PFO Culture’s Culture @ TPL’s second Game of Thrones Round Table. This week, our staff will look into the casting of the show. We hope you enjoy who we thought was cast perfectly, who wasn’t, and how we would fix it.
Dave P @dpfective
Cast Perfectly: Tormund (Kristofer Hivju)
Good lord, what a lucky find. Now, he’s like a ginger King Robert Baratheon, but early in the show he was just another “bad guy.” However, as the show moves forward, Kristofer continued evolving with the character. Only he could bring sincerity to the line: “Happy Shitting!”
Worst Cast: Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy)
This image from A Wiki of Ice and Fire looks nothing like Addy’s King Baratheon. Look, Mark Addy is a fine actor and great in his roles. Have you ever seen him in The Full Monty, Still Standing, or A Knight’s Tale? He’s great. However, in the books, George R.R. Martin clearly describes Robert Baratheon as at least 6 and half feet tall. Obviously that’s hard to cast for – I get it – but sadly, Addy only fills the look of a drunkard.
Recasting: Richard Armitage
When thinking about this, I was thinking about someone in their mid-late 40s, tall, dark hair, can handle his booze, intimidating, “strong seed” – you know similar to the books. And I keeping thinking about Richard Armitage. His role as Thorin in The Hobbit films suggests he could’ve been a great King in the First Season. And his role in Castlevania shows that he can be a wise-cracking drunkard if given the right role.
Moves like Deibler, @MrCrockPot
Cast Perfectly: Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson)
How can it not be Joffrey? He was the ultimate “hate the face” and an incredible villain up until season four (for those of us who didn’t read the books). Just when you thought Ned Stark’s death scene couldn’t be topped, HBO gave us a shock when Joffrey was poisoned. It was one of the very few “get off your couch and celebrate” moments of the show at the time.
Worst Cast: Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson)
This is such a petty gripe. The casting in Game of Thrones is so, so spot on across the board. If I had to choose, it would be Grey Worm, the commander of The Unsullied. Game of Thrones gives so many memorable “generals” throughout the universe, such as Khal Drago, Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont, and Tormund Giantsbane. Grey Worm just doesn’t move the needle for me.
Recasting: Michael B. Jordan
Anyone that is a leader of an army requires immense screen presence. Michael B. Jordan would steal every scene he’s in as leader of The Unsullied. Michael is phenomenal actor with plenty of range, but he can also bring the chops as the ultimate badass whenever he wants (Killmonger).
Best Casting: Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
I strongly disagree with the character choices the showrunners made for Stannis toward the end of his arc, but that’s for another time. In terms of just casting, they hit this one out of the park. Stephen Dillane was born to play this role. Grumpy guy, doesn’t take any crap, and has a very strict code he follows. He even grinds his teeth like the character does in the book! He probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite, but that just means he played the role perfectly.
Worst Casting: Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony)
When we are first introduced to Robert Baratheon, he’s fat, drunk, and otherwise washed up. The man who overthrew the Mad King’s regime and killed Rhaegar at the Trident is not the one who sits on the throne at the start of the series. Prime Robert, however, was handsome, burly, strong, courageous, and charismatic. In the books, his youngest brother Renly mirrors those qualities. Renly, on the outside, is supposed to reflect all the parts of Robert that made the people love him and welcome him as their King. His entire claim to the throne is based off using the formula that Robert already created.
The key difference, though, is that Renly is supposed to be a bad guy. The first thing he wants to do when Robert dies is apprehend his children, kick Cersei out of power, and take the throne for himself. When that doesn’t happen he leaves and goes full throttle with rebelling against the throne and claiming himself as the rightful ruler. Here’s the thing, though…in no way does Renly have a claim. If Joffrey is Robert’s kid (which we know he isn’t), then that makes Joffrey the rightful heir. If he’s not, then the throne goes to the next of kin, which would be the next oldest brother. Again this is…not Renly. So to summarize, on the outside, Renly is all of the best qualities of Robert. On the inside…he’s kind of a spoiled brat who wants to be King for no reason despite his other living brother having the rightful claim.
Now let’s set ask ourselves, did the show Renly match up with that?
Recasting: Henry Cavill
In my opinion, Renly in the show comes off as a victim, instead of the traitor he was supposed to be. So who would I cast that can show the outward qualities of prime Robert while still being a villain? The man who just did that in the latest Mission Impossible movie: Henry Cavill. That’s right, what could have been HBO…what could have been.
Best Casting: Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) and Olenna Tyrell (Dianna Rigg)
Tywin and Olenna are so spot on perfect, I wish they survived longer. Tywin has the look-down-the-nose, STFU-and-do-what-I-say thing down pat. I know he’s technically a villain but I just love him and his badassery so much. Olenna is kind of in the same camp. She’s supposed to be a kind of harmless old lady that takes no shit and Diana Rigg plays that so perfectly. I just want her to adopt me.
Worst Casting: Sand Snakes (Kiesha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick & Rosabell Laurenti Sellers)
Seriously, they couldn’t get their linguistics crew to get them to agree on an accent and Tyene has the single worst, cringiest line in the whole show to Bronn before he and Jamie leave with Marcella. I can’t even type it out it makes me feel such secondhand embarrassment.