Games of Thrones casts Catelyn Stark

Jennifer Ehle

Jennifer Ehle

A few weeks ago Winter is Coming released the news that actor Sean Bean had been cast as Eddard “Ned” Stark in the HBO pilot A Game of Thrones. Now Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Pride & Prejudice actress Jennifer Ehle has been cast as Ned’s wife Catelyn.

Although fans of the epic fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin were aware that the television series was beginning to cast major roles, the only part cast had been Tyrion Lannister, to be played by American actor Peter Dinklage, until a few weeks ago.  The casting of Bean in the pivotal role of Ned Stark, as well as Mark Addy (as Robert Baratheon I), Harry Lloyd (as Viserys Targaryen) and Jack Gleeson and Kit Harrington (as Joffrey Baratheon and Jon Snow, respectively), began speculation about which roles would be filled next, and about who would be filling them.

Rumours had originally been circling that the role of Catelyn might be played by American actress Gillian Anderson, of X-files fame, particularly when she turned down, or was not chosen for, a role in Showtime drama The Tudors.

Martin, who is involved in the production of the show, had teased readers of his Not a Blog Sunday, writing:

I know some cool stuff.
You don’t.
And I can’t tell you yet.
(Yes, I am a monster of inhuman cruelty).
Well, maybe I’ll let slip a few things at the Montreal worldcon. Or maybe not. You’ll have to ply me with booze and plunk my magic twanger, and we’ll see.

Although he expressed disappointment this morning that news of Jennifer Ehle’s casting had been leaked, he also told readers that the Hollywood Reporter didn’t know everything that he did, causing fans to wonder which roles would be announced next.  This TV enthusiast hopes that Martin will reveal more casting decisions in Montreal later this week.  Sources have not yet revealed which actors and actresses will be playing the Stark children Robb, Sansa, Bran, and Arya, or who has been cast as Daenerys Targaryen, and the Lannister twins Jaime and Cersei.

Jennifer Ehle is best known for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 miniseries Pride and Prejudice, opposite Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy.  I’ll admit that I haven’t seen the miniseries since high school, but remember enjoying it at the time and I believe she has the right look for Catelyn Stark.  Ehle is evidently a talented actress though, as she has a BAFTA award and two Tonys.  Martin has endorsed the choice, commenting that “she will be a wonderful Catelyn.”

The casting of Ehle further indicates that if A Game of Thrones fails, it will not be due to its cast.

Catelyn, of House Tully, is the wife of Eddard Stark of Winterfell, and the wife of his five children.  She has a deep love of her family and is seen as an honourable character who does her duty.  She is described in the novels as having auburn hair and the Tully blue eyes.

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