GAME OF THRONES Casts Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon!

Carice Van Houten and Stephen Dillane join HBO’s epic fantasy series!

This is some pretty great Game of Thrones casting news: the gorgeous and excellent Carice Van Houten has been cast as the mysterious red witch Melisandre, who becomes embroiled in the war for the Iron Throne when she backs Stannis Baratheon, younger brother of dead king Robert and the actual rightful heir. Melisandre comes from Asshai, a mysterious Eastern kingdom where magic still rules, and she is the prophet of a new, monotheistic religion that she seeks to bring to Westeros.

Van Houten is terrific; she delivered one of the decade’s best performances in Black Book, and she’s since been seen in Valkyrie and Repo Men. She hasn’t had a role that matches her Black Book role, but Game of Thrones could give her something really interesting to work with.

Stannis has been cast as well; the excellent British actor Stephen Dillane will be playing the stern, humorless man who would be king. He was last seen in John Adams, but he’s a  Tony-winning stage actor as well.

This is GREAT casting. The show continues seeking out strong actors; while I pictured Melisandre as perhaps more exotic, I love Van Houten and am excited to see her coming to my TV next year.

via EW