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Learn Who Plays Mance Rayder, GAME OF THRONES’ Much-Discussed King Beyond The Wall!!

I am – Hercules!!

“The Wire” star Dominic West turned down the opportunity to play Mance Rayder in “Game of Thrones,” so HBO has instead hired another former HBO star to play The King Beyond The Wall.

Ciaran Hinds, who played Julius Caesar in “Rome,” will embody Rayder, the former Night’s Watchman who went all Colonel/Mistah Kurtz on Ned Stark and ended up ruling the wildlings.

Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand chatted about the unseen Rayder all last season, much as the Starks and the Lannisters spoke of Stannis Baratheon during season one.

Hinds is not the first "Rome" player to be repurposed for season three of "Thrones."  Tobias Menzies, who played Caesar's  assassin Brutus, will play Catelyn Stark's kid brother Edmure Tully, newly ascended to the role of  Lord of Riverrun.

Find all of James Hibberd’s Entertainment Weekly exclusive on the matter here.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:18 p.m. CST

    not a fan of this casting

    by Titus05

    HBO nailed the casting on 99% of the other roles so I'll give them a pass on this but both Dominick West and Ciaran Hinds are not right for Mance was HBO dead set on hiring someone from the John Carter movie?...geez

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Hopefully they'll expand his role for the show.

    by heylookoverthere

    Also hoping for some form of Varamyr Sixskins next season. Fuck the dog head lady, but you need Sixskins and Tormund.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Mance Rayder / Darth Vader I like this casting!

    by Merlin_Ambrosius

  • I didn't watch Rome but I like this guy in Munich. Give him a chance.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    The guy has chops

    by Billdo

    I've really been enjoying Political Animals. He's a big reason why. That, and hearing Weaver saying "I will fuck your shit up.", in Russian. I think he's a bit fat for the role, maybe they'll have him slim down.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:22 p.m. CST

    He was good in Munich, but

    by JP

    drab as fuck in Rome. Maybe it's me, but if you're playing Ceasar you gotta grab that shit by the balls. Tare it up!

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:23 p.m. CST


    by Raskolnikov_was_framed

    dude do yourself a BIG Rome

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Also, when does Mark Strong get a role in Thrones?

    by JP

    The guy is the dogs...

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:26 p.m. CST

    I recently got HBOGO so I will watch Rome, good idea.

    by heylookoverthere

    FYI HBO doesn't seem to check that the house you're using HBOgo from is the same house the HBO account is on. I'm able to use my sisters cable information to watch HBO go even though I don't subscribe to HBO. It's awesome. So if anyone doesn't get HBO but has a computer-illiterate relative with HBO, ask them to do you a favor.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:28 p.m. CST


    by Raskolnikov_was_framed

    yeah...I don't get HBO in my apartment...but I just use my folks great...also if you have a smart phone you can get the HBOgo app and watch that shit anywhere

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Also Rome Is Only Two Seasons

    by Raskolnikov_was_framed

    so you can crush it quick

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Love this casting!!!

    by Sean

    Hinds is a good chameleon, it's just Rome he's most known for (rightly so, that shit's crazy). Better choice than West, who in my mind is forever and always Jimmy McNulty. It's a shame for every actor on teh Wire, no matter how talented, but it was just too good, and they will forever be those people to me. I still don't believe it when I hear West's natural accent, and I couldn't no better more.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Quick, doesn't someone want to arbitrarily spoil something from the next 3-4 books?

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    prove to me that you read/look at wikipedia

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:47 p.m. CST

    forget Mance Rayder

    by saintsaucey

    Who is playing strong Belwas.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Great actor

    by Mr Lucas

    and a down-to-earth and mellow guy off-screen. West's loss is Hinds' gain.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Hinds is a brilliant actor... but as Mance!?!

    by MaxTheSilent

    I can't quite wrap my head around that.

  • This guy is a VERY solid actor. Been great in pretty much everything he's been in (which is a lot - check his IMDb page). I can't imagine he's going to somehow ruin GoT.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Dude's got range...

    by 3lemenope

    In Rome he was all buttoned-up patrician as Julius Caesar; laconic, shrewd, and tightly wound. Then in Political Animals he's balls-out Texas crazy as the Kennedy/T.Roosevelt/Clinton mash-up former POTUS 'Bud' Hammond. (Srsly, he slugs Dylan Baker just for the bonus points.) In Harry Potter he was Aberforth Dumbledore (!), and the dude could have played Albus without many people noticing. And the Russian premier in Sum of All Fears. It's like he specializes in doing every different type of authority figure personality one might think of. If he stays true to form, his Mance will be yet another take on being a leader.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Can't see this guy play a musical instrument or sing

    by Phil Connors

    Great actor though.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Think he'd have made a better Blackfish than Mance...

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 7:02 p.m. CST

    ...but enough of that - Who's playing Butterbumps?

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 7:56 p.m. CST

    i always pictured mance being older looking...

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    but then i find out he is younger looking but then a older guy is cast... anyway, no problem with the choice, but i was hoping ricky gervais could've been mance somehow especially since his "dwight" sidekick costar is gonna be in as mance's sidekick maybe Ricky Gervais can be a Greyjoy?

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 8:01 p.m. CST

    characters im waiting for now

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    oberyn, greyjoys, martells, brown ben, daario they SHOULD be in season 3, unless they really timeshift stuff around

  • I'm sure he'll be great, but he's just different then what I pictured. West would have been more how I pictured Mance, sort of a rascally Han Solo type who's charmisma had him wind up as King. I thought Henry Ian Cusick from Lost would have been a great Mance also. I just pictured more of a spry, nimble younger guy. Actually the guy who plays Bronn is a lot like how I pictured Mance. But I'm sure Hinds will be awesome in his own way.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 8:11 p.m. CST

    Ours is the Fury

    by Crow3711

  • Perhaps they are saving her for season 4 / the second half of Book3

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 8:29 p.m. CST

    alakazam re: Mark Strong

    by Rebel Scumb

    I agree he's great, but he's also showing up in every other big budget blockbuster nowadays, so I doubt they could afford him. I get the very real sense that a big way they are keeping the budget in check for GoT is with casting mostly unknowns, and local Irish actors. Hinds is one of the bigger 'stars' they've cast, and while a great actor he's hardly a household name. Whenever people ask why we haven't seen ramsay bolton, or the reeds or Arstan Whitebeard yet, I think the main reason is to save money on actor's contracts. By pushing some of those character's introductions back into season 3 instead of their book2 introductions, probably saved them some money which went towards making that blackwater battle so awesome.

  • Mance is supposedly to be charismatic, lively, rogueish, light-hearted and charming as fuck.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Not who I had pictured at all.

    by tye dye mann

    But it's still a damn good choice. For the people saying he is too old, you're wrong. Mance had spent a good twenty years beyond the Wall by the time Jon meets up with him. At least I think. But Hinds is still in the right age range. He is just nothing like the book's description, but many aren't.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Much better actor than Dominic. He'll do fine

    by FrodoFraggins

  • He's definitely versatile, and it'll be interesting to see him play a more roguish character than we've seen before.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Hinds is awesome

    by skycrapper

    Would have pictured him more as Doran Martell but he's a great addition to the show.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Nathan Fillion for Mance Rayder.

    by JediRob

    Oh wait. Oh bother.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Absolutely fantastic casting!!! Best Caesar ever!

    by vini77

    What the fuck are you people on with the critisism? He was an amazing Caesar, and he's an amazing actor overall. This is fucking top notch casting

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Rayder isnt your stereotypical king, this is a very bad choice indeed

    by dioxholsters_scion

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:33 p.m. CST

    For the record, I said long ago i wanted Robert Carlyle to play Mance

    by dioxholsters_scion

    you can see why I was adamant about it, Carlyle evinces the qualities needed for the role

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Who did you want to play Mance... Justin Bieber?

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    People in medieval fantasy novels sing a little differently. ;-) In fact, there was a 2d season episode that ended with a deep male voice singing a dirge or something similar. I always pictured Mance Rayder singing like a viking. I'm completely surprised by Hinds being cast as Mance though, this is one out of left field. He's an awesome actor, but not who I pictured Mance to be. I pictured Hinds as one of the Boltons. But let's give the casting the benefit of the doubt. They also had to consider balancing the actor with Jon Snow/Kit Harrington, so there's that. Plus, a big name actor could prolong the series. Especially with the rate of character deaths and you know what! ;-)

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Bieber is playing Mance's brother named...

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    ... Ars.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 10:45 p.m. CST

    Anyways, Tom Hardy should have been Mance.

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Or Joseph Gordon Levitt.

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Question for you HBOGO users

    by Tim

    Ok, so I usually watch an episode of Curb every night before I crash out, and every time without fail, it will start off in beautiful HD, and then about halfway through it will just suddenly become horribly blurry/pixelated, almost to the point where it's unwatchable. It usually will go back to HD by the end, but this happens every single damn time and it's annoying. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Unfortunately that sounds like a bad signal/interference, therawbeats

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Happens to my digital as well. Especially when I'm watching the football and something spectacular happens, everything gets pixelated horribly and I miss it. How old's your tv/digital box?

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Viggo is my dream Mance Rayder

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Maybe it would have been a bit too Aragorn Beyond The Wall though, and no way could they afford him. Still, we can dream, and we'll always have the books...

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Always pictured Ron Perlman as Rattleshirt too

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

  • Aug. 17, 2012, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Ciaran Hinds always brings it!

    by 3D-Man

    So I'm down with this. I'll admit that I don't read the books and have no clue how "right" he is for the role, but I'm confident he'll kick some ass.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Just woke up on my birthday morning....

    by gb

    And one of my favourite actors has been cast in the adaptation of my all time fave book series, great news

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 12:10 a.m. CST

    I got full frontal nudity for the GoT episode that aired on my birthday!

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Happy days, deaddak! Hope you have a good one.

  • He's certainly among the very last examples of actors I would've thought of for that part (despite his overall being a very capable actor) but he's swung for the fences. I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn there were fans who'd never heard of Hinds before this series and assumed he was a real Southern American.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 12:17 a.m. CST

    hardboiled, I use my laptop. 1.5 year old HP

    by Tim

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 1:51 a.m. CST

    Fix the error...

    by Finn

    Re purposed for the the third season of "Rome". You mean Game of Thrones of course. Though, I'll gladly take a third season of both! :)

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 2:48 a.m. CST

    Yesss!!!!! My name is Ciaran too!!!

    by shalashaska

    No its not but its actually Kieran so close enough. Stfu if your name was kieran too you would be pretty happy too.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 2:49 a.m. CST

    and too too

    by shalashaska


  • Aug. 18, 2012, 2:52 a.m. CST

    Perfect casting, the guy is an excellent actor!

    by DidntPullOutInTimeCop

    They should bring in more people from ROME.

  • Cuz that was bad and gay.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 3:49 a.m. CST

    They should get James Purefoy on the show.

    by Charlie

    Not sure who as, but they should cast him.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 4:08 a.m. CST

    If you haven't watch ROME, do so...

    by DrFever

    We just got done this week watching both seasons on blu ray and that show is just as excellent as it was the day it aired. If Rome came on HBO now it would stay around for a few more seasons for sure. I don't think the HBO crowd was ready for that big scale of a show. Now with Game of Thrones out there it would be a ratings hit. I'd love to have seen just one more season. But the show does wrap up nicely for those worried about the story endings.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Mance Ryder, a random fantasy name generator if I ever heard one.

    by higgledyhiggles

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 6:13 a.m. CST

    Best GoT news ever. Absolutely love Hinds...

    by Legolars

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 6:45 a.m. CST

    A good example of Hinds 'bringing it' is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    by Rebel Scumb

    Not because he's a big stand out in that movie. But because his character has all of 6 lines in the movie but he manages to inject presence into that character that you always know who he is.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Part from being the best Caeser in Rome

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    He's also Irish, so the casting is in keeping with where its being filmed. I dont think Ive ever seen him give a bad performance.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Hinds in There Will be Blood

    by Ken

    I always wondered if some of his performance in that movie wound up on the cutting room floor.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Hines was so good as Caesar but

    by johnnyangelheart

    I don't see him as Mance Rayder. "McNutty" fits my mind's eye better. But folks here say Hines is a good enough actor to pull it off and overall the cast on GoT has been very good so I'm willing to give Hinds the benefit of the doubt. Valar Dohaeris!

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 12:22 p.m. CST

    It is sorta a stupid name, but not totally random

    by heylookoverthere

    Rayder is the bastard name that the nights watch gives to wildling children who they take in. I guess cause they're usually children of wildling raiders.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Ciaran Hinds in There Will Be Blood

    by D_Flint

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST

    He's a little doughy to be The Mance, no?

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    Viggo in a perfect world. Tim Roth could've been interesting as Mance or Rattleshirt.

  • Aug. 18, 2012, 3:42 p.m. CST

    dont you mean haughty?

    by dioxholsters_scion

    for someone who leads a free people.

  • Aug. 19, 2012, 12:25 a.m. CST

    Seems like an adequate mummer to me

    by DrAwkward

    Hopefully he can pull off Mance, who imho, is one of the noblest kings and most interesting characters in the series. The casting has been spot on so far, so why doubt now? Have any Dornishmen been cast yet? That's telling to me. It seems a certain colored wedding might be the finale of season 3, so the Red Viper might not be introduced until season 4. They can also put the events at the Wall as the Blackwater of this season. I do not envy the writers adapting book 3. There's so much awesome, yet so much pressure to make it perfect. Can't wait!

  • Aug. 19, 2012, 3:24 a.m. CST

    David Tennant Was my Choice

    by bauerpowerhour24

    David Tennant would have been Epic Win. i am OK with this pick just not super excited

  • Aug. 19, 2012, 6:15 a.m. CST


    by Rebel Scumb

    That's pretty much how I see things playing out. I'm hoping when the Dornish do start showing up they grab my attention more than they do in the books. I feel they're the one really weak set of characters, never really get a sense of who they are, and I never care about what happens to them. I'm not sure if that's just the books reaching the 'too many characters' mark and they just happen to be the straw that broke the camels back, or whether they just aren't as well defined as the others. I think the problem is at times they seem like they are supposed to be these spicy latino like culture, exotic and different from the rest of westeros, but at others they are portrayed as the same sort of anglo-saxon knights and lords as the rest of Westeros and they never seem quite as spicy or exotic as the Bravosi or anyone else over in Essos so I just find I can't get a good sense of them.

  • Aug. 19, 2012, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Recently saw Stephen Dillane in "Fugitive Pieces"

    by jim

    Took me a while to realize "Holy Schnikes, that's Stannis!"

  • Aug. 19, 2012, 2:01 p.m. CST

    cannot seem to stay awake through an episode

    by Serious Black

    I know this show is supposedly one of the greatest things of TV right now but I cannot stay awake through an episode. I have read the books through book 5, and the series peaked at book 1. Book 2 was dull, Book 3 was great although not as good as book 1. As far as I can tell Martin cannot figure out how to continue the story from Book 3 and so he has written thousands of pages of filler and side stories which he then gave titles and called them books 4 and 5. This series is like Lost: great promise at the start, some great moments in the middle, but ultimately a giant crapfest which leaves consumers unfulfilled.

  • Aug. 20, 2012, 10:28 a.m. CST

    @serious black

    by Handiana Jolo

    Not to be pedantic, but your final sentence makes it seem as if yours is the only opinion on the matter that counts. To many of us, it is most certainly not a giant crapfest, and since we're all here writing in anticipation of casting, I don't think the consumers have been unfulfilled. Maybe you have, but luckily for us, you don't speak for all consumers.