I finished the newest Joe Abercrombie novel in three days (interesting is that the majority of the book takes place over a three day period). It was absolutely fantastic. Abercrombie definitely keeps getting better as a writer. Instead of everything being dark and depressing at the end, there were at least a few bright spots at the end of the day. The story takes place up north as the Union fight against Black Dow and the rest of the North.
The book focuses on characters from both sides and mainly how they are not really heroes. During the main battle, Abercrombie does something I really enjoyed. He takes the POV of a character from one side of the battle, and then as he is killed, he switches to the POV of the person doing the killing, and then when that person gets killed, he switches to that killer. He did this before (at least I think so), but he did it for a much longer section this time. Anyways, like the last two movies, I will be doing a casting call for my own movie version. There will probably be spoilers from here on out.
He is a Named Man on Black Dow’s side. He is considered a straight-edge, a guy who always does the right thing. The funny thing is, once he retires, his second (Wonderful) decides that doing the right thing generally means not getting paid. It is funny how they all fight for him, yet they were sick and tired of doing things his way. Unfortunately, retirement does not stick and when Hardbread asks him to join Scale’s side, he gives up carpentry and picks his sword back up.
I picture him as Robert Duvall. He is older, constantly bitching about wanting to retire, but also he keeps saying things about how you have to do the right thing and stand by your chief. Duvall just looks like he could pick up a sword and be a bad-ass, but always would keep his warped sense of honor.
The youngest son of Bethod, the former King of the North. He believes that peace is the North’s best shot. He is a known coward and everyone makes fun of him. After his brother (Scale) is apparently killed, he must lead his men in the battle. He does so and earns their respect, but not before mentioning to Craw that they need to kill Black Dow. Because of Craw believing in doing the right thing, he tells Dow everything. Black Dow wants to kill Calder. Calder cleverly challenges Black Dow to fight in the circle.
I actually saw this going one of three ways: Calder somehow finds a berserker rage (much like the Bloody-Nine) and kills Dow. Black Dow savagely kills Calder and we learn the lesson that the little guy never rises up to beat the bad guy. Or my third option was that Logen would show up and offer to fight in the circle for Calder. I still do not believe Logen is dead, I am guessing he will show up in the next series. Anyways, Shivers steps up and helps Calder out, which was pretty much a shock. It also reaffirmed my choice for Shivers from the last time.
By the end of the book, Calder is the new King of the North, but then Bayaz tells him that he was the reason Calder is where he is. Bayaz also tells him that Scale is alive, which leaves Calder with a tough decision: kill his brother or let him be king. He chooses the second option, which was pretty cool. So who has the stones to play the smirking, smug bastard? How about Michael Fassbender? Just look at that smirk…plus he is a good actor. Do you remember how smug and cocky he was in 300?
Bremer dan Gorst
He is probably one of the greatest swordsmen in the world. No joking on that one. He pretty much takes on many of the Northmen on his own. Unfortunately after the last book, he disgraced himself and got sent to the North as an observer. He went back to his former training (running for miles in full armor, fencing for hours each morning…) and is now back at peak performance.
He battles Scale on the bridge and cuts him down. He beats the crap out of Glama Golden. He also kills Whirrun of Bligh. He scares half the Northmen just by strolling through the battlefield. He is just an absolute bad-ass. His letters to the king are quite funny. At the end, during negotiations, he almost attacks Shivers because he thinks he recognizes him (events from Best Served Cold). Again, this is why my previous choice for Shivers was perfect. As Gorst grabs him and asks if he was ever at Cardotti’s, Shivers leans close and says “never heard of it.”
The biggest problem with Gorst is that his voice is very high and that is why everyone makes fun of him. I figure Manu Bennett from Spartacus: Blood and Sand would be perfect. He pretty much has no neck and looks like he would scare the shit out of everyone. Just need to work on the voice.
Beck is one of the few happy stories in this book. He is just a young kid, he joins the Northmen trying to earn his name. He used to daydream about being a fearless warrior just like his father. During his first battle, he pisses his pants, hides in a cupboard, and then stabs one of his fellow soldiers. No one knows this though and he earns the name Red Beck because everyone thinks he killed four Union soldiers.
He later joins up with Craw’s men and during one of the major battles he heeds Craw’s advice: stand by your chief. When Gorst kills Whirrun and is about to kill Craw, Beck hits him in the back of the head with the flat end of his sword, knocking Gorst out.
After the battle, Beck refuses his payment from Wonderful because he does not feel it is right that they did not help Black Dow even though they stood for him. He leaves the group and goes back home to his mom and brothers. He is happy to finally be back on the farm and decides he never wants to be like his father. Who else could play this kid other than Aaron Johnson from Kick-Ass? He is a bigger kid, but he still looks young and naive enough.
This is the guy who used to fight alongside Logen and is considered an even more savage killer than him. He supposedly killed Logen, but I honestly do not believe it (as I already said). He ends up dead from Shivers, who tells him that he is no one’s dog. I loved it. Again, this is why Alexander Skarsgard is perfect as shivers. But, who could play Black Dow?
There has only been one choice this entire time. From about page 44 on, I kept picturing Ian McShane and his awesomeness as Al Swearengen from Deadwood. It was the exchange with Stranger-Come-Knocking that did it for me. As Stranger goes on about the different men he killed, Black Down just keeps tossing out funny little comments. “I crushed a man’s skull in my hand.” Dow: “Messy.” “I was pierced with many arrows during a battle.” Dow: “You should get a shield.”
And then at the end when he says he has given Calder every chance, he just reminded me so much of Swearengen. It is an absolutely perfect fit. He just might have to hit the gym before the filming.
A Union soldier who has served for many years. He pretty much seems like the Union’s version of Calder. He jokes about not actually doing any fighting and all he really wants is to make money in numerous ways. He seems to be a jerk to the new recruits.
When his one moment comes though and they attack a wall (which Calder set up as a decoy), he is the first over the wall and ready to fight. He also writes letters to the families of the men who died under his command, yet does not want anyone to see it. I am sure he will pop up again in the next series when the army heads to Styria (maybe he will end up joining sides with Cosca, they would be like best friends…or did Cosca die at the end of Best Served Cold, I cannot remember.)
I keep thinking of Dean Winters for the role. He was awesome as O’Reily on Oz and he is great in those Allstate commercials.
Whirrun of Bligh
He is pretty much crazy. He believes some witch who told him when he would die and apparently he does not think it will be the day that he actually dies. He carries a sword called The Father of Swords, and when he unsheathes it, the rule is that it must be blooded.
During the last battle, he shows up wearing no shirt because he does not believe he will die that day. Everyone is scared of him because he is such a nut-job (his nickname is Cracknut). He reminds me of Tig from Sons of Anarchy. Tig is a little nuts and pretty funny. Kim Coates would be perfect (especially if you ever saw Waterworld and his crazy character in that movie).
I loved how as he was dying, he gives his sword to Craw and tells him to bury it with him, that way it’s curse can end with him. I also enjoyed how he says that he has never actually been to Bligh, but he must have received the name since most Northmen only know one place up in neck of the woods (I think he was from the Crinna, like Stranger).
He is described as a giant, but with a somewhat soft voice. He is also obsessed with making the people of his land more civilized. He did not have a large role in the book, but when he shows up, he is great. I am guessing that he will have to be mostly CGI or something. Plus, whoever plays him will have to be able to have a great exchange with Black Dow and then become all soft when talking to Calder or Finree. How about Jared Padalecki? He is already a big dude, and in Supernatural, he goes from a nice, soft-voiced guy, to an all out bad-ass pretty quickly. Plus, he usually has some funny exchanges with Jensen Ackles.
Finree dan Brock
The wife of Colonel Brock, whose father was considered a traitor against King Jezal. She is also the daughter of Lord Marshall Kroy. She is ambitious and very knowledgeable about the military. She is captured by Stranger, but later turned over to Black Dow in order to discuss a peace agreement.
Gorst is in love with her and at the end of the book he makes a fool of himself by telling her how great of a warrior he is, which she pretty much tears him apart. She will pretty much do anything to get ahead in life. By the end, Bayaz has made her husband the Lord Governor of Angland (it borders the North), which is basically what she wanted. She has dark hair and is very hot. Hmm, so many women to choose from.
I like Sienna Miller. She is hot (she even looks hot with dark hair, which she will need for the role) and if you remember her in Stardust, she was a perfect manipulative bitch.
Aliz dan Brint
She is the wife of Brint (a character from the first series) and the only friend of Finree. She is very naive and a bit of a twit. I am guessing she is pretty hot though, since Jezel and Brint are friends, and she probably has been in the company of the queen. She is the blond one and her story does not end well. Whereas Finree gets to leave Stranger’s company, she does not. I am guessing she got banged by a giant. Why even bother mentioning her? I wanted to post another picture of a girl, I ain’t gay (not that there is anything wrong with that.) How about Hilary Duff? She is hot and young…
She is Craw’s second and a pretty tough lady. I am guessing she must not be all that hot or she would have probably gotten raped awhile ago. I am guessing that since she has been with Craw for awhile now, she must be a littler older. I figured Linda Hamilton would be good. I could believe her holding up a sword and fighting against Northmen.
Although, I have seen some pictures of her where she looks older than Robert Duvall. Whatever, she was ripped in T2.
Obviously this is not all the characters. If you want my choices for other characters from previous books, go here and here. I also had another prediction during the book: the character Red-Hat, the second to the Dogman, was going to actually be either Logen or Major West (he must have been promoted to Lord Marshall at some point, since he got a passing mention). It appears that I was wrong though. Anyways, let me know what you think.