Tortall TV series cast ideas: The 'Song of the Lioness' characters

Before Christmas I re-read the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce - first re-read since I was eleven, but I loved it and now I'm trying to get caught up on all her other books. Having a nose at the author's twitter, I discovered that the Tortall books are finally going to be adapted! Tamora Pierce has resisted TV companies for years, holding out for someone who will buy the whole franchise and now she's found a taker. So that's something to look forward to in a post-pandemic world! The casting will be tricky, I think, because of how the characters age over the course of the quartet and later The ImmortalsProtector of the Small and Trickster's Choice series. Will they change the actors for different ages? Make them older at the beginning? Who knows. But I had fun trying to come up with casting ideas. Really I hope they use mostly unknowns, but here are a few I think could do a good job: 


Sophia Lillis, Isla Johnston, Sadie Sink, Florence Pugh, Freya Allen, Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis, Joey King

Alanna is meant to be little and stocky and red-haired, but it's more important that she's got the star quality to carry what's probably going to be the biggest role in the series/franchise. (That's not to say she has to be famous already.) Just updated this to include Sophia Lillis (It) because I actually think she'd be a brilliant Alanna. She's nineteen, so depending how they do it you'd still need to cast a younger actress for the earlier bit. For little Alanna, I think young Beth from The Queens Gambit could carry it off. For other ideas: Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) - eighteen in real life, but looks younger, so could do the middle bit, and maybe Florence Pugh for grown up Alanna?  Freya Allen from The Witcher or Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis - from A Letter from the King - might be possibilities too, but that could just be because I've seen them in other teen fantasy shows. 


Jonah Haur-King, Timothy Chalamet, Logan Lerman

Maybe this is because I watched Little Women today and the Laurie/Jo thing plays out similarly to Alanna and Jonathon - but I think either of these Lauries would make a great adult Jon. Or Logan Lerman. You'd probably need to cast a younger actor for most of the Alanna books though. 


Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Mena Massoud, Dean-Charles Chapman

The most important thing to get right about George, I think, is the rouge-ish charm and the warmth. But the age gap also has to be managed. I've seen a few fan-casts that have Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Thom, which I think would work too, but after watching The Queen's Gambit I think he'd be fun as George. Plus he's the right age, but he looks young enough for it not to seem creepy. I loved Mena Massoud as Aladdin, but it's probably the thief thing that made me connect him with George (he might also make a sweet Numair?). And Dean Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones, 1917) could be annoying and too young - but he could also be very charming and help bridge the age gap. 


Jack Barton, Asa Butterfield, Alex Lawther

Thom needs to be kind of likeable but also a bit shifty and arrogant. Alex Lawther is great in everything he's in and always brings a weirdly likeable energy. It'd be a bit of a different role for Asa Butterfield (going back to his Merlin roots!) and Jack Barton really stood out to me in A Letter for the King and he just kind of looks how I imagine Thom. Which I know isn't right as he's supposed to look like Alanna. 

Duke Roger: 

Richard Madden, Craig Parker, Jonathon Bailey, 

Roger should be handsome, evil looking, and believable as Jonathon's relative. I thought maybe Richard Madden (he made a good villain in Rocketman) Narcisse from Reign or Anthony from Bridgerton!


Joe Cole, Josh Dylan 

So Liam, The Shang Dragon, is described as unconventionally attractive, red-haired, pock-marked, and I think he has a moustache? He should also look like a tough guy. Joe Cole plays John in Peaky Blinders, so he can do tough, but he was also good as the love interest in that Black Mirror episode - Kill the DJ? Josh Dylan had the cheeky charm as young Bill in Mamma Mia Two, and made a respectably scary and tortured Jude in Noughts and Crosses too.


Ben Crompton, 

I love this actor (Ed from Game of Thrones, Shanker from Strike) and I think he'd do justice to Coram's old soldier/exasperated father figure vibe. 


Jim Broadbent, Stephen Dillane, Jack Davenport, 

When I started thinking about Sir Myles actors, I realised that I already saw him in my head as Jim Broadbent - he's always good and plays a lot of these type of roles, but is maybe a bit old for it now. Stephen Dillane (Stannis from Game of Thrones) would be really great though. And for something a bit different, Jack Davenport would make the role pretty interesting now he's a bit older. He's not the right physical type but I think he could bring something different.


Auli'i Cravalho, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Ajiona Alexus, Naomi Scott

So Thayet is supposed to be half K'mir. I'm not really sure what the K'mir people are supposed to look like but we do know that the future queen has dark hair and is very beautiful.  I thought maybe Au'ili Cravalho (Moana) Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (Game of Thrones)  Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why) or Naomi Scott (Aladdin). You need someone who could play both the warrior and the stateswoman as well as the fun girl friend. 


Thaddea Graham, Amy-Leigh Hickman

More Letter to the King - it's just a similar genre okay, so easy to envision. Again, not sure what the K'mir are supposed to look like, but I thought Thaddea Graham made a good warrior girl. Amy Leigh-Hickman from Ackley Bridge (such an underrated show) could play the grumpiness too.  

Mistress Cooper: 

Beattie Edney, Tara Lynne O'Neill

For George's mum you need someone warm and a bit mischievous. I'd go with Prudie from Poldark or Ma Mary from Derry Girls!

Who would you cast? 


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  2. Watching Wheel of Time I thought to myself "why hasn't Song of the Lioness been adapted?" And now I see that it might be! Your choices are really good, so fingers crossed that the production people feel the same!

  3. I agree with most except for all of the people that you picked for Thayet do not have hooked noses. Thayet is supposed to have a hooked nose


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