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In the Vale

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The Vale of Arryn may have remained aloof from the War of the Five Kings in my novel, but it is still going to be a part of the series of GAME OF THRONES. In the recent fact sheet, HBO revealed the names of a number of the actors who will portraying characters from the Vale, so I thought I would introduce you to some of them here.

As Lysa Arryn, widow of Jon Arryn and Lady of the Eyrie and sister to Catelyn Stark, we were fortunate to get the services of the wonderful Scottish actress KATE DICKIE:



Dickie has been acting professionally since 1994, in theater, television, and film. And she's no stranger to the middle ages. You can get a look at her right now in the Starz miniseries PILLARS OF THE EARTH (based on the Ken Follett novel, a great read), where she plays Agnes. Yes, it's true, Lysa Arryn is, ah, big boned, and Kate Dickie is not. But I don't think Lysa's girth is critical here, and I expect Dickie to act the hell out of the part, just as she did in the auditions.

The part of Lysa's son, Robin Arryn, will be played by LINO FACIOLI:



Casting children is always challenging, but Nina Gold and her people have done an incredible job so far, finding Maisie, Sophie, and Isaac for us. They've hit another home run... wait, this is the UK, maybe I should use a cricket metaphor... they've whacked a bloody good wicket, or whatever... anyway, they did well, and Lino should perform admirably in the very difficult role of the sickly and spoiled Lord of the Eyrie. Lino is an Austrian citizen who was born in Brazil, lives in London, and speaks fluent Portugese. You can catch him in the recent movie GET HIM TO THE GREEK. And yes, the character he is portraying was named Robert in the books, but will be Robin in the show. There was some concern that having two Roberts might be confusing. Whatever. In any case, he's still Sweetrobin.

Lady Lysa and her son are protected by the knights of the Vale, chief among them Ser Vardis Egen, who will be played by BRENDAN MCCORMACK, whose credits include THE TUDORS, THE LITTLE FOXES, and I HATE MUSICALS: THE MUSICAL.



Finally, in the part of the Eyrie's brutal gaoler Mord, we have Irish stage veteran CIARAN BERMINGHAM. Bermingham has done his share of television and film as well, but is best known for his work in theatre at venues all over Ireland.



Let me assure you that, when doing Mord, Bermingham does not come across at all like the jolly, friendly fellow he looks in his picture here.

A few last words about a part that has NOT been cast. Since the release of the HBO fact sheet last week, I've gotten several emails wanting to know about a role that was not listed -- another knight of the Vale, Ser Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, uncle to both Lady Lysa and her sister Catelyn. Some of you wanted to know if he'd been dropped.

Not dropped, no. But, alas, his appearance has been postponed. Even with such a huge project as ours, there are budgetary constraints that require some characters to be cut, combined... or deferred to later seasons. That's what is happening with the Blackfish. The plan, I am told, is to delay the introduction of the Tullys (Lord Hoster and Ser Edmure as well as Ser Brynden) until the second season. Brynden's part in the events of A GAME OF THRONES will be filled in part by Ser Vardis Egen, and in part by Ser Rodrik Cassel.

This will upset the purists among you, I know. I regret that. But some changes of this sort are necessary whenever a book as big as mine is adapted to television or film. You will get your Blackfish eventually (assuming we get that second season). Just not now.

Comments

( 37 comments )
rhaenyskitten
Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
The Blackfish
All in all a small deviation from your masterpiece. Brynden's import doesn't come about until Robb marches south.

"Robin" is awesome, as is Mord?

dear_amaranth
Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
This will upset the purists among you, I know. I regret that.

Meh. I just figure that if the author's happy with the changes, it means it's still going pretty much the way he/she envisioned it. Fine by me.

And honestly, with a cast the size of yours, I'm shocked this this is one of the first significant changes I've seen.
rhaenyskitten
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Cognitive Dissonance
I think you're making a little too much of it Ran. The other character establishes his skills in that scene no matter what. If anything this make the other more skilled.

(When I say other I don't mean "Other")

Speaking of which, has this 'other' character been cast yet? He's got some of the juiciest scenes in the book.
dear_amaranth
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Cognitive Dissonance
Sorry? Making too much of what? I was trying to say that it sounds like no big deal to me.
rhaenyskitten
Jul. 23rd, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
Re: Cognitive Dissonance
Oops, I was actually trying to reply to Hippohaihanoi.
werthead
Jul. 23rd, 2010 11:12 am (UTC)
Re: Cognitive Dissonance
Bronn? Yes, he's being played by Jerome Flynn, a choice the British fans have been surprised by. Waiting to hear GRRM's thoughts on his audition :-)
hippoiathanatoi
Jul. 24th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
Re: Cognitive Dissonance
It's not his skill that really matters in that scene, I think, as far as informing us of Bronn's character. That should already have been established.

No spoilers, so I can't discuss in detail, but I make my reasoning plainer here with said spoilers. It's mostly about my medievalist sensibilities.
hippoiathanatoi
Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
That sounds fair enough, re: the Blackfish. He's a good character, but he's not really an indispensable character at this stage. Shifting his material around to Egen and Cassel should work fine.

Brendan McCormack's age and build are causing some cognitive dissonance for me, though, in relation to Vardis Egen. Usually that doesn't matter a bit, but since Egen's age is a bit of a plot point, it's a surprise. I guess this'll be changing the ... interaction with one of the other characters (he says, avoiding spoilers) a bit.

And this leads me off on a tangent, though loosely related. Finn Jones recently tweeted he saw a drawing of what Loras's armor will look like, and was really excited about getting to wear it. I wonder if they'll stick to the forget-me-nots made of sapphires?
werthead
Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
I also thought that but, oddly, his appearance is much more a match for Egen's appearance in the board game:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_SniTwfm5BwE/TEGIYu5q98I/AAAAAAAACoA/fCUwMocQPLw/s1600/Brendan+McCormack+as+Vardis+Egen.bmp

Very strange. Maybe Fantasy Flight were having a prescient day that day.
hippoiathanatoi
Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
Are you sure that's Vardis? I think that's the Conn son of Corrat card, by Amok.
werthead
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
The original version. Fantasy Flight themselves must have cocked it up if that is a mistake:

http://agot9players.free.fr/Cards/House/Arryn/Ser-Vardis-Egen.jpg
hippoiathanatoi
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
Baffling. The original CCG card, which I think predated the board game.

I remember that particular depiction of Conn because I was always a bit amused by the feathers in his hair.
whatamiatailor
Jul. 22nd, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
Everyone looks great! (I did check them on imdb after the announcement but it’s still nice to get a blurb and an opinion from you.) Too bad about the Black Fish. A strong character should have a strong intro (though who’s to say he won’t? in 2012). I suppose, such a loss will be cushioned a little on TV; in a story as vast as ASOIF even someone as important as Ser Brynden couldn’t be much more than a minor role in the TV version, with as much screen time as Lucius Vorenus’ third in command in Rome maybe (the character’s name eludes me.)
gh0ti_2
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
Cricket metaphor for "home run" would most likely be "hit it for six!" or variant...
riath
Jul. 23rd, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
This would be the correct term to use. *grin*

Looking forward to this even more. Pity about Blackfish being postponed, but better than being dropped altogether.
darthbek
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
Blackfish!
Normally, I'd be nervous, if this wasn't such a quality production to begin with. And the fact that the Blackfish hasn't been cut all together, is, honestly, a good sign. After all -- Didn't you write ASoIaF because you hated the budget constraints of television and wanted as many characters as you damned well pleased? Ha. The Blackfish could easily have been a casualty of the Almighty Dollar.

He's one of my favorites. I look forward to his appearance in the future. And, really... how much awesome can we handle all at once? Thank you for the update! And thank you for keeping the information real for us, good and bad. You know more about both sides of this business than the lot of us groupies!
anirien
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
I totally understand leaving the Blackfish out of the first season, of all characters to cut his makes a lot of sense. Though I hope that cutting Edmure from the first season doesn't mean that the uh... last Catelyn scene of the book will be cut.

Eagerly awaiting more casting news, especially for characters like Greatjon Umber, Gendry... uh wow there's still a lot of characters left to cast!
(Deleted comment)
westeros_fan
Jul. 23rd, 2010 12:50 pm (UTC)
(chokes on muffin) (splutters) Ack! Whatever happened to 'no spoilers'?

:o)

Anyhow, while I'm here, I should ask - if 2 Roberts (without much more than a name in common) would be too confusing, what do they plan to do about all those Walders (who're all related and mostly all live together)? Maybe they'll change Lord Frey's first name to Joe. There are quite a few Brans too, though since most of them are long dead - not an issue?

As for Jon Arryn's dying words, I bet they'll just drop the "Robert" & let Lysa jump to her conclusions without it.
westeros_fan
Jul. 23rd, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
If the first and last sentences of that last comment of mine seem out of place, it's because the comment I was replying to seems to have disappeared - possibly due to the muffin-choke-inducing spoiler that was (briefly) found within?
quique12
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Robin looks very similar to the image I had in my head.
I am very excited about this TV show.
odiedragon
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
Sweetrobinbert is adorable :D

Sure, not meeting the Blackfish right away is disappointing, but things like that are acceptable losses. And as was said above, he's not a major player until he hooks up with Stark and Co in aCoK.
thedisgrace
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
It's inevitable that a few things like this will happen. Somehow I suspect I won't notice, it's been years since I've read the first book, haha. But anyway, if you're content with it, I suspect most of your fans will be too. It's the spirit of the work that's important, I and suspect that the series will be much more true to the books than most book-to-TV/Movies tend to be.
cailin_t
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
NOOOOO BLACKFISH NO!!!! But it's understandable, I guess. :( Very very sad. :((( Boo.

jmparker78
Jul. 22nd, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
I'm mainly glad we know now what's to become of the Blackfish.

I'm glad he won't be dropped, somewhat disappointed we won't see him this season, but not devastated.

Now, what about Tywin, Shae, Walder Frey, Myrcella, Tommen, Ser Illyn, Gendry, Grenn, Shagga, Podrick Payne, Beric, Thoros, the Greatjon, Roose Bolton, Kevan Lannister, Irri, Jiqui, Doreah, the other Kingsguard members, Mirri Maz Du'ur, etc.?

I know, I'm a brat.
hippoiathanatoi
Jul. 23rd, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Tywin, Shae, Myrcella, Tommen, Ilyn Payne, Gendry, Shagga, Irri, Jhiqui, and Doreah are all roles that are in the show, last I recall. Grenn too, maybe. Some have already been cast, some are still in casting.
drcaptainmorgan
Jul. 23rd, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
I just came here to say that that kid has a huge head.
sweetroar
Jul. 23rd, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
I shall miss not seeing the Blackfish, I do enjoy his character in the books.

It's understandable that concessions had to be made, and as long as you can tolerate the changes then we too shall have to deal with it.
kittycat22
Jul. 23rd, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
As a total purist when it comes to my beloved books translating into film, I have to say I really appreciate getting to see your thoughts about changes that are coming, and hearing your understanding of things. Also, knowing that things ARE still happening, even if things are happening a bit shifted around, is helpful.

I would give just about anything to have had this sort of discourse about Harry Potter.. perhaps then I would be able to tolerate the movies!

Thanks!
westerosbrazzle
Jul. 23rd, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
Changes from the original books are sure to happen, but with the amazing source material, I am sure the result will be excellent regardless.
nicnac
Jul. 23rd, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)
Yep, I think we've definitely got off lightly if that is the most significant change. Phew!
kc_gamer42
Jul. 23rd, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC)
some changes
You are too right about some changes being required to translate things to television. I am sure the team will do their best to keep as true as possible. HBO tends to put out quality shows, so I am giddy with antici...pation.
mariefoxprice
Jul. 23rd, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
Guardian on Game of Thrones TV show
I accidentally came across this article on A Game of Thrones TV show at the Guardian website this morning:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/tvandradioblog
mz_pink
Jul. 23rd, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)
Purist Schmurist. We're lucky enough to be getting this wonderfully cast series, naturally with these things there have to be some practical changes.

I'm still in awe of the fact it's being made into a TV show, the pure scale of it is mind boggling!
linguana
Jul. 23rd, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
Go Austria!!!
Robin (man, that sounds weird) Arryn looks perfect for the part. And an Austrian citizen no less. My poor tiny country might make some fame, after all. With something other than skiers. :)

I can't wait for the show.
metalgoddessamb
Jul. 23rd, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
a little off topic...
But since you mentioned that Kate Dickie is appearing in Pillars Of The Earth, I was wondering Mr. Martin, if you'll be watching it. My guess is you will, and I'm sure you will have your opinions about it also. Can we expect some commentary?

The Broadcast debut is tonight, but since I work on Friday nights, I watched it On Demand last night. All I am going to say now is I liked it, and look forward to seeing the rest of it.
atrus123
Jul. 25th, 2010 10:42 am (UTC)
Re: a little off topic...
I was wondering the same thing. I watched the first two episodes last night and thought there was a lot to like, but a few of the changes from the book really bothered me. One small example would be how they handled the relics of St. Adolphus. I'd love to get GRRM's take.

That said, I think Kate Dickie will make a great Lysa!
pimpstergust
Jul. 23rd, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Happy about this being the biggest character dropped (well, postponed) and all, but...

... in all honesty?

BLACKFISH! NOOOOOOOOO! (I'm not much of a purist really, I just really, really dig the Blackfish. Then again, he's what makes the Tullys awesome, so if they're delaying the whole Tully clan's appearance, I guess it works... but...)

Blaaaackfiiiish. :(

He will be missed. One of my favorite non-POVs.
( 37 comments )

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