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Only a Cat of a Different Coat: Five "Game of Thrones" Casting Choices That Could Have Been Better, and One Major Casting Rumor

By Cindy Davis | Lists | August 6, 2012 |

By Cindy Davis | Lists | August 6, 2012 |

Most of the “Game of Thrones” cast has been as well chosen as readers could have hoped—Sean Bean was brilliant as Eddard Stark, and I can’t think any young actors doing better than Maisie Williams, Jack Gleeson and Sophie Turner. Even the inspired choice of Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy—which at first threw me—has turned out well. But there are a few actors who, no matter how I try to accept them, just don’t seem right for their parts. So here are a few coulda/shoula beens that have gotten stuck in my head…

*As always, please don’t discuss book spoilers in the comments.

5. Gemma Whelan as Yara (aka Asha) Greyjoy


Coulda/Shoulda Been: Ruth Wilson (“Luther, Jane Eyre,” Anna Karenina). I’ve never bought Theon being attracted to Yara and Whelan is playing the whole thing just a little too butch. Wilson has an offbeat beauty, darkness, and the sarcasm that would have made her Yara delicious.


4. Kristian Nairn as Hodor


Coulda/Shoulda Been: Vinnie Jones (“The Cape,” Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). Hodor needs to convey a world of emotions with just his facial expressions and a one word utterance. Nairn has the bulk but not the presence or range—Jones would have taken Hodor to another level.


3. Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister


Coulda/Shoulda Been: Keeley Hawes (“Upstairs Downstairs [2010], Ashes to Ashes”). Though Headey has improved since Season 1, she still hasn’t mastered the glorious Queen that Cersei should be. Hawes would have captured the audience from her first moment onscreen, and held us in her sly, gorgeous hands until the end of time.


2. Steven Dillane as Stannis Baratheon


Coulda/Shoulda Been: Philip Glenister (“Mad Dogs, Ashes to Ashes, Cranford, Life on Mars”). Don’t get me wrong, Dillane’s a great actor—but he’s looking a little too soft, old and worn to be Stannis. Glenister already carries himself the Baratheon way, and he radiates that powerful something that a would-be king should.


1. Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark


Coulda/Shoulda Been: Catherine Tate (“Doctor Who, The Office, The Catherine Tate Show”). Need I say anything at all? Fairley’s Catelyn comes across only sad and forlorn; a one-note Nellie. I think we all know where this could have gone…


And now, for the casting news/rumor: HBO has signed on Iwan Rheon (“Misfits”) for Season 3—that part is confirmed.


The interesting bit is, the role he’s said to be playing (by HBO) is “Boy,” but the interwebs ain’t buying it. Rumor has it Rheon landed the significant role of Ramsay Snow, aka the bastard son of Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). *Update: As of today, his imdb entry does read Ramsay Snow. Could/should be good.


Cindy Davis would like to dance with dragons.

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