July 28th, 2010


A Change on the Small Council

It saddens me to announce that we've had a casting change on the HBO series.

My old friend Roy Dotrice, who had been scheduled to play the part of Grand Maester Pycelle, has had to withdraw from the show for medical reasons. Roy was a colleague of mine from our days together on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, where he played the part of Father. More recently, he was my own personal choice as the reader on the audiobooks for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and did a wonderful job of reading the first three volumes (a schedule conflict required us to use a different reader for book four), playing all the parts and giving each character his own distinctive voice. Roy would have magnificent as Grand Maester Pycelle, and I was eagerly looking forward to seeing his council scenes with Varys, Littlefinger, and Ned.

Unfortunately, his health does not permit him to continue at this time. I just spoke with Roy, who is presently in Los Angeles receiving treatment. He tells me that his doctors say that, with three or four months of treatment, he should be back to his old self, and "right as rain" by Christmas. David and Dan and the folks at HBO were as distraught about losing him as I was, and all of us wish him a speedy and complete recovery. Once Roy is back to full health, we hope to find another role for him in the series. After all, he's played them ALL on the audiobooks.

Good luck, Roy. All your fans and friends will be thinking of you.

Meanwhile, back in Belfast... they have this saying in the theatre, you know the one... "the show must go on." And so it must. The redoubtable Nina Gold and her team faced a huge task in finding someone to fill the shoes of a Roy Dotrice, but as ever, they have done a smashing job. The role of Grand Maester Pycelle will now be played by JULIAN GLOVER.

Glover has a list of credits in stage, screen, and television that's just as long as that of Dotrice. The two of them have worked together, in fact -- when I mentioned him to Roy, he responded that Glover was "my old mate from the Royal Shakespeare Company."

Our new Pycelle will be no stranger to fans of SF and fantasy. He was an Imperial officer in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and he's appeared in DOCTOR WHO, TROY, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, and even SPACE: 1999, among countless other films and television shows. More recently, he's been seen in THE YOUNG VICTORIA and in the forthcoming PRINCESS KAUILANI (with the lovely Tamzin Merchant).

Roy Dotrice will be missed, but Julian Glover will make Pycelle his own, we have no doubt. Last I heard, he was already in Belfast, being fitted for a long white beard.

Riddle Me This

Big brother's gift is the sexiest female. The sellsword's gift is like cherry cola. Take twelve steps to big brother's gift. No, no, the other one. Big brother's gift is not the sexiest female. The sellsword's gift was shopping when they found her. Big brother's gift has known a lot of ups and downs. No, no, the other one. Big brother's gift is a friend of the kraken's sister. The sellsword's gift once won a deer. Big brother's gift came from the great white north to the land of oak and hollies, where she was the sexiest female, sometimes. Yes, that one, The sellsword's gift tackles life head on. Big brother's gift gets a F. No, no, the other one. Controversy and the sellsword's gift are no strangers. All the gifts are hot, hot, hot... but that's not a clue, just a comment.

Winter Is Coming... to SKY

My readers in the UK have been emailing me for months, wanting to know whether GAME OF THRONES would be shown over there. The answer (I hoped) was "yes," but I could not give details, because (1) I didn't know, actually, and (2) some major negotiations were going on behind the scenes.

But now the GUARDIAN has broken the story, so all can be told:


The short version: SKY has bought the UK rights to the entire HBO catalog of original shows, past and present.

So, yes, GAME OF THRONES will be seen in the UK... on SKY.

Three for Three

This time at least it required a second round of clues. But you folks continue to be scary good. Obviously you know every actor and actress in the world, and have seen every film and television show ever made, no matter how obscure.

(Either that, or you've been using this new-fangled thing called the interweb. It's made of tubes, I hear).

Anyway, yes, you got it. Dany's handmaid Irri will be played by AMRITA ACHARIA (spelled Acharya on some sites, but I have it with the "i," and she seems to be the same person).

Her initials, obviously, are AA. Twelve steps, get it?

She has been acclaimed for her performance in a play called ELEVATOR (ups and downs):

A photo of her is featured on a website called My Glass Eye, and she has also appeared in a film called THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE (I used devil as a clue) and another called COLLECTABLES (which I almost used as a clue).

She's young, she's lovely, she's talented, and she's Irri. It is known.