The casting on Game of Thrones, by award-winning human-chooser Nina Gold, has been nothing short of phenomenal. In a cast of hundreds upon hundreds, it’s actually hard to think of characters who were either miscast or poorly cast. I have three, total. I won’t say who they are because that would be ungentlemanly, and if there’s one thing I care about, it’s that I always project motherfucking class.
That said, you could have a hundred badly cast characters and it still wouldn’t matter, considering that the show has the greatest casting choice of all time: Bella Ramsey as Ursa Minor, Lady Lyanna Mormont.
That brogue of hers is pure Bear Island goodness.
The casting accomplishment is even more noteworthy when you consider just how many of these actors are not native English speakers. I mean, Jaime Lannister speaks perfect English, and he’s Danish. You know what that sounds like?
Listen in. Here’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Danish comedian Frank Hvam (who plays the Old Town Maester that Sam talks to in the library:
If that doesn’t interest you in a ‘Golly! Amurican isn’t the only language in the world?’ Kind of way, then hopefully you can appreciate the impressiveness of absolutely killing a role in a second language. You may also hear that Hvam’s voice was dubbed over for the final episode. Apparently his accent was too thick.
Also, dear god, Nikolaj is a striking man out of leather. And in leather. The fucker.
Denmark has contributed a lot to Game of Thrones. Remember Karsi, the wildling chieftan who couldn’t kill the kids in ‘Hardhomme’?
That’s Danish beauty Birgitte Hjort Sørensen.
That’s right: BIR-gitte. Not Brigitte. Birgitte. Birgitte Hjort Sørensen is lovely, but has one of those catchy three-word names that cycles in an eternal loop in my brain. Like James Fennimore Cooper or Soleil Moon Frye or Loo Shag Brolly. I’m fucked. Once they get in the spin cycle, they stay there forever.
Sigh. Say hi to “Birgitte,” everyone.
Anyway, she’s beautiful.
And she’s in a hit Danish show with Pilou Asbæk called Borgen. Pilou Asbæk, you’ll know as this lovely gent:
OH THE WATERSTICK CROWN! THE ULTIMATE APHRODISIAC! PANTIES FALLING EVERYWHERE! FAT PETER SAARSGARD ON THE PROWL, Y’ALL!!!
In fairness, Pilou Asbæk is talented and handsome. We just haven’t really seen it yet on GOT.
Anyway, here are Birgitte and Pilou, dishing about Borgen, in Danish.
It’s nice to see that the aggravating tone of ‘entertainment journalism’ is universal, no matter the language.
Can I just also say that she gets to have an “ø” in her name and he has whatever the hell this is?
That’s pretty damn great. Tell me Lørd Cæstletøn doesn’t already look cooler all Viking’d up! Just seeing that should alight the dormant Nordic Ice Rage inside of all of you! Pull out your hidden dirks and stab them point down into a wooden board! Hit the jerk in the next cubicle with a goddamn herring!
The one and only reason to ever have cool runes in your name like that is to help you FUCK SHIT UP. That’s it.
My næme es Lørd Cæstletøn and I cømmænd ye tø ræve me a gøddæmn æpple! Preferæbly a gæla æpple if ye can find it! Nøw begøne! And tæke yøur bløødy elk drøppings with ye!
So that was fun, but This is the one that will blow your mind. Ever hear anyone speak Welsh? Well here’s Iwan Rheon, known to all of us as the wag-your-finger-at-his-naughtiness Ramsay Bolton.
I think I heard Tom Jones speak Welsh years ago, (or maybe he was trying to speak it and someone else was ridiculing him in it — I forget), but every time feels like the first time.
Here’s a video of Melisandre actress, Carice Van Houten being enshrined in what looks like Holland’s version of having your star on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s also pure paparazzi hell. You won’t believe how many people say “Carice” in a 20-second span. Once she gets down on her knees, it’s like a Marco Van Basten myna bird hell of Carices.
Also, my Dutch is rusty, but I’m pretty sure she’s trying to get into a position where they’re taking a picture of her face and not her ass. God! I watch this and it’s like, you never think that you’re going to have to deal with this shit on your big day.
Poor Carice. She’s more alone on that mat than when Jon Snow sent her South from Winterfell. Sucks.
Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson plays Gregor Clegane, The Mountain. I went down the dumbest YouTube rabbit hole in recent memory trying to find any video of him saying anything in Icelandic. It started with him doing powerlifting stuff, then there was a video of a professional arm wrestler beating him (somehow) and then I ended up watching videos of drill sergeants and marine corps drill instructors screaming at people. All I came away with is that at the beginning of the following video, he says something as he squeezes a small watermelon and while the end of it is broken English, let’s pretend that the beginning is Icelandic! (If that doesn’t work, I’ve got some Icelandic for you at the end of the post.) Anyway, he seems like a really nice guy.
Here’s Tormund Giantsbane, Kristofer Hivju, speaking Norsk (Norweigan). One of the great things about Game of Thrones is how it’s launched various beloved actors into the stratosphere of their home countries.
Here’s Hodor, a.k.a. Kristian Nairn speaking Irish…ah, okay. He’s speaking English with a pleasant Irish lilt, but he’s talking about having a prosthetic penis, so I figured…
There are several bit players, too many to mention, really, who have also done a fantastic job acting in a secondary language. I lived in Athens, Greece for a year and the only thing I picked up, language wise, was the ability to utter such appallingly raunchy sexual idioms that I could kill your grandparents on the spot with them. So, seeing people thrive in a tongue that’s not native to them really impresses me.
Still want to hear some Icelandic? Here. Have a leek.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. And thanks før the æpples.