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As Daenerys Targaryen...

... we have the lovely and talented young British actress Tamzin Merchant.

I know my readers play the casting game. Well, confession time, so do I. Ever since I began A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (way back in 1991, thought it wasn't until 1994 that I got writing in earnest), there was always a little part of me that would watch every television show and movie with one eye looking for actors and actresses who might work as my characters.

And so there I was, watching THE TUDORS (which I have VERY mixed feelings about, I confess), when Tamzin Merchant came on screen as the fifteen year old Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife. I sat up at once, thinking, "Hmmm, she could be a good candidate for Dany."

Katheryn Howard, as all students of history know, ended with her head on the block, much like Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Which gave her something in common with Ned, hence that clue. And she was Henry's fifth wife, hence the "fourth is fifth" clue.

Dany is very difficult role. She starts out vulnerable and scared, but blooms on the Dothraki sea, and becomes a powerful leader by book's end. It's no secret that HBO's Dany will start out older than Dany does in the book; that was a change that had to be made, if we wanted to keep the sex scenes, and David and Dan and I were all agreed that the sex scenes were essential. Tamzin can play much younger than her actual age (as she does when playing Katheryn) and her sex scenes on THE TUDORS were as hot as anything I've ever seen on TV. In her readings, she showed Dany's other side as well, commanding and charismatic after Drogo's death. I think she'll be marvelous.

I believe I mentioned at worldcon that we were down to three finalists for Dany, which was true at the time. It was a hell of a hard choice, since the other two contenders were also great... so great, in fact, that I hope we can use both of them in other roles should the series last several seasons. (Yes, I know just the roles, and no, I won't tell you which ones, nor the names of the other two actresses. Sorry, not kosher). All three were smashing. But Tamzin was Dany.

(some of her earlier work, pre TUDORS):


Aug. 21st, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
To be perfectly honest, I am not crazy about her for Dany.
She's a very pretty young lady... but that's the problem. She looks like a young lady and not a young girl. I understand that you are aging Dany up a bit (from 13 to 15 is the rumor I heard), and that's understandable, and with the sexuality, obviously you had to have someone over 18 play her. But she does not look like a 15 year old. She looks like a 19-20 year old. Personally, I found one of the importances of Dany is her youth. That is an essential key element to her. There's such a mix of childhood innocence and raw power broiling underneath. Without that sense of childlike innocence and vunerability, the character looses so much.
Miss Merchant looks like she probably could have played Dany effectively at one point, but she simply doesn't look young enough to be convincing to me.
However, you are the author and if you are pleased with the casting choice then that is what matters. I will just wait and hope that she is able to bring this very important role to justice.
Aug. 23rd, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Eh? Dany is 15 at the start of aGoT is she not (roughly the same age as Robb and Jon)? Aging her up to 18-looks-15 seems perfectly reasonable.
Aug. 24th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC)
No, she's thirteen at the start -- we know for certain because at the end of the chapter where her handmaid observes that she's with child (and she replies, in a tone I imagine as somewhere between serene and smug, "I know"), it's stated that it's her fourteenth birthday. It comes as a bit of a shock to find out that she's that young, given what's already happened in her story line. The pilot script specifies that she's fifteen, but I think Tamzin will make a reasonably convincing fifteen-year-old, given the right makeup, and she can certainly act fifteen -- or at least could a few years ago, and I really doubt she's forgotten.
Aug. 24th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
Nope. At the start of GoT she is 13.
In the show they are aging her to 15.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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