Oct 17 2011 6:09pm

Season 2 is Coming: A Game of Thrones Casting Roundup

You win or you die, right Ned?The second season of Game of Thrones returns April, 2012. It has really been too long since we all learned just how stupid Ned Stark could be. (I mean, really, man, come on...) and news, rumors, and awards have flown back and forth (huzzah for Tyrion). Anticipating Season 2 also means figuring out who is new, and who is playing whom exactly. It’s not like George R.R. Martin had to include a master list of major players in every volume of the series or anything. Oh, wait...

We have cobbled together all the casting information that we could find for the upcoming second season, and the list is almost as epic as the scope of the series.

Natilie DormerFirst up is the beautiful and powerful Margery Tyrell, set to be played by Natalie Dormer. Margery is the eldest daughter of the powerful Tyrell house and brother to the Knight of Roses, Loras (you may remember him from THE shaving scene). Her father is the Warden of the South and a staunch alley of House Baratheon with an eye on the throne.

Asha Greyjoy, to be played by Gemma Whelan, will be renamed Yara Greyjoy for the series. She is sister to Theon Greyjoy who was a “ward” of Ned Stark and a close friend and confidante of Rob (you may remember him as the guy who hung out with Rob and had a thing for prostitutes) . Asha/Yara is one of the last remaining free children of “The Kraken” and still insists on paying the iron price for everything.

This season will also see the entrance of one of my favorite characters, BriennGwendoline Christiee of Tarth. She will be played by Gwendoline Christie. Brienne took up the sword instead of the knitting hoop. Arguably the most honorable noble after the death of Ned Stark. Not exactly known for her good looks, but can unset the best of riders.

Then there is the wildling woman Ygritte. The fiery-haired wildling woman will be played by Downton Abbey’s Rose Leslie. She is the warrior-woman Jon Snow encounters while the Night’s Watch range beyond the wall. Vicious and unforgiving, Ygritte is ever eager to tell you how much you actually know. Or don’t, in Jon’s case.

Oona ChaplinContinuing the trend of young new women will be the entrance of Jeyne Westerling, played by Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter Oona Chaplin. Jeyne is the daughter of a Lannister bannermen, and participates in the defense of the west when Rob moves against the Lannisters.

Then there is the woman who I like to think of as Cersei’s polar opposite. Carice Van HoutenWhere Cersei is selfishly crazy, Melisandre is crazy in that way that only a religious extremist can be. The Red Priestess will be played by Carice Van Houten. Melisandre is a priestess of R’hollor and self-proclaimed sorceress. She has found an ally in Stannis Barathon’s wife and has aligned herself to his cause.

It’s not all young women, though. So far they have announced the addition of a character who doesn’t appear in any of the books: Alton Lannister will be played by Karl Davies. The word is that Alton will be filling the role of Cleos Frey,  a distant relative of Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion. He served with Jamie in the Whispiring Wood and was captured along with the Kingslayer by Rob’s men.

Karl DaviesThen there are the new old heads, because they couldnt have all died with Robert and Ned. First there is Stannis Baratheon, played by Stephen Dillane. Stannis is the middle brother of Robert and Mister “I like ’em smooth” Renly. He is much more serious and stern than either of his other brothers, but well respected for his sense of justice.

Then comes another of one of my favorites, Roose Bolton. Roose will be played by Michael McElhatton. Roose is the head of the second most powerful house in the north after Stark. Known to speak in quiet tones and largely feared by the Northmen, he is a fan of the long game and should probably be watched at all times.

Speaking of enemies of House Stark, Balon Greyjoy will be played by Patrick Malahide. Balon is the father of Theon Greyjoy and Asha. He once led a rebellion against the Iron Throne to gain independence for the Iron Isles but was put down by the Northern Bannermen lead by Ned Stark. During the final battle, two of Balon’s three sons were killed, while the other one was taken as a hostage (that would be Theon).

Then there is the Onion Knight, Davos Seaworth, played by Liam Cunningham. Davos is a former smuggler who gave up the tips of the fingers on one hand so he could be knighted by Stannis. Now he is one of the most loyal and trusted knights Stannis has, and serves him without question.

Maester Cressen, played by Oliver Ford-Davies, is chief advisor to Stannis and close confidante of Davos. The Maester finds Melisandre and Tom Walaschihaher “magic” disquieting.

The easy-going and villanous Jaqen H’ghar will be played by Tom Wlaschiha. Jaquen was one of three criminals recruited out of King’s Landing by the Night’s Watch and has more than a passing interest in Arya Stark.

That’s it for the major-ish characters that will be making an apperance in the upcoming season. They have also cast Podrick Payne, Quaithe, Xaro Zhoan Daxos, Dolorous Edd, Craster, and Gilly.

What are you most looking forward to in Season 2?

It seems that Salman Rushdie dismissed Game of Thrones as “well-produced trash.” I am not one to judge anyone’s tastes. We all have our thing and we all like what we like. I don’t want to begin to count the amount of trashy, violently-sexist, and unappologetically misogynistic fantasy I have read. But you can’t just go around dismissing things like Game of Thrones as trash just because it is violent and has a bunch of naked women. That is just a discredit to the series, the author, and you as a person. Sure there are pretty folks getting nekkid, but there is a great deal more going on. Hell, the book series is how I developed an interest in the War of the Roses in high school. If all you are focusing on is the sex and the blood then I am a bit worried their Salman, not to mention the fact that you are willfully missing some marvelous character work. I mean Jamie is just one of the characters I couldn’t stand in the beginning but now I can’t help but cheer him on. Or for argument’s sake let’s say that all it is about is violence and sex, since when is it a crime to get someone to pick up a lengthy and complex book series, thinking it was about sex and killin’, that they would have otherwise passed up for a cup of coffee and a borrowed magazine while at Barnes and Noble?

I have a problem when these Literary Fiction writers come down from their ivory towers, pass judgment upon all us mass-marketers, and then ascend once more, smugly satisfied that they have given us their wisdom and enlightend the culturally dead savages. Hate to break it to you buddy, most of what you write is just genre wrapped in pretty metaphors and a remarkably developed and refined craft. So please don’t dismiss what is good just because the unwashed masses like it, no one wants to be that guy, I promise.


Christopher Morgan works for and He lives in New York City, and thinks that the only way to explain The Song of Ice and Fire is with a large dry-erase board and lots of markers.

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I hope that the actor playing Brienne can do it justice. It's such a great character, and so idiosyncratic in so many ways--if it falls flat, lots of stuff won't make sense later on (she said cryptically).
The actor playing Melisandre looks great.
And Davos! Love Davos.
Christopher Morgan
2. cmorgan
I'm a bit concerned too. They are saying this is the woman's first major role as an actor. Till this point she has been a model. It could go either way I suppose, but seeing as how I only recognized Robert, Ned, and Cersei from other roles in the first season, I trust their judgement.

Still unsure about this creating and renaming characters though.
Darlene Marshall
3. DarleneMarshall
Brienne is so unattractive in a physical sense that I'm disappointed at the casting. However, much can be done with make-up and bad lighting, so we'll see.

I'd still love to see Nathan Fillion as Dolorous Edd. He did a shout out to GoT on Castle and tweeted that he'd like a guest role. He'd be a wonderful Edd.
Regina Thorne
4. reginathorn
Argh, trying to edit and deleted my original comment which was something along the lines of: So glad you love Brienne, she is my second-favorite character in the books, and Gwendoline Christie actually wasn't a model but a stage actress (primarily) who posed for some shots with a very famous photographer who was interested in her unusual (for a woman) height. I have every faith that Nina Gold has cast someone fantastic - the casting is one of the strongest points of the tv series.

ALSO ...on the Rushdie thing ... You know, to be honest, I was much more upset by his comments on "The Wire" than about "Game of Thrones." I figure GoT gets a lot of grief because of its genre, but "The Wire" is so much more than just a "police story" and I have the feeling that he was just trying to be "controversial" for controversy's sake.
Christopher Morgan
5. cmorgan
I agree on the whole controversial thing, I get a little defensive about my genre, fantasy doesn't get a ton of love if it's not Tolkien or Lewis. Still praying they bring back Dresden to tv.

I didn't know that about Christie, just couldn't find film credits and the majority of pics I found of her where of her on the runway, so I assumed, that's what I get.
Tara B
6. box5angel
Didn't Salman Rushdie have enough controversy back in the day with all of those threats to him after writing The Satanic Verses? It's quiet time now, Mr. Rushdie.

Anyway, onto GoT. Love the series, love the show. My fave immediate characters from reading the book first (before seeing the show) were Arya, Ned, Jon and Tyrion. Still are. Later Dany grew on me. More favorites, Brienne and Davos Seaworth. Also, want to see how Melisandre is portrayed. I really, really, really wanted Eva Green in the part, but as far as I can see, this actress has the right look, so we'll see what she does with the role.

@darlenemarshall I agree with you about how Brienne is physically in the book and how she will be on the show. But yeah, makeup and lighting can fix that. lol

Not a big fan of Ygritte but it's part of the story and I'll deal with it. lol
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