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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):


( 63 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 21st, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
she is gonna do a fantastic job. I'm glad she part of this wonderful cast. Kudos!
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:20 am (UTC)
I think she will be perfect.
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
Huzzah. As soon as her name cropped up in speculations, I was sold, having seen her in The Tudors as well.

I very much share your mixed feelings about that show, BTW. The costuming is ridiculously beautiful (although a lady of our acquaintance, who worked on the costuming in the first season, hated some of the ahistorical costuming decisions that the show required -- she's a rigorous historian when it comes to such things), and some of the actors have done very well in their roles. But the histrionic soap opera vibe isn't my very favorite thing.

The cast seems to shaping up terrifically, to say the least!
Aug. 24th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
histrionic soap opera--perfect description.

It's a very odd role. The royal semen collector in season two was especially "wtf"-worthy.
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:27 am (UTC)
Oh, I can't wait... Dany is one of my favorite characters, next to Arya and Tyrion, so I'm really, really excited! *_* I think the choice is a good one too. ♥
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)
I agree. This girl is Dany. She's talented, sweet yet intimidating, she's perfect.
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)

Courtesy of my little sister
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
Hehe yeah I saw her name come up yesterday by the cast hunters all over the boards. I checked her out, I think she can sell both innocent/ volunerable and strong/commanding/hot. Which is basically what's needed for a good Dany.
I was kind of scared with this role, since the sex scenes played by a girlie girl would just be plain wrong. This lady here will have no problem with that.

Great news, I'm happy with every single choice so far!!
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:34 am (UTC)
I got goosebumps reading all of these. Very excited.
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:36 am (UTC)
All these casting posts are giving me seizures of happiness.
Aug. 21st, 2009 07:38 am (UTC)
Oh my. She looks lovely. Everybody looks terrific. Mostly I can't wait to see Arya and Sansa in action, as they were two in particular whose casting I was very keen on, and your comments make me hop around with hopeful glee.

I live in the south of Ireland. I'm going to go peek at some of the filming if I can, even if I have to walk to get there. :)
Aug. 21st, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
I enjoyed her role in The Tudors (which I also have mixed feelings about) so I'm perfectly happy with her being cast as Dany.
Aug. 21st, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
Wow, this is just about how I pictured her.
Aug. 21st, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
I had wondered about the age issue between Daenerys and Drogo. Dany has one of the most dramatic personality shifts in the series, so I'm glad you feel this actress can carry the role. She looks the part, and I'm sure she will like how her character changes and grows into her own power. You are collecting a really good set of actors for this! I'm sure we are on the road to an enjoyable show!
Aug. 21st, 2009 09:57 am (UTC)
it sounds mean but i just don't think she is beautiful enough.
Aug. 21st, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
She'll be PERFECT, just as most of the actors recently cast (Alfie... hmmm, I don't see it).

You can't tell us who the other candidates were, but can you tell what were the pros and cons of Tamzin against the others?
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( 63 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
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