowell in real life let alone playing his brother on TV.

Dale, best known now for playing Charles Widmore on Lost, has that perfect gruff accent and mannerisms of a black sheep of the family.

A character with a bit more to do on screen is Catelyn’s brother Edmure Tully. Younger than Catelyn, he has the Tully red/brown coloring, and he’s hotheaded often leading to bad decisions which seems to be the hallmark of the Tully’s. I love Tony Curran, and think he would be an excellent addition to the cast.

More red-headed than reddish-brown, but Curran can blow away the competition when it comes to one minute being explosive and the next calm. If anyone doubts other wise, watch “Vincent and the Doctor”.

We next move to the Iron Islands and finally meet Theon’s family, The Greyjoys. Theon in the book was not as main a character as they made him out to be in the show, but I feel a lot of that has to do with the writers having 20/20 hindsight and seeing what Martin didn’t know when he was writing the first book. The first Greyjoy we actually meet is Theon’s sister Asha.  Lean and long-legged, with short black hair and a sharp nose in a thin face according to the book, she is a bit of a tomboy, but in a “I want to have sex with that Tom-boy kinda way.

After watching this season I think  Natalia Tena was a bit miscast and should have played Asha, however I think Georgia Moffett can pull of the hot tomboy look, and still kick ass.

We next meet Aeron Greyjoy, Theon’s crazy uncle who is a priest of the drowned god. When ever I think of crazy people in genre TV there is only one person I think of Brad Dourif.

Dourif’s resume reads like a who’s who of sci-fi/fantasy from probably his most famous roles in Lord of the Rings and Dune to his awesome roles on craptastic shows Star Trek: Voyager. Let me put it this way, “you do not have a sci-fi/fantasy show unless it’s guest starred Brad Dourif.”

The last of the Greyjoy’s you meet this season is Balon Greyjoy, Theon and Asha’s father. Balon is a badass on the level of Tywin Lannister. He had the balls to rebel against Robert early in his reign, and he lost two of his sons and his third, Theon, went to live with the Starks. Once again Balon rebels with the death of Robert, and we need a king to play the part. My first choice would be John Noble, but Fringe has been picked up again. Another idea would be Bernard Hill who played Theoden opposite John Noble’s Denethor. However Hill’s age is a little tipped to the older side. I think a good choice for Balon would be Ian McShane who actually worked with Brad Dourif on Deadwood.

McShane has made some real poor choices after Deadwood, but he is definitely  badass enough to be the king of the Iron Isles.

North of the wall, we get a new enemy in the form of the Wildlings and their commander Mance Rayder. Rayder is a major player  in Jon Snow’s sojourn north with the Night’s Watch. Jeffrey Dean Morgan might have the magnetism to play the equally magnetic Mance. Even though he’s got the geek cred from playing the Comedian in Watchmen, he’s still low budget enough that he does TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Supernatural. Plus he’s got the requisite beard required to be GoT.

One of Mance’s followers, Ygritte plays an important role as the Jon Snow’s lover as he becomes entangled with the Wildlings. Ygritte is fiery red-head, and a excellent fighter. Bonnie Wright may be able to play the part, she definitely has the right hair color, and as Natalia Tena showed us, Harry Potter vets can play Wildlings.

There are several smaller characters which may or may not have larger parts in the second season including Selyse Florent, Stannis’ wife, who is a fervent worshiper of R’hllor. We could see Shireen Baratheon, their daughter, who was afflicted with Greyscale, a disease which almost killed her, and left much of her face deformed.

Beyond the wall we could see Rattleshirt, the chief who works under Mance Rayder, and wears his enemies bones armor. There is also Craster, the polygamist, who aids the Night’s Watch on their crusade.

There is Meera and Jojan Reed, weird swamp people who help out our characters in Winterfell.

We caught a glimpse of Jaqen H’ghar at the end of finale when Arya is escaping with Yoren. The  Faceless Man of Braavos is very important in the development of Arya as a character in book, so it figures that he should be in the show. Vargo Hoat and the Bloody Mummers are also important to Arya’s story.

In reality there are dozens of characters introduced to the cast in the next book, but since HBO is condensing the plot to about 10-15 episodes, we may lose many of them or have them combined together. I hope that the casting list is released soon.

Read Joe’s other articles:  Obama Trek Mutant Fatigue Sci-Fi A-Team Star Trek: A Different Generation, An Alternate History of the Doctor, Inn at the Crossroads interview, A Love Letter to Natalie Portman, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs, Thor Primer, Doctor Who Season 6 primer, A Game of Thrones Primer, More

Check Out Joe’s weekly reviews:

Game of Thrones S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4,S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

Doctor Who S6E1, S6E2, S6E3, S6E4, S6E5, S6E6, S6E7

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anthony June 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm

You appear to be missing a very obvious Actor for one of these rolls. I’ll give you a hint, he makes a great Master and Commander…


Bill June 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I think brienne should be played by chyna. She just did another porn movie, and from what I’ve seen looks nasty.


Bento June 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Baby dragons are so cute…


Rose October 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm

“STAR TREK VOYAGER” is craptastic? Screw you.


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