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Westeros Blog: Varys Cast, Waymar Royce Recast

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Thanks to Maureen Ryan, we have some new information on casting for HBO’s Game of Thrones. First up, the role of Varys—the eunuch spymaster called the Spider—will be played by Conleth Hill, who received the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 for best actor in “Stones in His Pockets”. Hill has a personal website here.

The other news is that the role of Ser Waymar Royce, a young ranger of the Night’s Watch, has been recast. Originally the role was played by Jamie Campbell Bower, who has a notable fan-following thanks to his appearances in the Harry Potter series, but reshoots of the scenes (which we were aware of following news that the role of Will was being urgently recast—Bronson Webb being away filming Pirates of the Caribbean 4) meant that the actor (who has been cast as King Arthur in Starz’s new Arthurian series, Camelot) was unavailable. Instead, the role will be played by Rob Ostlere, a RADA graduate who has recently started his career on television in the U.K.

Below is a clip from the comedy Whatever Works, starring Larry David which features Conleth Hill in a role rather different from what Varys will be like, to say the least:

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Amusingly, the actress in the clip is Patricia Clarkson, who had a high-profile role in The Station Agent alongside Peter Dinklage and directed by Tom McCarthy.

He was also in the 2002 version of Goodbye Mr. Chips with Harry Lloyd.

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Was looking for pictures of Conleth hill when I found a daily mail picture describing him as "mincing" and I was sold on him being good for Varys. The fact he is a luvvie can only make matters better for the role.

I don't really understand the recasting of waymar royce. why reshoot? Surely everyone in that scene dies so unless one of them is Coldhands or some as yet to be revealed character in the books there should be no need. Or am i missing something? If it was the guy who gets beheaded in the next chapter being recast i could understand the domino effect but I'm drawing a blank otherwise.

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That seems to be the general consensus. James Hibberd reported that HBO is almost obsessive in wanting to get this just right. With a new makeup designer and so on, they may have decided they could handle the wight/Others better.

Alternatively, I have heard it speculated that it all has to do with Campbell-Bower having been cast in rival cable network Starz's fantasy show, Camelot, in the lead role of King Arthur. I don't know that I buy that, but I suppose it can't be immediately ruled out.

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Was looking for pictures of Conleth hill when I found a daily mail picture describing him as "mincing" and I was sold on him being good for Varys. The fact he is a luvvie can only make matters better for the role.

I don't really understand the recasting of waymar royce. why reshoot? Surely everyone in that scene dies so unless one of them is Coldhands or some as yet to be revealed character in the books there should be no need. Or am i missing something? If it was the guy who gets beheaded in the next chapter being recast i could understand the domino effect but I'm drawing a blank otherwise.

I like very much the idea that the wights that get sneaked into Winterfell later on are going to be Waymar and Will rather than the other two guys. It connects back to the prologue scene and will tell the audience that the Others have the power to raise the dead (that sequence missing from the pilot script). If so, they'll need to recast the roles (Bower and Webb being unavailable to film those later scenes due to other commitments) so it all hangs together.

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Wert's idea would make for some nice continuity but I wouldn't rule out the petty deletion of an actor who, let's face it, will be the lead in AGOT's most obvious rival show next year (although Borgias may also fit that bill). I'm thinking all three speculations presented could be true here.

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Waymar and Will as the wights that show up at Castle Black? An interesting idea. It provides a connection, certainly, to the opener and makes things a bit more explicit.

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Didn't GRRM pretty much confirm that it's because the quality of the scene wasn't what they wanted?

I've seen the pilot, or at least a rough cut thereof, and I thought the prologue sequence was quite good, actually. But this will be the opening scene of the entire series, the first introduction to the world of Westeros for millions of viewers, so "quite good" was not good enough. We want to make it great.

So we reshoot. The only problem with that being, life moves on and so do actors. Other roles come along, dates don't always work out, schedules refuse to mesh, even with the best of intentions. And that's what happened with our prologue.

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Yes. GRRM said that last night after the previous posts here on the subject.

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I think it'd be an awesome little stab at a rival show if Camelot's main character gets slaughtered in the first scene. Such a good image to highlight the difference between this and most other fantasy. I don't see how it'd be bad for Thrones, either. I think it's a shame, because JCW was one of my favourite pieces of casting, with the perfect look for Waymer.

I don't really like the idea of changing what George has written too much either. Isn't it possible that Waymer will come back as a wight later on in the books, to greater effect?

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I don't really like the idea of changing what George has written too much either. Isn't it possible that Waymer will come back as a wight later on in the books, to greater effect?

Like in Book 5 or beyond? I doubt they are going to seriously worry about a casting decision today for something that far away. And even if GRRM did plan on having him turn up as a wight in later book, I really can't see how it could have any real significance.

Anyhow, JCW is gone now. A small detail given how fleeting his role.

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I actually always wanted JCB as Loras. He looks the part more than Finn Jones, IMO. Anyhoo, now I can hope for him as Jaquen (Even though the best Jaquen will be Robert Carlyle).

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