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Gendry and Jhogo Cast

After a couple of hours of sweating over the clues, GRRM confirmed his clues. First, he confirmed that Elyas Gabel—who’s been in Waterloo Road, Casualty, Apparitions, and was a zombie in Dead Set—has been cast in the role of Jhogo, one of Daenerys Targaryen’s kas, her personal guard of Dothraki warriors (the three other guards will be played by extras or featured extras, at least in this season). Then, as we guessed, actor Joe Dempsie has been cast in the role of Gendry, a young, stubborn blacksmith.

Below are two videos featuring the actors:

Bloodrider Confirmed

Just a quick note, amidst all the clue pondering. Source’s close to the production have confirmed something that was rumored earlier, based on an errant IMDB entry: Danish actor Dar Salim has indeed been cast in the role of Qotho, one of Drogo’s three bloodriders, his closest and most loyal bodyguards. Salim’s appeared in a number of Danish and Scandinavian productions, and is particularly noted for his role as the titualar character of Go In Peace, Jamil!, a Shiite Muslim in Denmark on the run after committing a murder to avenge his mother’s death years earlier:

This makes us wonder if the “bloody bowman” of the clue might not be another Dothraki, in this case Daenerys’s guard Aggo, who receives a bow from her…

New Clues from GRRM

Another set of clues for two characters at “Not a Blog”:

“The bloody lash knows what it’s like to be dead. He’s met his waterloo and been a casualty, and seen his share of apparitions too. The horny-headed hammerhand is older than you might have thought, but too young to need a pacemaker, though he might have ridden on the ferry with Gerry. Another friend of our kraken’s sister, he knows the doctor and the wizard too. Damned if he doesn’t play what he calls football (not the real kind).”

After correcting the initial clue from bowman to lash, it’s clear that the first clue is for Jhogo, one of Daenerys’s young Dothraki guards. The other must be for Gendry, and we’ve tenatively identified Joseph Dempsie as a candidate (he’s rather older than Gendry as described in the books, appeared on Lily Allen and Friends, has been both on Doctor Who and Merlin, has appeared as a footballer in The Damned United, and hails from Merseyside, inspiration for the Gerry & the Pacemakers song, “Ferry Cross to Mersey”).

More On BSkyB-HBO Broadcast Deal

We noticed that Time Warner (corporate parent of HBO) has a regular corporate newsletter. Digging into the latest edition, we see that Game of Thrones is mentioned as definitely airing on one of Sky’s channels, along with Boardwalk Empire (which will be the show that launches the new deal), Luck, and other current series such as Entourage once their current broadcast right agreements run out.

The Mountain’s Progress

Conan Stevens (Twitter) has put up a new blog post regarding his experience as part of the Game of Thrones production. He starts by showing off Dark Sword Miniatures‘s Gregor Clegane figure, and the fact that George R.R. Martin congratulated him by e-mail and offered to send him one of the figures. He also notes he had to pass up a chance to take a drink with Sean Bean, and saw but was not introduced to Peter Dinklage.

In production news, Conan notes how much work he’s been putting into riding, having flown to the U.K. to receive his training. As we noticed yesterday on Twitter, he ran into actor Finn Jones (cast as Ser Loras Tyrell) while there. He’s had some riding experience in the past, and says he’s picking it up, with his goal being getting the horse up to a steady gallop by the end of the week. Of particular interest is his plan to slim down so he can get the full six-pack going, both for professional and personal reasons. But in the course of it he notes that he wants to do this “before I go home by the end of the month”. This lets us know that Conan’s first scenes will be filming in August.

At a guess, the rest of his scenes will be filmed in the Fall.

GRRM Discusses Three Actors

Having been busy with writing A Dance with Dragons, George has finally gotten around to writing a few words about several of the actors cast in roles. First, and most significantly, is Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. As we exclusively revealed, Dance was always the #1 choice of the producers right from the time they got the greenlight, and George now confirms this. He also discusses Conan Stevens, cast as Gregor Clegane, noting that he first came to his attention when he auditioned first auditioned as Khal Drogo which Stevens revealed was a strategy for getting in front of the casting director in the hope that they’d keep him in mind for the Mountain that Rides.

Finally, GRRM discusses young actor Eugene Simon, cast in the role of Lancel Lannister. One of King Robert’s two squires in the novel, the other, his cousin Tyrek, will not be cast (at least not in this first season).

Malta Filming Update

There is an interesting note for followers of progress on HBO’s Game of Thrones series in his post announcing his cancelling an appearance at New York Comic Con.

Besides noting he plans to visit Belfast (main location for shooting of the series) after attending Octocon in Dublin, he notes the possibility that he’ll also visit Malta (site of location shoots for many of the scenes set in Pentos and regions east). As Octocon takes place in mid-October, it seems like the Malta location shooting will cover the bulk of that month and a good part of September as well. As we’ve previously reported, the Malta shoot has been stated to take six weeks. Mid-September through the end of October seems likely now.

Game of Thrones Set for Spring 2011

It’s been the date bandied about since the pilot shoot, but the reshoots have made it seem possible—and HBO has certainly indicated—that the premiere would slip to late Spring or even early Summer. Now, HBO has vanquished that possibility at the TCA Summer Press Tour, stating that the show is definitely set for Spring 2011. Via Matt Roush of TV Guide.com,  one of the executives stated that early March was a possibility (March 3rd is stated elsehere), but the official line is that all they’ll commit to right now is Spring 2011. Roush and James Hibbard of the Live Feed provide more details, noting that there’s enormous pressure on the writers to match the expectations of the fans in the “blogosphere”.

In other news, it sounds like no new footage was shown from Game of Thrones at the press panel, although “a wisp” was shown. This was probably the teaser that we’ve all seen before (confirmed by HitFix).

Conan Stevens Blogs From Belfast

There’s a terrific blog post from Conan Stevens (cast as Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides) from Belfast, in which he recounts details such as his diet, his training regimen, and his run-ins with Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) and Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane, the Hound) at the training center, as well as bumping into executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. He mentions that he’s started work on a short, brutal fight sequence he’ll be taking part in, the choreography being handled by stunt coordinator Buster Reeves and his team. 

Finally, after a question from us, he discusses seeing and trying on Gregor’s armor for the first time, and was very impressed by the work that was done. As he notes, having professionals making armor for you is a fair sight better than making it yourself (as he did when he was part of the SCA).

On Monday, he’ll be taking part in “intensive horse riding lessons” from a famous horse riding stunt team, and feels that with all this intense training and this film footage, he’ll be able to apply to be an accredited stuntman in his native Australia.

Location Shoots

We’re most of the way through the second week of filming on Game of Thrones, and excellent weather this week has allowed the production to finally start location shooting around Belfast. Word from Northern Ireland (via comments at Winter is Coming) is that the location shoot was in Ballymoney. This region is noted for its lovely, rural farmsteads and the picturesque river Bann. It’s easy to speculate that the rural area might be used to represent the royal progress as it approaches King’s Landing, or perhaps that the river will be used for a scene involving Arya, Sansa, Joffrey, and Mycah the butcher’s boy.

In other news, the Times of Malta has a report on film and television production on the island. Though primarily touting their landing a new Sinbad adventure program for Sky1, HBO’s Game of Thrones is mentioned in passing as a major television production, one of the largest to ever be carried out in Europe. Of particular note? The Malta shoot is said to be about six weeks long. We know the shoot is set to start sometime in September, which is also when Winterfell exterior scenes may be shot. This makes it seem even likelier that there will be some production overlap, and at a guess a single director will be responsible for all scenes shot in Malta.

Halligan’s Advice to Actors

Actor Derek Halligan, cast in the role of the Night’s Watch master-at-arms Ser Alliser Thorne, has a long career behind him. At the Creative Choices website, he shares some of his experiences and advice to his fellow actors. It’s noted that while he has many television and film credits to his name, he still prefers theatre.

The Mountain That Flies and Other Notes

Actor Conan Stevens, cast in the role of Gregor Clegane, has posted on his site that he is now flying to Belfast to begin preparations for his scenes. He writes that these include, “... armour fittings, swordtraining and horse riding lessons (it’s been a long time since I rode last) to do before my filming starts.” Given earlier reports, we’re guessing the Hand’s tourney may be scheduled for late August, giving Stevens two-three weeks of intensive training ahead of him.

In other news, a poster by the name of DrNick at Winter is Coming has stated that a friend who was involved in the pilot was asked if he’d be available to shoot in Malta sometime in September. It seems likely that there may be some overlap with Winterfell exterior shoots, which seem likely to also take place in September. However, it’s probable that Malta may be used only for the initial Daenaerys scenes and perhaps the final scenes, whereas the Dothraki sea sequences between will be filmed in Northern Ireland given all the horse-riding extras the production has picked up in Ireland.

Last but not least, today is a new day of filming, and unlike last month (which was very rainy and kept the first week’s shooting to the Paint Hall) we seem to have a cold but sunny outlook in Belfast. The photo is from Paul McAnearney, a member of the crew. If I’m not mistaken, the photo is taken in the vicinity of the Paint Hall, but if the weather holds we may well hear of location shoots finally beginning.

Clues for Grenn

George has posted a new set of clues for the role of Grenn (“aurochs stew”):

“You’re too dumb to make this soup the way they’re making it in Belfast. Start with Becky, Tom, and Boss. Take away two fathoms. Now you want the second course. In the dark the breaker of rocks seeks the living stone. But take away the fat guy with six wives, and the babe with the bumbershoot as well, that salty wench. Out, out. What’s left tastes good, but just remember, there is no gamecock in aurochs stew. IMDB? What’s that? I’m Dumb Boy? Won’t help you here, no way, no how.”

This clue attempts to obscure things by splitting up the actor’s name, but we believe we’ve solved it: Yorkshire-born actor Mark Stanley, who is/was a third year student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Becky, Tom, and Boss are Mark Twain characters. Breaker of Rocks was the African nickname given to Henry Morton Stanley. Take away the Twain (the measurement from which Samuel Clemens picked his penname), take away Henry and Morton (by removing Henry VIII and the Morton Umbrella Girl), and you’re left with Mark Stanley. Another person of the same name happens to be a baseball player for the Univesity of South Carolina, whose team is named the Gamecocks.

ETA: GRRM confirms that Mark Stanley has been cast as Grenn.

As to IMDB being no help? The actor Mark Stanley has no apparent TV or film credits, and so does not appear in IMDB.

Charles Dance Cast as Tywin Lannister

The last really major casting announcement has been made, thanks to Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune: British actor Charles Dance has been cast as Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock and patriarch of the Lannister family. Though his character appears late in the series, his presence is felt throughout the series. He is a Machiavellian figure, commanding, ambitious, and powerful.

Charles Dance was a fan favorite from early on, thanks to his performance in the BBC’s Bleak House and other productions. But Westeros.org can exclusively reveal that a source close to the production told us months ago that he was already a favorite of the executive producers, who had had an opportunity to meet with him (or so we’re told) as he was filming Your Highness in the Paint Hall in Belfast just before Game of Thrones began production there. We’re not sure why it took quite so long for negotiations to sort out, but suffice it to say, now it’s signed, sealed, and delivered.

Below, is an interview with Dance about his role in Sky’s Going Postal, an adaption from Terry Prachett’s Discworld oeuvre.

And here is Dance in his famous role of the unfeeling, grasping lawyer Tulkinghorn in Bleak House:

Dance recently appeared in actor James Franco’s short film, The Clerk’s Tale, which was promoted online with some high res stills that feature the actor in his role as a suit salesman.

Winterfell in September

A tweet from an individual involved in the production reveals that HBO’s production plans seem to have scenes set in Winterfell waiting until September to start rolling, and they’ll last through the rest of the shoot it seems. We wonder if this might mean that the pilot reshoots—at least those parts set in and around the North—will be waiting until then?