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Which actors/actresses read the books, and what did they think of them?


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I've been wondering about this recently. If I was an actor on GoT and I'd read the books, and I knew how much better my character was portrayed in the books than in the show, I'd be pretty pissed off. Are there any such cases of this for the actual cast of the show? I know that the actor that played Ser Barristan Selmy had read the books and was (rightly) disappointed about how D&D wrote off his character, but are there any others?

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I'd say most of the (adult) first season actors read at least AGoT, so it's easier to say actors who didn't than did.

Lena Headey, as far as I know, has never has been asked nor volunteered that she's read them.

Carice van Houten, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams have said they hadn't, at least not during the filming of the series.

Liam Cunningham deliberately did not read them so that the scripts were the only version of the story and character for him.

Peter Dinklage I don't think read the first book until after the first season. and as far as I know did not read beyond that.

Iain Glen read the first book but then D&D told him they preferred the actors didn't and he stopped. 

Sean Bean did read AGoT, apparently.

A number of actors read up to where their character is introduced or followed season by season (when that worked) but didn't want to get ahead of the show's story (I think Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Alfie Allen were in this camp -- though Alfie stopped part way through ASoS when he realized Theon wasn't in it -- and maybe Kit Harington).  Pretty sure Harry Lloyd read AGoT.


A few actors have said they've read it all: the aforementiond Ian, Gwendoline Christie, I interviewed Aidan Gillen and he said he read all the books ( didn't enjoy them, but he read them), I think Emilia did as well (she used to post to her instagram with her dog-earred paperbacks covered in notes about Dany).

 

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On 11/5/2021 at 4:27 AM, Ran said:

but then D&D told him they preferred the actors didn't and he stopped. 

:bang:  

 

I can't even fathom a rational reason that they'd do this.

 

On 11/5/2021 at 4:27 AM, Ran said:

Pretty sure Harry Lloyd read AGoT.

He narrated the Dunk and Egg audio books. Which was pretty good. Lloyd was one of the people that captured his character perfectly.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Lannister said:

I can't even fathom a rational reason that they'd do this.

 

People call them Dumb and Dumber for a reason, after all. I once saw them colorfully called "Dumber and Dogshit" and I liked it well enough that I adopted that. 

On 11/5/2021 at 3:01 AM, EggBlue said:

this explains why show-Ned is really like book-Ned while show-Cersei is far from book-Cersei. 

I sort of enjoyed show!Cersei a lot more than her book counterpart, so I suppose it sort benefitted? 

Edited by Jaenara Belarys
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2 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

I sort of enjoyed show!Cersei a lot more than her book counterpart, so I suppose it sort benefitted? 

having watched the show first, I didn't mind most of character personalities altered ( Cersei , Renly , Loras , Daario... ) . show-Cersei is interesting whereas book-Cersei is intolerable and vicious . but the point is that the show wasn't really the book and hadn't its story-telling quality declined in the last two seasons , it would have been a great show in its own respect anyways.

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4 minutes ago, EggBlue said:

having watched the show first, I didn't mind most of character personalities altered ( Cersei , Renly , Loras , Daario... ) . show-Cersei is interesting whereas book-Cersei is intolerable and vicious . but the point is that the show wasn't really the book and hadn't its story-telling quality declined in the last two seasons , it would have been a great show in its own respect anyways.

Agreed. And I think most people would agree that while GoT S7 was bad on close analysis (check YouTube and Supercuts Delight), the show's legacy (channeling our dear Tywin) could've survived with a strong final season.

The "good" thing about Season 8 trashing Dany is that it made me go from (in the show only, mind)  "Dany's my favorite, but I'm not die hard"  to "Fuck the Starks, Dany is mah kween."

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4 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

The "good" thing about Season 8 trashing Dany is that it made me go from (in the show only, mind)  "Dany's my favorite, but I'm not die hard"  to "Fuck the Starks, Dany is mah kween."

Season 8 just made me wish the red comet had crashed into Westeros after season 4.

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7 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

I can't even fathom a rational reason that they'd do this.

I think their reasoning is that they wanted the cast to adhere to what the screenplays and direction intended for their character, not the books, so as to not play their character in an inconsistent manner. I can see the logic in that, although since the quality of the show's writing was vastly inferior to the books, all it meant was that we were seeing an inferior depiction of characters. All D&D had to do was just copy-paste the dialogue from the book directly into the screenplay (like what the Coens did with No Country for Old Men) and people would have rightly said the show had the best writing in TV history. But I think their egos got in the way of that; they didn't want to acknowledge that Martin was a far better writer than they were. Ego is a hell of a thing to put aside for some people.

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Kit Harrington read the books and if I were him I'd be pretty disappointed with how Jon Snow was written throughout the show, he's not an idiot in the books like he often is in the show.

Dinklage was probably better off not reading the books, he would've seen how much of a dick Tyrion actually is.

Edited by Darryk
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On 11/7/2021 at 11:58 PM, Jaenara Belarys said:

Agreed. And I think most people would agree that while GoT S7 was bad on close analysis (check YouTube and Supercuts Delight), the show's legacy (channeling our dear Tywin) could've survived with a strong final season.

The "good" thing about Season 8 trashing Dany is that it made me go from (in the show only, mind)  "Dany's my favorite, but I'm not die hard"  to "Fuck the Starks, Dany is mah kween."

Well, I sympathised a lot more with her by the end of Season 8 than at the beginning, which I’m sure was not Ding & Dong’s intention.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/7/2021 at 11:58 PM, Jaenara Belarys said:

Agreed. And I think most people would agree that while GoT S7 was bad on close analysis (check YouTube and Supercuts Delight), the show's legacy (channeling our dear Tywin) could've survived with a strong final season.

The "good" thing about Season 8 trashing Dany is that it made me go from (in the show only, mind)  "Dany's my favorite, but I'm not die hard"  to "Fuck the Starks, Dany is mah kween."

TBH she should have just returned East after Episode 3, and sent a good luck card to Cersei as she left.

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6 hours ago, SeanF said:

TBH she should have just returned East after Episode 3, and sent a good luck card to Cersei as she left.

She should've gone south and simply fought them in the Neck. Leave the fookin North to die. 

 

:bang:Gods, I'm still ticked off about that. However, I have been utterly convinced that Drogon was taking her to Kinvara, so Dany and Boatbaby can be resurrected. 

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On 11/8/2021 at 12:50 AM, EggBlue said:

having watched the show first, I didn't mind most of character personalities altered ( Cersei , Renly , Loras , Daario... ) . show-Cersei is interesting whereas book-Cersei is intolerable and vicious . but the point is that the show wasn't really the book and hadn't its story-telling quality declined in the last two seasons , it would have been a great show in its own respect anyways.

I think book Cersei is interesting, complex and a great villain, while show Cersei is muted and inconsistent as a character.

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On 11/8/2021 at 1:01 PM, Darryk said:

Kit Harrington read the books and if I were him I'd be pretty disappointed with how Jon Snow was written throughout the show, he's not an idiot in the books like he often is in the show.

Dinklage was probably better off not reading the books, he would've seen how much of a dick Tyrion actually is.

Book Tyrion would have been a much more interesting character for him to play, especially after season 4. In season 4, he had the great trial sequence, which was setting up Tyrion's rage and dark turn... which never happened on the show.

Edited by Annara Snow
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24 minutes ago, Annara Snow said:

Book Tyrion would have been a much more interesting character for him to play, especially after season 4. In season 4, he had the great trial sequence, which was setting up Tyrion's rage and dark turn... which never happened on the show.

D&D had a bad habit of whitewashing characters that they liked and didn't want to show in a more negative light. Tyrion is the most extreme example, but there's plenty of others as well. Their personal opinion of the actor/actress playing the character always contributed. They whitewashed Cersei so much because D&D personally liked Lena Heady. 

D&D were not willing to make fan-favourite characters do bad things, not until the second last episode of the entire series. They did not have the willpower and commitment that showrunners like David Chase and Vince Gilligan did.

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