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.