Let's Get Jim Broadbent In 'House of the Dragon' ASAP
The 'Game of Thrones' prequel needs as many acclaimed British character actors in bit parts as possible
Last night, HBO premiered its long-awaited Game of Thrones follow-up/prequel series House of the Dragon, a sort of “oops, all wigs!” iteration of the hit show and the network’s first ever internal spinoff. Is it “good”? Do you have to “watch it”? That’s a question between you and God. As for myself — a devoted Thrones viewer and reader who has dipped the occasional toe into George R.R. Martin’s NFL recapping (?) — you can bet your ass I sat my ass down and watched the season premiere. It was fine.
One thought did occur to me, though, an idea for a burgeoning television show that might need the braintrust of one humble blogger: Let’s get Jim Broadbent back in the mix.
It’s easy to forget, in the dark cloud of the Game of Thrones finale, that there were several very famous British and European actors on that show doing one-off bits and parts that did not really stack up to the season-long drudgery of Jon Snow. Ian McShane was there for five seconds. Ciarán Hinds? Richard E. Grant? Thomas Brodie-Sangster?? Max von Sydow??? You can argue that these are not “real” famous people the way Ben Affleck is, but to me they are even more famous.
Most baffling of all of these guest stars is acclaimed character actor Jim Broadbent, whom pedants and losers will know from Moulin Rouge! and as Professor Slughorn from the Harry Potter, and whom intellectuals and tastemakers (me) know from the filmography of Mike Leigh. Remember when Jim Broadbent was on Game of Thrones? Do you remember his name? His character’s name? What his deal was? No, it’s impossible to remember anything about that show, let alone how the entity known as Benioff-Weiss allocated screen time to legends of the silver screen. Let me save you the trouble and tell you that Broadbent played a character called Archmaester Ebrose in the show’s penultimate season.
Here, enjoy Broadbent slopping organs around during an autopsy with Sam (Games of Thrones character) in the Citadel in Old Town (didn’t have to google this) in a scene you otherwise definitely remember from the first episode of the show’s seventh season. He’s great! He’s having a blast. You’re like, wait, is that Jim Broadbent? I bet he’ll be important. He wasn’t.
I will watch House of the Dragon whether or not Jim Broadbent is on it, but really, it can only improve by getting him in there. He doesn’t have to play Archmaester Ebrose, though this old fucker very well might have been around 172 years prior to the Game of Thrones narrative. He could be a different guy. Maybe a merchant? Or a lord? House of the Dragon has one thing going for it so far, and it’s a slew of U.K. character actors: Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, even my favorite actor of all time who I only know as “the dad from Fleabag” (sorry –– his name is Bill Paterson and he’s a genius). The more freaky, wacky guys we can get into this dragon-infested slop, the more enjoyable it will be for me, who will otherwise struggle to justify to crowds of media elites at parties why I am still tuning in every Sunday night to watch this show. You’re welcome, HBO.