The SFF blogosphere is buzzing with the recent casting announcements for the pilot of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Based on the long-running series of fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire by award-winning author George R R Martin, the series already looks set to be a hit with legions of SFF fans.
Since the rights to the series were snapped up by HBO, SFF forums, fantasy blogs and fan sites have been alive with speculation about which actors can bring the key characters to life. Following on from June’s announcement that Peter Dinklage will be taking on the role of Tyrion Lannister, one of the series’ most popular and complex characters, fans have been champing at the bit for more.
And now they have it, with the announcement that four more major roles have been cast:
Sean Bean (LOTR, GoldenEye, Sharpe) has been cast as Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North and patriarch of House Stark; a man as cold and hard as the land he rules; honour-bound, dutiful and fiercely protective of his family. Ned is both a childhood friend and staunch ally of Robert Baratheon.
Mark Addy (A Knight’s Tale, The Full Monty, Still Standing) has been cast as Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros and victor of the eponymous Robert’s Rebellion, during which he wrested power from Mad King Aerys II Targaryen; Robert, however, enjoyed winning the crown far more than wearing it, and has grown fat and bored by the intricacies of running the Kingdom, spending his time drinking, wenching and brooding over his unhappy marriage.
Jack Gleeson (Batman Begins) has been cast as Joffrey Baratheon, Robert’s dashing yet amoral young son and heir.
Kit Harington, a newcomer to the screen, takes on what is arguably the series’ main protagonist in the role of Jon Snow, Eddard Stark’s bastard son; Jon struggles to reconcile his Father’s iron-clad morals with his own bastardy. Jon must find a place in the world where he can prosper on his own merit, rather than in the shadow of his Father’s name.
Whilst Harington and Gleeson are relative unknowns, Bean is a firm fit for the role of Ned. Having earned his fantasy chops in the likes of Fellowship of the Ring, as well as turns as a Bond villain and a Napoleonic soldier, Bean looks set to impress as the stolid, gritty and ever-dependable Stark.
Addy’s casting, however, seems a little more out of left field; whilst certainly seeming able to capture Robert’s jovial side, some might question whether he can also fulfill the darker, more brutal aspects of Robert’s character. Commentary on Addy’s casting tape, however, suggests that he is more than up to the job.
All in all, the reaction to these announcements has been positive and with several key roles still to be cast, fans of the series will be eagerly watching this space.
Filming is slated to start on October 12th in Northern Ireland.