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Son of a Craster

Do the actors need to read the books?

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usually i'd say yes but with asoiaf i really don't think it's nessicary. just give the actors their character backstory. i really, only then it's characters who have big reveils later on. Jamie, Cercie, Ned, Sandor, Littlefinger, Lysa... can't think of much else that would need it.

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All right, so in response to the knowing-too-much-about-future answers; would it be possible to give the actors just the excerpts that dealt with their characters' backstory? I refer to events and motivations in the character's past, but perhaps not directly revealed in the script.

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The backstory can just as easily be explained by the director or whoever though. I'd have thought that they'd want to read the books to get a feel for their characters as a whole.

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I'd have thought that they'd want to read the books to get a feel for their characters as a whole.

Some will, some won't. Depends on their own technique/preference...or, the producers could insist on it if they think it's useful. No way to know how these things will go.

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Ha, do you want the long answer or the short answer? ;)

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: It really depends on the character and the actor. It's a hard line to draw because on one hand it is an ongoing series that isn't finished yet, but on the other hand, there are a lot of flashbacks we get in later books that the actor portraying a character obviously needs to know before the audience does. Does Jalabhar Xho need to read all 4 books? No. Does Cat? yes. Ned, I think, should read GoT, but maybe just get filled in on anything we learn about him in later books. I feel it is vitally essential that Jaime read all the books - both for his own personal character development and motivations, as well as being aware of how other characters see him (Tywin, the Starks, etc) because a great deal of his mentality hinges on his reputation and people's reactions to him.

The younger actors are harder. The actors playing Jon and Robb will be old enough to read them, and since they're probably casting an 18-year-old-who-looks-15 for Dany, I would imagine the actress playing her would be old enough, too. As for the actresses playing Sansa and Arya... the actress playing Arya has an awful lot of hellish stuff to go through, but I don't even know if she'd have the reading level (this is from a strictly academic rather than emotional standpoint, mind you). I think what's going to be toughest is explaining to the youngest actors what their characters have to go though without traumatising the actors. (I watch enough Law and Order SVU to know you can get heart wrenching and disturbing performances out of small children - I just don't know how you go about doing it :D )

So... I guess what all that boils down to, is that the actors should have as much exposure and immersion as befits the size and depth of their character, while trying to balance that with age and time limitations.

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usually i'd say yes but with asoiaf i really don't think it's nessicary. just give the actors their character backstory. i really, only then it's characters who have big reveils later on. Jamie, Cercie, Ned, Sandor, Littlefinger, Lysa... can't think of much else that would need it.

Ok. Let me use Littlefinger as the example for my post. The guys knows sooooo much more about what is driving the events that unfold in the main plot than anyone else (aside from perhaps Varys and or Doran) and the reader/viewer may suspect, but won't be sure he is in on it until much later in the progression.

Wouldn't the actor who plays him need (read need as be better prepared for the role) to be filled in on the plots and scemes that the character has a hand in or is informed of? I can see how the actor playing Ned might be able to summon more raw emotion for his part if he doesn't know about the beheading until the axe is about to fall, but to be consistent, wouldn't you be robbing actors of potential tools if you withheld information vital to their ambitions and desires?

Further, shouldn't actors like the man who plays Doran, the lady who plays Quaithe, and possibly the woman who gets the role of the Queen of Thorns be privy to information their characters but not the readers/viewers know at the current point in the script?

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I can give an answer just from the damn-ignorant-POV; I don't know how actors do prepare their characters. More than this, I don't know how a series/movie/etc is prepared. But let's go on.

If I were to play a character in ASOIAF, I would want to know well my character and would read the books. Ok, Jalabhar Xho doesn't need to know all the complexities of background, but if I were a main character (this applies at least to adult main characters) I think it would enrich the play if I know as much as possible from it. And some child characters do need to know at least some things about it; to understand the interactions between the Stark kids, for exemple, is essential to understand them separately.

There are some problems associated. I will put just an exemple: the scene with Ned and Robert in the crypt, the famous (and largely discussed) unease that Ned feels hidding the big-unspeakable secret about Lyana. We know that Ned's hidding an enormous secret. But, man, we've read four books and still don't know that secret! The pilot chapter will come, and whoever plays Ned will just know that he knows something really big, that he should by no means let Robert know, but he wont know exactly what it is, for the simple reason that nobody knows. (Believe me, I really don't intend to begin another discussing thread about this secret, it's just an exemple about the scene)

So I would read as much as possible about my character, if I were to play in ASOIAF, but probably, it is not absolutely essential, if the summary the actor becomes is done well enough.

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It would be nice if some of the actors were fans of the series and know the books- might give them an extra intensity to their performance. But is it necessary? No, they have scripts that give them character info. Maybe it's better that some actors don't know what happens to their character, then they have a fresher reaction to the scene... I don't know, both ways have pros and cons.

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The POV actors should read their chapters at least. It's important to understand the mindset of your character, and if they want to do them justice, they will read the books.

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