Perhaps the biggest casting news revealed at the convention was that Dame Diana Rigg has been cast in the role of Olenna Tyrell, mother of Mace Tyrell, grandmother to Ser Loras and Lady Margaery. The agreement was finalized over a month ago (since that’s when I first heard of it), and rumors had begun to swirl since, but HBO and the production have managed to keep this quite muted.
Known as the Queen of Thorns, Lady Olenna is described in the novel as a diminutive, doll-like woman who has a very ... forthright way about expressing herself. She’s a popular character among readers, and Rigg is absolutely capable of delivering the Queen of Thorn’s stinging opinions even if she’s rather a good deal taller (at 5’8.5”)! Best known for her iconic role as Emma Peel in the British The Avengers spy series, Rigg has also won plaudits for her film and theater roles, most notably Teresa di Vicenzo in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Reagan in Granada Television’s production of King Lear (with Laurence Olivier in the title role, his last performance of Shakespeare in his career), and her Tony Award-winning performance in Medea. She has recently completed filming an episode of Doctor Who, in which she’ll be acting with her daughter Rachel Stirling for the first time. A selection of clips of the actress can be found below:
The other big casting news, one which we’re glad we can finally discuss, is Mackenzie Crook as Orell, a wildling skinchanger. He’s a character that is killed in A Clash of Kings as he wore the skin of his eagle, an eagle which goes on to hav a special hatred for Jon Snow… but the show’s opted to keep him alive, and give him a more significant role in this third season. We first heard of Crook being involved at the end of June, along with the news that Clive Russel was playing the Blackfish and the involvement of Nathalie Emmanuel in the production.
Another, smaller confirmation relates to Philip McGinley, who has been cast as Anguy. Also known as Anguy the Archer, he’s a member of Beric Dondarrion’s Brotherhood without Banners. A young man from the Dornish Marches with a rare talent with the longbow, the character is mentioned in passing in A Game of Thrones as he wins the archery competition at the Hand’s tourney. After Anguy spends all of his wealth quite frivolously, he signs on with Lord Beric when he gathers men to bring Gregor Clegane to justice, and remains with him as the Brotherhood forms.
McGinley has made a number of appearances on British TV, and recently had a small role in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Here’s a showreel:
Dormer (no relation to Natalie Dormer, who plays Margaery Tyrell) is a noted Northern Irish actor, playwright, and screenwriter. He’s had many roles in film and television, but received greatest notice for Hurricane, a one-man play about the life of Alex “Hurricane” Higgins, a champion snooker player. Dondarrion is a lord who, against all odds, continues to fight for justice and right in the midst of the war, though he and his brotherhood without banners harbor their secrets.
A veteran television and film actor, hailing from Sctoland. This would be Catelyn’s uncle and Robb’s great-uncle, per the novels, a noted soldier. He’s a role that some fans have dearly wanted to see on the screen, only for him to be pushed back from the first to second season, and then not even then. Still, better late than never. Among notable roles for the actor has been appearances in both of the new Sherlock Holmes films as Captain Tanner, MacQueen in The Wolfman, and television appearances in various productions including Merlin and The Mists of Avalon. Here’s a bit of a show reel for the actor:
We’ve already previously discussed her, but now we know that shel is playing the rule of Missandei, a slave from Naath who acts as a scribe and translator for one of the slavers of Astapor; in the novel, the character is quite young (8 or 9 years old), but clearly she’s being aged up.
Another one that we discussed previously, as her role as Stannis Baratheon’s only child was revealed last month. Ingram is quite the performer, having shared an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical with three other young actresses who shared the role of Matilda in the eponymous musical. Below, you can see their performance at the Olivier Awards, as well as their acceptance speech:
(If you’re wondering, Ingram is the tallest of the four girls in the acceptance speech video, who starts speaking at about the 2 minute mark.)
Rumors to the contrary, it turns out that it’s Paul Kaye and no one else in the role of Thoros of Myr! This is a pretty surprising casting, in some ways, since Kaye is a comedian and comedic actor. It’s true that the world-weary Thoros of Myr, a red priest who ends up fighting alongside Beric Dondarrion (and doing rather more than that…), has a sense of humor. The actor’s appearance isn’t quite what I would have imagined for Thoros, who as a Myrish man likely has olive skin.
Here’s Kaye in his best known comedic character, Dennis Pennis:
This was one that was first rumored quite awhile back, as I recall, but now it looks like the Norwegian actor managed to land the role of Tormund Giantsbane, a well-known wildling hero, known as much for his boastful ways as his skill in arms. He’s a popular character, jolly and very humorous with his ridiculous boasts and jolly manner over a core of steel. He’s an older man in the novels, in his fifties probably, so he’s been youthened quite a bit. Hivju has recently been transitioning into American film, so this is a logical step for him.
Mysterious and enigmatic indeed, Jojen is the son of Howland Reed, a friend of Eddard Stark’s who rode with him during Robert’s Rebellion. Jojen and his sister Meera are crannogmen, who come from the swampy region of the Neck that joins the North to the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, and one of the features of the crannogmen is that they are very short on average (around 5’ tall in many cases). In the novel, Jojen is a boy of thirteen, so he’s being aged up a bit (Sangster is 22, but you can see he can play a bit younger) and is obviously quite a bit taller than Jojen. Sangster is probably best known for his role in Love Actually. Here’s an interview with the actor:
Jojen’s older sister (at least, in the novel), Meera is a brave, canny young woman of 16 years (as per the novel). Like Sangster, Kendrick has quite a few credits, most notably playing the part of Anne Franke for the BBC’s recent miniseries, and had a role in the revival of Upstairs, Downstairs. Below is a video giving a behind the scenes look at her role as Allison in the British supernatural drama, Being Human:
She was another one revealed earlier, thanks to the Evening Standard. Fitzgerald is, one must say, rather a lot more beautiful than the homely Selyse of the novel, who is a rather stern woman and a zealot who has fallen under Melisandre’s sway absolutely! Fitzgerald has extensive credits in film, theater, and television, with such notable items as Sirens, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, and the BBC’s most recent Jane Eyre miniseries. She was also Ophelia in Jonathan Kent’s production of Hamlet which starred the then up-and-coming Ralph Fiennes—we’ve heard amazing things about that particular production.
Here’s a video featuring her and Keith Allen (aka Alfie Allen’s dad!) discussing a show they were on, The Body Farm:
This one’s suprising to me, but very cool in its way. Playing Catelyn Tully’s rash younger brother, Ser Edmure Tully—who, part way through A Storm of Swords, becomes Lord Tully when his father dies… a fact that appears to have already taken place when S3 opens—is none other than Tobias Menzies, perhaps best known for his role as Brutus in HBO’s well-regarded Rome. He did a fantastic job in the role of the doomed would-be patriot, trapped between obligations to Rome, to the Senate, to Caesar, and more.
A disgraced maester who had his chain stripped from him by the Citadel for his unpleasant research, Qyburn in the novel is described as having a kindly, grandfatherly appearance that belied his ... experiments, and the fact that he serves one of the cruellest mercenrary companies around, the Bloody Mummers. Lesser is a RADA-trained actor who has played numerous Shakespearean roles on the stage and screen, and is also known for his audio book reading. Below, you can see him as Feste in the Kenneth Branagh-directed television production of Twelfth Night: