After a long, long search, HBO and the Game of Thrones production have at last found their Mance Rayder, the former ranger who now calls himself King-beyond-the-Wall. According to James Hibberd at EW, Ciarán Hinds has been cast. The Belfast-native actor has a long and distinguished career, playing everything from King Lot in John Boorman’s Excalibur to the proud but tormented Brian de Bois-Guilbert tormented villains in the (very good) Ivanhoe miniseries and on to significant roles in Hollywood films such as The Sum of All Fears, John Carter, and the well-reviewed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
But Hinds may be best-known to HBO fans for his gravitas in HBO’s much-missed Rome, the most expensive TV series the cable network has produced. His Julius Caesar may give a taste—just a taste—of the commanding presence he’ll bring to the role of Mance Rayder.
Here’s a look at Hinds performing across from Tobias Menzies as Brutus—Menzies, if you’ll recall, was announced at Comic-Con as Edmure Tully:
Hinds is 59 years old, a good deal older than the character of Mance in the novels, but this is par for the course for the series which has aged up a great number of roles. What’ll be interesting to see is if Hinds will play Mance closer to the novels, which would mean a somewhat roguish and free-spirited charm would have to be brought to bear to match Rayder’s portrayl in the novel.