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Game Of Thrones: 8 Characters Who Didn’t Meet Our Expectations
So pick up your rock and get ready to hurl them as we count down the most miscast characters in Game of Thrones!
We’re now on the other side of season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, 20 episodes, 20 hours, countless characters and an ever-increasing number of storylines, and generally speaking it’s fair to say Game of Thrones has embedded itself in mainstream culture, wth many critics praising the high quality level of acting, writing and directing. Peter Dinklage, the man playing everyone’s favourite dwarf Tyrion Lannister, won the Emmy for best supporting actor last year for the first season and almost certainly seems like a lock for next year’s awards too.
But let’s be realistic – it ain’t all good. There may be a high standard of acting within the show, and while actors may be doing a solid job of playing their roles within the TV show, there are several occasions where book fans in particular have had issues with some of the casting in the show. While these actors may not be bad actors themselves, there are noticeable discrepancies between book character and TV character. This is not a rant about the differences between the story of book versus TV show’s narratives and storylines – this is focused specifically on the differences between key characters of the book versus those of the show.
Note that if you haven’t read the books you may feel a sting of fan rage boiling up inside of you, as this will mostly seem like unfair criticism – in fact even book readers are likely to find some of these submissions highly contentious, as at the end of the day, book interpretation is always subjective.
Before you hurl rocks, let me be clear – I like the Syrio Forel of the TV show. I enjoyed Miltos Yerolemou’s performance a great deal – but it certainly surprised me. Syrio Forel, First Sword of Bravos, is described as bald, very slight and almost rigid in both his posture and personality. What Miltos brings to the table is a much more comic, happy-go-lucky version of the dancing master that often provides a few laughs for the audience. I can’t criticise his performance at all, and it’s certainly understandable that the writers would want to inject some much needed humour into the grim world of Ice and Fire, but part of will always be hunkering for what a more serious, true-to-the-books Syrio would have been like.
In this post: featured • Features • Game of Thrones
This article was first posted on June 21, 2012
When not writing Chris spends more time thinking about playing videogames than actually playing them and can usually be found reorganizing his Blu Ray and book collections. He owns four different editions of A Song of Ice and Fire and no, it isn\'t overkill. He\'s left the neon haze of Tokyo and Seoul for the more sedate streets of Bournemouth.
What a joke .. The author of this article either hasnt seen Game of Thrones or maybe he is the hater or a crybaby…
All of these actors have done brilliant job in portraying their book characters …
Syrio Forel and Jon Snow … Lolz … I think the author should be given capital punishment for bringing up these names
And by the by, I don’t enjoy giving me ASOIAF “credentials” but seeing as you doubted if I’d actually seen the show…
I’ve read the first 3 books 5 times, first read them in 2003, have read AFFC three times and ADWD only once. I’ve reviewed every episode of GOT for another site, I’ve watched every episode about three times…
Well said Chris…A fan is allowed to have high expectations, this doesn’t make him a hater, and like everyone else is entitled to his opinion. If you feel so passionately, try your hand at writing ‘8 Characters from Game of Thrones who didn’t disappoint’.
Well, I just think since the actual author worked on the production these changes (that you call did not meet expectations), there is nothing to say about it.
I think you went a bit overboard on the nitpicking but we’re all entitled to our opinion. I’ll give my thoughts.
1)Syrio – While its been a few years since I read the first book I can’t really recall much of Syrio other than the bullet points. I get he looks different but its not like his appearance was major to the character. I agree that it worked anyways and I enjoyed him in the book.
2)Davos Seaworth – Davos happens to be one of my favorite characters but I think its too early to really judge. I think he did fine in his first season. I would’ve liked a little more retrospective but he just didn’t have much time. Not really disappointing because honestly Davos isn’t that important yet.
3) Margarey – Yeah they dropped the ball early but it still works and actually adds to the intrigue.
4) Yara/Asha – Again another character who we haven’t seen enough of to really judge.
5) Stannis – This is the only character that I can honestly say I’m disappointed in. His break before he bends attitude is his entire character. The scene where he got lusty with Melissandre was ridiculous. It was one of those unnecessary changes too. Still hoping they just go back to regular Stannis.
6) Shae – She’s different but I for one kind of like her.
7) Jon Snow – Really?? Again you’re putting too much into appearance. They’ve aged him (as well as everyone else) up. Its not like he’s randomly black. Jon Snow is a brooder.
8) Littlefinger – Littlefinger has been one of the best characters of the show! Every time I see a review of an episode the scenes between Petyr and Varys are highlighted.
Other than Stannis and Renly (season 1) I can’t think of anyone I was really disappointed in. Then again I’m easy to please I still watch the Office.
I’ll give you Shae… that’s about it. What about the casting for
the kings executioner Ilyn Payne. He looks like some poor homeless dude… certainly not someone to inspire fear.
Stannis DID get sexy with Melisandre in the books, we just didn’t see it. And I think his portrayal by Stephen Dillane was the highlight of Season 2.
Not enough fury? Did you see him chopping people’s heads off in the Battle of Blackwater? Did you see him nearly choke Mel to death afterwards?
1)Syrio – good portrayal; slightly happy-go-lucky but not much of an issue because of his status as a minor character in season 1
2)Davos Seaworth – not how i imagined him in the books; main problem is that in the books, his character is revealed mainly through his thoughts and most of is dialogue in the series is completely new. i’ll have to wait and see to make a judgement but i have faith in the actor.
3) Margarey – not how i imagined her at all… actress is a tad too old to portray the character (almost 30, whereas in the book the character is 15 – 16); will need to see the addition of olenna redwyne to the series (grandmother of margarey before) i can make a proper decision as to the acting and the characterisation
4) Yara/Asha – looks nothing like the book description and the many fan art depictions. very disappointing – not the axe throwing ‘fierce’ warrior i was expecting.
5) Stannis – COMPLETE FLOP. no grinding of the jaw, no ‘bending before breaking’, sex scene was completely useless. stannis being described in the books as ‘pure iron – getting brittle over time’ doesn’t help this. he is supposed to be balding and commanding. will have to wait and see what they do with him in season 3 and 4 before i can say more.
7) Jon Snow – good casting, good acting, but some scenes COMPLETELY CHANGED, TOO DIFFERENT OR COMPLETELY USELESS! jon-qhorin interaction was a complete disappointment when compared to the books.
8) Littlefinger – annoyed the hell out of me in season 2! his ‘travelling messenger’ role was completely unexpected and very annoying – and attempting to reconnect with catelyn!! I DON’T THINK SO! what were the writers thinking when they added this?
9) dany – ALMOST ENTIRE qarth storyline was added or altered. probably just to give the character more screen time but the dragons sub-plot and the ‘demise’ of the 13, except xaro was a bit too much. and where are ‘ARISTAN WHITEBEARD’ AND STRONG BELWAS?
this is coming from a self-confessed ‘book purist’
loved the tywin-arya interaction, jaqen was well cast, love nikolaj coster-waldau as jaime and dinklage as tyrion. hope things change for season 3 – because season 2 was radically different to what i expected
In the books, Stannis was never described as a faithful adherent to the Seven(he talked to Davos about losing his faith in the Seven after watching his parents die in a storm close to Storm’s End), so I don’t see him sacrificing his belief to embrace R’hllor. And I think the “He’ll break before he bends” comment is supposed to indicate how he will never give up fighting once he’s set up his mind on achieving something, not that he will not betray his principles. In other words, he’d rather die fighting than bend the knee and accept anyone else as king. Stannis is always a complicated character in the books, from the very beginning. I don’t understand how anyone can read the books and come to conclusion that he’s supposed to be this paragon of virtue that will never, ever betray his principles. He was never like that in the books! That’s why he’s an interesting character, all the contradictions and complexity.
I completely agree with you. There seems to be this misconception going around in the ASOIAF fandom that Stannis is supposed to be some honorable man that abides by his principles and the law. This is an outright fabrication and misinterpretation of the character, with nothing in the text to support it. 1. Stannis assassinated Renly by using blood magic. Whether you believe that he had sex with Melisandre (as depicted in the show) to accomplish the shadow babies, the fact is that he used the coward’s way to defeat Renly. If he was honorable, he would have met Renly in the battlefield. 2. Stannis arrests Davos at the beginning of ASoS. Davos is a man that risked his life for him and lost several of his sons in the battle of the blackwater, and Stannis repays that loyalty by incarcerating him. Where is his honor, loyalty and principles in that scenario? 3. Stannis is more than willing to sacrifice Edric Storm to ensure the demise of the Robb, Balon, and Joffrey (again, the coward’s way out just like with Renly). How is it honorable to sacrifice a child, his nephew just because of his relentless greed and lust for power? The Stannis depicted in the books is an entitled jackass who takes offense at the slightest provocation and is more than willing to compromise his principles and honor in order to get his way.
I think the easiest explanation for Littlefinger’s behavior, in the show, is this:
Littlefinger is a master manipulator. However, he simply has utter contempt for women. I think you would need to have such contempt for women in order to be a pimp, which we know he is. He respects men, for their strength if nothing else, and knows they are dangerous. However, he is so confident in his manipulation that he doesn’t respect women very much. He does not think they can hurt him (except through men), and so Ros, to him, really is helpless. Caitlyn, he believes, is intelligent, maybe nearly his equal, but ‘obviously’ stupider than him (he’s already deceived her earlier in the season) so why wouldn’t he be able to seduce her? And what could she do if she refused him anyway? No harm done. THAT is why he doesn’t ‘see’ Arya. He’s so full of his own cleverness that he doesn’t see women or servants or anyone not already in the circles of his own manipulating.
That is the weakness Varys refers to to Ros, because Varys, while not as ‘smooth’ a manipulator as Littlefinger (afterall, everyone sees him as a manipulator, so he can’t be that grand), sees the usefulness in every person around him.
Wow you came up by this all on your own? And so finely condemned all of them. Little finger is a good example of looking at what is on screen but not the motions that brought it to be. After all 10 hour for a book is good like your last production… what was it called? I felt your article could have been more, it could have been more accurate.. yet it wasn’t. While you will tell of of constraints should we apply the same level of aptitude you have here?
Hmm, not what I expected. I think Jon Snow is perfect, although do admit the two brothers look too much alike, I sometimes get mixed up. Personally I hoped they would change characters and such from the book, I didn’t want to watch it play out exactly the same. Most shows do, The Walking Dead, Dexter, True Blood, etc. Means I can enjoy both without spoilers. This series does play the events pretty close to the novels though (so far), but the one character that’s not sitting right for me is Lady Catelyn Stark. I’m just not seeing the fierce desperation she portrays in the book and the vicious dislike for Jon Snow (which seems even more callous when he’s portrayed as just a child in the book).
Can’t speak for The Walking Dead, but Dexter and True Blood fell FAR from their novels- only the first season remained almost true to the chapters. I agree with you about Cat though. I don’t think she was cast bad, just written a little… meh.
you’re all about appearance. what a shallow review. hehe. tyrion wasn’t even a dwarf in the book, but failed to mention that.
?? Tyrion was a dwarf, just not in the fantasy sense; not a Dwarf. No big beard or excess love of drinking, but he was nicknamed Imp and called a half-man.
Seriously? George R.R. Martin specifically uses the word dwarf in the books when describing Tyrion. Have you even read them?
Uhhh Tyrion was definitely a dwarf in the series… many a time they talk about his stunted legs and how small he is…
Stannis is the man that battle of the blackwater showed he wanted that throne..first off the boat, first on the beach, first up the ladder..yara the jury is still out on..u might not get to really see her in action till season 4 being that book 3 will be broken up in two seasons..now margery should he younger hands down but her cunning and schemeing is bad ass..littlefinger is awesome and he gets even more sneaky and thats gonna be where having that good actor as him will pay off..they also dropped the ball on talisa..wrong name from wrong place takes away from robb getting with a girl from lannisterland..and not letting us see reek from the beginning kinda blew also but I must say this show is the best on tv HBO is a hit making machine..
I think you are nitpcking WAY too much. I love ASOIAF and GOT, but you should separate the two them as much as you can. Even George R.R. Martin said that the producers and HBO can continue with GOT even if he dies before ASOIAF is finished, but no ONE is allowed to finish ASOIAF. They are not supposed to be identical.
Not Having read the books (Thankfully after the remarks by those who have)
Just like to say This is the BEST thing on Television by 3.6 foot.
If you think this is the best thing on television after the abomination that was Game of Thrones Season 2, you really really need to watch more tv.
My only problem with this article is it’s omission of the worst offender- Daenerys. She’s AWFUL, not at all what the Targaryen princess is supposed to be; as a longtime fan of the books, it’s all I can do to not fast-forward through her scenes.
Not a single mention for Talisa? She’s absolutely awful. Who at HBO thought it was a good idea to write in a 21st century college girl into the show? GRRM himself has VERY specific views on the “pluckly lower-class girl” trope in medieval fantasies.
In the books she was called Jeyne Westerling, and was the daughter of a very rich lord
I’m pretty happy with all the characters, aside from appearances i think the actors all do a great job. i agree with what Chris Morgan said with most of the characters but im only really bothered by the changes they made with Shae, Stannis and Margaery. the other character i would point out is Tywin. i think the actor does a great job but he needs to be a lot colder. in the books Tywin NEVER smiles. its even stated by Tywin’s sister that she can only recall him smiling 3 times in her life.
they completely dropped the ball on Robb’s wife
How on earth could anyone leave out Jorah Mormont as different in the TV series? In the books, he’s swarthy and unattractive, as opposed to the blonde and handsome character on the tube.
I have to agree with margaery tyrell being on this list. She’s supposed to be 16 not 30. How ridiculous is her a joeffrey going to look, never mind her a tommen.
Personally I have no complaints about Jon or Littlefinger, I’d prefer good actors that don’t look alike than bad actors who do.
One of my biggest complaints is Roose Bolton, where is his soft, whisper of a voice,that’s what makes him as a character, and why is he not at harrenhall, how is he going to meet jaime if the starks never take it? And Ramsey “Reek” is completely missing, so is he just going to appear out of the blue in Season 5?
In all honesty the differences in the plot bother me far more than the differences in the characters. I’m scarred they will do something radically different soon and I don’t think I’m going to like it.
really dude… u pick at the smallest of details… the show is amazing!!! you’re really just pulling hairs here n none of your so called critisism matters compared to how good the show is… u basically sound stupid
I have read the books, I have watched the show and I love both mediums for these stories. I knew that when HBO took it that there were going to be changes; most of which have not disappointed me. I do wish that they had kept the weird beard off of Jon Snow and I didn’t like the portrayal of Catelyn Stark but the actress herself was fabulous- I just didn’t like how her part in the story was written. My main problem was with Margaery Tyrell. The actress is great at her part but she is far too old for the character she is playing. This was not so bad with Joffrey but it was so uncomfortable to see her with Tommen it was ridiculous. I know they’ve changed things about but some of those changes have been really great (Sansa coming into her own) while some really ticked me off (Daenerys should have lost her hair in the fire! That was when she gave up what was left of her childishness, her vanity, etc…but I’m picky on that score). But no matter which way it has gone I will say it has been an interesting ride thanks to GRRM and HBO.
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