Eagle-eye'd fans may have noticed in season two of Game of Thrones, a very different actor was playing The Mountain than in season one. Though still tall, a much thinner Ian Whyte replaced Conan Stevens as the older Clegane brother and hardly looked the part of a man most of Westeros lived in fear of, a man who took the head off a horse in one swing of his sword, and who made his huge brother The Hound look small. Fortunately, it was a small role with Whyte only appearing briefly in a couple of episodes, but fans of the books know that The Mountain will be playing a bigger role in season four, the second half of Storm of Swords.
Though I'm not a fan of seeing existing actors replaced, finding a much more fitting actor for The Mountain is a good move. HBO has confirmed that Icelandic Strongman Champion 'Thor' Bjornsson will be taking over the role next season. Though a bit shorter than the previous two actors at 6'9", his 420 lbs frame should make up for it. The only odd thing is that the actor is twenty years younger than Rory McCann, who plays his 'younger' brother Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and has a strong icelandic accent. I would expect though, that we won't see him much without his armor and may even see him voiced-over.
In another major casting announcement was actor Michiel Huisman joining the cast. Though HBO has confirmed his casting, they have not confirmed his role, but rumor has it he will replace Ed Skrein as Daario Naharis, the Tyroshi sellsword working for and worshiping Daenerys. If true, this is an even bigger deal than the mountain recasting as Daario was a fairly large supporting role last season and viewers are quite likely to remember the character.
Though his acting schedule does line up with Dany's storyline and most sites are reporting the recasting as fact now, remember HBO has yet to confirm the replacement. I for one don't mind this one because I didn't feel Ed Skrein's Daario had much chemistry with Dany, but worry how jarring the change could be for some fans. Perhaps they could help disguise the change by having the character grow his trademark blue beard.
The recasting news hasn't stopped, with King Joffrey's younger brother, Tommen Baratheon, being recast. Dean-Charles Chapman will supposedly be playing the young prince in season four and this may be another role that only eagle-eyed viewers notice as Tommen hasn't appeared since briefly near the end of season two. And if viewers have too good a memory, they may remember the actor has already appeared as another character on Game of Thrones, playing Martyn Lannister, one of the squires killed by Lord Karstark in season three.
Our last bit of casting news is actually about a new role and not a replacement, as Angolan actor Hoji Fortuna joins the cast. HBO is keeping this role under wraps, but speculation says he could be playing Brown Ben Plumm, a sellsword Dany encounters. All we know for sure though is that he is filming in Croatia, which means he could be filming in either the Dany storyline or King's Landing storyline.
With Game of Thrones beginning filming recently in Croatia, we also have some set pictures from King's Landing: