Casting The Wheel of Time: Thom Merrilin

The casting of Thom Merrilin and Moiraine Damodred is in my opinion a key factor in whether the show succeeds. Rand, Mat, Perrin and the girls have time to grow into there roles and develop as the story does. Thom and Moiraine don't have that luxury being the established "Mentor" characters and need to be on song from the get go. That means they need to be talented actors and have gravitas.

Which brings me to Thom.

From the WoT wiki:
He is fairly old, and has a gnarled face, shaggy white hair, and blue eyes. He is tall, with stooped shoulders. His snowy hair and long mustaches make him appear older than he probably is, given his spryness. He is frequently portrayed as smoking a pipe.
Now a lot of people when casting Thom go on his appearance alone and we end up with the following quite frequently.

Sam Elliott and Jeff bridges may have the acting chops and fit the look, but do they really have the voice to carry off being a Gleeman let alone a Court Bard?  Bridges has some musical ability and is the better choice of the two but they both have gravely speaking voices.

When I was thinking of who to cast for Thom I focused on acting ability and voice with appearance coming a distant third. I don't know why but only one name popped into my head.

Hugh Laurie

Appearance wise he fits tall, old and blue eyed. White hair and mustache are an easy fix. More importantly he is a an accomplished voice actor(good for high chant and story telling) and his natural voice is pleasant on the ear. He also undoubtedly has the acting skills to pull off the Court Bard turned Gleeman that is Thom Merrilin. His comedic, musician, singing, acting and voice skills make him the perfect fit for the role for me.

Not convinced? Well if you are unfamiliar with his skills, here are 10 Reason to Love Hugh Laurie and his Wikipedia page.

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