Casting for A Game of Thrones is now complete, although we are waiting for a couple of confirmations from HBO. I'll note these when I get to them.
Update: All of the tentative castings from HBO have now been confirmed. The Winter is Coming crew got them all right, which is very impressive.
Isaac Hempstead-Wright is a young British actor who has had several roles on stage and a few adverts.
He will be playing Bran Stark, the fourth of Eddard (Sean Bean) and Catelyn Stark's (Jennifer Ehle) five children. Bran is young (seven in the books, possibly slightly older in the series) and adventurous. He spends a lot of his time exploring the many halls, courtyards, walls, nooks and crannies of his home, the vast castle complex of Winterfell which sprawls across many acres. However, he is getting old enough to start learning of the affairs of state, and when the series opens his father judges him old enough to start learning about the harsher side of dispensing justice in the unforgiving lands of the North.
Joseph Mawle is a very well-respected British actor who won acclaim for his portrayal of Jesus in The Passion.
He will be playing Benjen Stark, Lord Eddard's younger brother. As the youngest of the three Stark brothers (the eldest, Brandon, died just before the recent civil war), Benjen was not meant to inherit lands or titles. Instead, he joined the Sworn Brotherhood of the Night's Watch, the force assigned to guard the massive Wall that guards the northern border of Westeros against the wildlings who dwell beyond. In its heyday being a member of the Watch was a noble calling, but in recent decades only criminals and the dregs of society have been sent to the Wall. Its numbers have fallen to a mere one thousand to guard some 300 miles of defenses, an impossible task. Benjen is the First Ranger, one of the most skilled and senior members of the Watch. He is close to his brother and also to his bastard nephew, Jon Snow, whom he seeks to recruit into the Watch.
Ian McNeice is an extremely familiar face from British and American television, recently appearing as the news announcer in Rome and Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the Sci-Fi Channel's version of Dune. He was also in Edge of Darkness and the recent Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie, as well as playing a Vogon in the film version of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
He is playing Ilyrio Mopatis, Magister of the Free City of Pentos beyond the eastern sea. An inordinately wealthy merchant with an interest in politics, Ilyrio is the benefactor and protector of the exiled prince and princess of Westeros, Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen. He has arranged for Daenerys to be wed to the barbarian warlord Khal Drogo in return for the use of his troops in invading the Seven Kingdoms. Though physically unimposing, Ilyrio is extremely intelligent and possesses formidable monetary and intelligence resources.
Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa is well-known to Stargate fans as Ronon Dex, a role he played for four years on Stargate Atlantis. He announced his casting at a Stargate convention in Australia this past weekend, where he confirmed that he did a Maori haka at the casting session to win over the casting director.
He will be playing Drogo, the warlord or Khal of a vast Dothraki army, a khalasar. He commands 40,000 elite mounted warriors, and is fierce and unrelenting in battle. He is remarkably young for his role, which he won through bravery and glorious deeds. Spurning the offers of women from his own people, he has chosen the beautiful 'dragon princess' from the exotic western lands as his bride, a wedding arranged by Ilyrio in return for Drogo agreeing to lend men and aid to Viserys' bid for the Iron Throne of Westeros.
Ron Donachie is another extremely familiar face from television and film, with roles in the film version of Titanic and in TV series such as Hearbeat, Rebus, Doctor Who, The Bill, Taggart, Auf Widersehen Pet and just about ever major British TV series of the last twenty years.
He'll be playing Ser Rodrik Cassel, Master of Arms at Winterfell and in charge of the military training of Eddard Stark's sons. Rodrik Cassel is a stalwart, utterly loyal and reliable servant of House Stark, as is his own son Jory, who is a guard, and his daughter Beth, who is a maid in the castle. Rodrik is unusual in being a worshipper of the Faith of the Seven that holds sway in the southlands, rather than the old gods of the forest who are worshipped in the north, and is a knight, which is also unusual as that is mainly a southron custom.
Donald Sumpter is another veteran British actor with recent roles in The Sarah-Jane Adventures (as Erasmus Darkening) and in Into the Storm as Lord Halifax.
He will be playing Luwin, the maester of Winterfell. Maesters are men of science and learning, trained in the Citadel in the distant city of Oldtown (almost three thousand miles from Westeros on the south coast of the continent). Luwin serves as Winterfell's resident physician, midwife, lawyer, master of intelligence and general advisor. He is also in charge of the education of Lord Stark's children. He is extremely loyal to the Stark family.
Jamie Campbell Bower is an up-and-coming British actor who has already scored three impressive genre credentials (with the respective fanbases), landing the roles of the young Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Caius in Twilight: New Moon and the role of 11-12 in the new version of The Prisoner. He is also a musician, and sings and plays guitar in the band The Darling Buds.
He will be playing Ser Waymar Royce. Waymar is a younger member of House Royce, a powerful family in the Vale of Arryn. With too many sons to find lands and wives for, his father - 'Bronze Yohn' Royce, whom we meet later in the story - sent him to the Wall to join the Night's Watch. Waymar doesn't appear to have been completely happy about this, but makes the best of it he can. As the story opens, he is leading (due to his noble rank and position as a knight) a three-man scouting expedition beyond the Wall. Whilst young, arrogant and a braggart, he is also skilled in combat.
Bronson Webb is another young British actor with a fair bit of experience behind him, with roles in The Dark Knight, Atonement, Kingdom of Heaven and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He is currently filming the new Ridley Scott version of Robin Hood with Russell Crowe. Will is a young member of the Night's Watch, a commoner not of noble birth, but an experienced tracker and scout anyway. He is part of the scouting expedition under the considerably less experienced Ser Waymar Royce. Will is a noted character in the books as he is the first POV character of the first book, and the first character the reader meets.
Richard Ridings is another experienced British actor, whose most memorable genre role was in an episode of Red Dwarf, where he had a memorable on-screen death involving a Psiren, tomato ketchup and a burger. He's had many other roles in series such as Casualty and has a solid career as a computer game VO artist, recently doing work in Risen and Killzone 2. He is playing Gared, a much older and experienced member of the Night's Watch on the ranging with Waymar and Will.
Esme Bianco is a burlesque dancer and performer who has recently moved into screen roles (she actually did a video shoot for the band Slayer before taking off for Northern Ireland). She will be playing Ros, the first created-for-the-TV-show role. Ros is a prostitute in the capital city of King's Landing, possibly (but not definitely) working in Chataya's (which plays a bigger role later in the series) and is a 'friend' of Tyrion's. It is possible her role may reoccur later in the run, assuming it gets picked up.
With casting apparently complete, everything looks ready to go. Production begins one week from today in Belfast, with filming starting two days later.