JordanJH1993

Accents in the TV Adaptation

15 posts in this topic

Coming off the back of a conversation between Missandei and Davos in S7E03, where Davos noticed her accent and asked where it was from before pointing out his own Flea Bottom accent, it got me thinking about problems with accents within the series.

According to Davos, Missandei had a peculiar accent, but in reality, her accent is no different to that of Daenerys (born in Dragonstone and raised in Essos) and Arya and Sansa (born and raised in Winterfell, north Westeros)

I like that the actors for Jon and Robb based their accents off of Sean Bean's Yorkshire tones, which suits the idea of a 'northern accent', but none of the other children of Ned had northern accents; they all spoke with southern English accents. I know Catelyn wouldn't have a northern accent being from the Riverlands, but considering the kids grew up in the north, I'd imagine their accents to be more like Ned's.

Davos himself points out his own Flea Bottom accent, which is really a Geordie (North East England) accent, but Gendry is also from Flea Bottom and sounds nothing like him.

Does anyone else have an issue with this? It's something that has always bugged me about the show, but last episode the show pretty much pointed out the problem for us all to see with the needless exchange between Davos and Missandei.

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Following on from the original post, if you were to compare the accents to accents in our world, another question for everyone would be what kind of accents would they imagine from each of the Seven Kingdoms to have? Also what would you expect people from beyond the wall and Essos to sound like? 

 

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Just to get the ball rolling a bit, I'll give a couple of my ideas:

Characters from beyond the wall: I expected characters from here to have almost Viking style accents. The actor who plays Tormund has the perfect accent for what I would expect of wildlings. Maybe wildlings closer to the wall would have something similar to Northmen, which leads me to...

Northerners: I shamelessly expected them all to sound like Sean Bean as Eddard Stark. Yes, it makes sense for Starks like Arya, Sansa and Bran to be well spoken as they are highborn, but you can have a northern England accent while being well spoken, just as you can have a southern English accent and not be well spoken.

Crownlands: Despite Davos' Geordie accent apparently being Flea Bottom, I expected cockney accents from the small folk in the crownlands, similar to London/Essex in that respect. Although I have to give credit to Liam Cunningham for trying something different.

Westerlands: The actors and actresses for the Lannister characters have nailed what I expected them to sound like. Proper Queen's English. Kudos!

The Reach: It would be the same as above for me. Maybe not just as posh, but something like the home counties' accent. Generic southern English. Sam having a northern English accent despite Randyll and Dickon Tarly appearing to have a southern accent didn't make sense to me.

Riverlands: I would expect a Midlands accent for this region, as it would have a blend of both the northern and southern accents.

The Vale: For some reason, I think a Welsh accent would suit the Vale. Maybe because I picture The Vale with mountains and sheep.

Stormlands: For here, I would be expecting a gruff accent. Whether that be a west country accent or perhaps even Scottish. I just imagine the Baratheon brothers to have loud, strong and very much masculine voices.

The Iron Islands: I think a northern accent, as the actress and actor for Yara and Theon have portrayed would work, especially Theon having grown up at Winterfell. But as a Northern Irishman myself, the smallest country in the UK, just as the Iron Islands are the smallest region in Westeros, I wouldn't have minded a Northern Irish accent being used somewhere!

Dorne: I like the Latin vide the show has given with the accents of characters from there, so I can't complain about this one.

Essos: In general, I don't think characters from across the Narrow Sea should sound like characters from Westeros, unless they were born in Westeros like Dany and Viserys, or spent many years in Westeros, like Varys. Missandei having the same accent as Dany, Arya, Sansa, Margaery doesn't make sense to me. Daario I expected to have a more exotic accent, too. They have, however, done a good job with the accents of the Dothraki and Unsullied like Grey Worm.

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't that important. Just a few technicalities and something that, if I were producing the show, I would pay closer attention to.

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20 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

Does anyone else have an issue with this? It's something that has always bugged me about the show, but last episode the show pretty much pointed out the problem for us all to see with the needless exchange between Davos and Missandei.

I've had an issue with this since the beginning, and what especially annoys me about it is that when we hear the actors in interviews, they are not their natural accents anyway, so why put on an accent that doesn't match the accents of characters from the same region or even family?

You already mentioned the Starks, but how about the Boltons being from the north and sounding like southerners?

Or the Baratheon brothers, each with a different accent?

The Dornish accent doesn't make sense to me either.  The actors speak with a Spanish accent which suggests that the common tongue is their second language, but there has never been any mention that the main language of Dorne is different to the one spoken in the rest of Westeros.

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Oh, and I forgot the Tarly family.  How did Sam end up with a different accent to everyone else in his family?

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10 minutes ago, storm.131 said:

You already mentioned the Starks, but how about the Boltons being from the north and sounding like southerners?

Or the Baratheon brothers, each with a different accent?

The Dornish accent doesn't make sense to me either.  The actors speak with a Spanish accent which suggests that the common tongue is their second language, but there has never been any mention that the main language of Dorne is different to the one spoken in the rest of Westeros.

The actor that played Roose speaks with a hybrid Irish/English accent, yet Ramsey sounds like he could be a Lannister. How were the producers okay with that? Iwan Rheon is Welsh, so if he could change his accent to southern English for Ramsey, there is no reason why they couldn't have asked him to do a northern English accent like the Starks.

Stannis and Robert at least sounded slightly similar, but Renly's accent was nothing like theirs.

As for the Dornish accent, I was okay with it. Because, despite the Latin accent, they spoke English clearly and didn't sound like foreign people speaking another language. A bit like Nigerians for example, their accent is so heavy it would make you think English isn't their first language when in actual fact it is. Same with the likes of Jamaica.

7 minutes ago, storm.131 said:

Oh, and I forgot the Tarly family.  How did Sam end up with a different accent to everyone else in his family?

Yeah, that's something I pointed out in the previous post, too. How can that have slipped past the ears of the producers? Most of the actors and actresses are from UK or Ireland, so being instructed to speak with a variation on English accents shouldn't be particularly difficult for them.

Conleth Hill, who plays Varys, is from Ballycastle, which is a town near me in Northern Ireland, yet he is able to pull off a flawless English accent. Jack Gleeson is from Cork, Ireland, yet he attempted and pulled off a decent English accent for being a young actor, so some of the actresses and actors being young shouldn't be an excuse either.

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28 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

As for the Dornish accent, I was okay with it. Because, despite the Latin accent, they spoke English clearly and didn't sound like foreign people speaking another language. A bit like Nigerians for example, their accent is so heavy it would make you think English isn't their first language when in actual fact it is. Same with the likes of Jamaica.

Fair point but to me personally it still sounded odd.  I guess the combination of the Spanish accent and the fact that the filming location for Dorne is Spain, has a lot to do with how I feel about it.

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3 minutes ago, storm.131 said:

Fair point but to me personally it still sounded odd.  I guess the combination of the Spanish accent and the fact that the filming location for Dorne is Spain, has a lot to do with how I feel about it.

Yeah, I think Dorne is a bit of an anomaly in the Seven Kingdoms. It feels like the odd place out, like it should be in Essos instead of Westeros.

I know at this point in the game it is a little senseless complaining about accents, but the Davos / Missandei conversation brought the issue to the fore. I really don't get why they did it, because all it did was making what was already a problem with accents even more glaring obvious to the viewers.

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It has never bugged me that much, though I didn't like the accent the Sandsnakes and Ellaria used. And I agree that the show shouldn't point out Missandei's accent when she speaks with the same one like other actors on the show. 

 I remember that D&D talked about the issue in one of their DVD commentaries, can't recall which one it was unfortunately. From what I remember they said that they first were very concerned about this and wanted each region to have a specific accent. However, someone on the production team pointed out to them that the Hobbits in the LotR movies all use different accents, despite coming from the same village. This apparrently caused them to stop caring about the issue. 

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What accents? They all sound the same to me! Plain old English!

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On 2/8/2017 at 11:39 AM, JordanJH1993 said:

I like that the actors for Jon and Robb based their accents off of Sean Bean's Yorkshire tones, which suits the idea of a 'northern accent', but none of the other children of Ned had northern accents; they all spoke with southern English accents. I know Catelyn wouldn't have a northern accent being from the Riverlands, but considering the kids grew up in the north, I'd imagine their accents to be more like Ned's.

Since English is not my language, the amount of different accents (and where are they from)  I can identify are very limited, but as far as the Stark children are concerned, I think we can explain the difference within the same family in that Robb and Jon shared more time with Ned, while the girls and the younger boys did not.  Also,  the people around the children (those in charge of their education and training)  were not all northeners, we saw Sansa in a scene with Septa Mordane in King's Landing where Sansa asks her where is she from, and while she does not give her the time to answer, it's pretty obvious that Septa Mordane wasn't from the North. I guess that the idea is that children grow up  imitating the accents of the people around them.

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Posted (edited)

18 hours ago, Queen of Procrastination said:

It has never bugged me that much, though I didn't like the accent the Sandsnakes and Ellaria used. And I agree that the show shouldn't point out Missandei's accent when she speaks with the same one like other actors on the show. 

 I remember that D&D talked about the issue in one of their DVD commentaries, can't recall which one it was unfortunately. From what I remember they said that they first were very concerned about this and wanted each region to have a specific accent. However, someone on the production team pointed out to them that the Hobbits in the LotR movies all use different accents, despite coming from the same village. This apparrently caused them to stop caring about the issue. 

So they pretty much thought, 'well, if Peter Jackson didn't care about accents in LotR, neither should we!'? That's great attention to detail, D&D...not!

8 hours ago, LucyMormont said:

Since English is not my language, the amount of different accents (and where are they from)  I can identify are very limited, but as far as the Stark children are concerned, I think we can explain the difference within the same family in that Robb and Jon shared more time with Ned, while the girls and the younger boys did not.  Also,  the people around the children (those in charge of their education and training)  were not all northeners, we saw Sansa in a scene with Septa Mordane in King's Landing where Sansa asks her where is she from, and while she does not give her the time to answer, it's pretty obvious that Septa Mordane wasn't from the North. I guess that the idea is that children grow up  imitating the accents of the people around them.

That's a fair point. I can see why Sansa would maybe have a different accent, but Arya seemed more like one of the boys. I would have expected her to spend a lot of time with Jon and Robb and to have befriended other northern folk, so to me she should definitely have the same accent as Jon, Robb and Ned.

 

Edited by JordanJH1993

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The explanation for the Stark kids' accents is that when they cast the family they were planning on having them all speak RP-type accents, but when Sean Bean declined to do that, they had to try to switch over to something akin to his.  The older actors (Madden, Harington) could do so; the younger actors (Turner, Williams, Hempstead-Wright) couldn't, so they just had them use their "city" accents like originally planned.

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Posted (edited)

I love the different accents in the show, although to be honest, since English is not my primary language, I can't really distinguish all the variations within the native British accent. A few exceptions being the Northern accent that Ned, Robb and Jon portray. But probably only after it has been pointed out. 

To me Davos has a very distinct accent and so does Peter Baelish (as pointed out by many). 

 

The ones that I identify more easily are the different foreign accents, some more subtle than others:

Tormund: subtle, perfect for the role 

Shae: her accent was really charming

Melisandre: moderate Dutch accent, makes the character a bit more spooky and mysterious

Euron: has that slight Scandinavian touch, which is cool in a Viking kinda way

Jaqen: his accent suits the character perfectly and adds to the mystique

Daario 2.0: his accent sometimes sounds too 'modern' and almost a bit American to me, but overall very well spoken and cool enough to convince me of his swag. Almost no trace of Dutch pronunciation in there.

I must say that when I hear Jaime speak, I easily forget that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is not a native English speaker.

I can detect that Dinklage's accent is also distinct, but to me it still sounds quite convincing.

 

Some fake a pretty good foreign accent:

All of Dorne and Syrio, Salladhor (don't know for sure but his accent is cool)

 

I think overall all the actors do a really good job, probably forgot some others worthy of mentioning.

 

Edited by Eddard Scissorhands

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In the past, I've imagined what it would be like if each kingdom had accents specific to different countries. For instance:

  • The North - Russian
  • The Reach - French
  • The Iron Islands - Scandinavian (very broad, I know, but I was thinking of the parallels between the Ironborn and the Vikings)
  • Dorne - Spanish 
  • The Westerlands - English
  • The Vale - German
  • The Riverlands - Polish
  • Bulgaria, perhaps? I've never been able to get much of a flavor for the Stormlands.

There's also part of me that thinks it would be funny if the the crannogmen spoke with Cajun accents, but that's just me ^_^

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