Roy Dotrice, aka Pyromancer Hallyne and longtime ‘Game of Thrones’ audiobook narrator, dies at 94

Roy Dotrice in 2000, after winning a Tony Award for his Broadway role in "A Moon for the Misbegotten."

Roy Dotrice in 2000, after winning a Tony Award for his role in “A Moon for the Misbegotten.”

British actor Roy Dotrice, who narrated the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks and appeared as Pyromancer Hallyne in two episodes of Season 2 of Game of Thrones, died today at age 94, according to the BBC. Thrones was Dotrice’s last television role before his death.

Dotrice — a multifaceted actor who had roles in film, television and theater, winning a Tony Award in 2000 for the Broadway revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten — earned a Guinness World Record for the most characters ever voiced by a single actor when recording the audiobook for “A Game of Thrones” in 2004, and went on to narrate all of the published novels in George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series. He was originally cast as Grand Maester Pycelle in 2010, but he fell ill before filming began and instead appeared in two episodes of Season 2 as Pyromancer Hallyne — who, viewers recall, gleefully watched his wildfire oblierate Stannis Baratheon’s fleet during the Battle of the Blackwater.

Roy Dotrice 209

Dotrice and Martin had a long-running relationship, beginning with their work together on the television series Beauty and the Beast, which ran from 1987-90 and on which Dotrice played Jacob “Father” Wells and Martin was a writer and producer. It was because of that long relationship that Dotrice reportedly accepted the cameo as Hallyne after recovering from his illness as a favor to Martin. Dotrice will be missed as a longtime member of the Thrones world, especially when “The Winds of Winter” is (finally) published and someone will have to take up the mantle of narrator. We know those will be big shoes to fill.

Rest in peace, Roy.

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    1. Such sad news. My condolences to Mr Dotrice’s family and friends.

      Is he now the third cast member that has died since S1? Margaret John (Old Nan), Peter Vaughan (Maester Aemon) and now Ray Dotrice (Wisdom Halleyne).

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    2. Oh no! 🤧 Roy Dotrice was my favorite character actor! I recently noted he was the oldest GoT cast member (Pyromancer Hallyne).

      He played the Russian figure skating coach in the great guilty pleasure movie “The Cutting Edge”; Mozart’s father in “Amadeus”; Father in the TV series “Beauty and The Beast” (on which GRRM was a writer/co-producer); and was in so many other productions on the stage, on TV and in films. Of course, he was also an accomplished voice actor.

      I’m going to rewatch his classic pre-Blackwater scene with Bronn and Tyrion, discussing the properties – and dangers – of wildfire.

      This is truly a great loss…but an occasion to celebrate a life well-lived.

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    3. I’m sad to hear this news. It will be strange to hear a new voice for the audio books. My condolences to his family and friends.

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    4. Sad news. I’ve never listened to the audiobooks, but I loved Roy Dotrice’s performance as Wisdom Hallyne in Season 2, particularly the gleeful look that he offers up when surveying the results of his handiwork after the wildfire explosion in “Blackwater”. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an actor, and I’m glad that he was able to make a memorable contribution to Game of Thrones as part of his distinguished legacy. RIP.

      talvikorppi:

      Is he now the third cast member that has died since S1? Margaret John (Old Nan), Peter Vaughan (Maester Aemon) and now Ray Dotrice (Wisdom Halleyne).

      Neil Fingleton, who played Mag the Mighty in Season 4 and one of the wight giants in Season 7, also passed away back in February.

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    5. Roy Dotrice had that unique ability to disappear into a character, changing his voice, accent, inflection, and body language.

      I’ve typed out his scene in S2e5 below
      [Pyromancer Hallyne (Roy Dotrice) visited by Tyrion and Bronn.]

      I loved the way he deadpanned “Oh, I have not conducted this experiment”; his delight in describing how wildfire “melts wood, stone, even steel”, (then pausing for emphasis)….” and of course…flesh!”; and his indignation at a perceived insult: “Our order does not deal in pig shit!”

      ——————————-

      Tyrion: I remember reading an old sailors’ proverb, “Piss on wildfire and your cock burns off.”

      Hallyne: Oh, I have not conducted this experiment. It could well be true. The substance burns so hot, it melts wood, stone, even steel, and, of course…flesh! The substance burns so hot, it melts flesh like tallow. After the dragons died, wildfire was the key to the Targaryen power.

      Tyrion: My companion takes issue.

      Bronn: If I could tell you how many crazy old men I’ve seen pushing carts around army camps making grand claims about jars full of pig shit.
      – No offense meant.

      Hallyne: Our order does not deal in pig shit!
      The substance is fire given form. And we have been perfecting it since the days of Maegor.

      Bronn: To do what?

      Hallyne: The jars are put in catapults and flung at the enemy.

      Tyrion: How much do you have?

      (As they talk, Hallyne unlocks door to another room)

      Bronn: If you could get real soldiers to man the catapults, then maybe you’d hit your target one time in ten, but all the real soldiers are in the Riverlands with your father.

      Hallyne: My lord, this man is insulting…

      Bronn: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a battle, old man, but things can get a bit messy. ‘Cause when we’re flinging things at Stannis, he’s flinging them right back at us. Men die, men shit themselves, men run, which means pots falling, which means fire inside the walls, which means the poor cunts trying to defend the city end up burning it down.

      Tyrion: My friend remains unconvinced.

      Hallyne: He would not dare insult my order whilst Aerys Targaryen lived.

      (As they talk, Hallyne opens another door, to a long storage room stocked floor to ceiling with pots of wildfire; they go inside)

      Bronn: Well, he’s not living anymore. And all his pots of wildfire didn’t help him, did they? Men win wars, not magic tricks.

      Hallyne: We have been working tirelessly, day and night, ever since your royal sister commanded us to do so. Our present count stands at 7,811. Enough to burn Stannis Baratheon’s fleet and armies both.

      Bronn: This is a shit idea.

      Tyrion (awed by amount of wildfire stockpiled): I’m afraid I have to concur with my advisor, Wisdom Hallyne. The contents of this room could lay King’s Landing low. You won’t be making wildfire for my sister any longer.
      You’ll be making it for me.

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    6. Jared,

      Yes! That proud, gleeful look on his face when he saw “his” wildfire erupt on Blackwater Bay! Nice bookend to the earlier scene in S2e5 that I typed out.

      [… Cranky keyboard slowing down… Comment to be cont…]

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    7. Oh man, I was so afraid this would happen.

      Everyone was worried about GRRM dying before the books were finished… and I thought, well that seems unlikely, but what does seem likely is that my favorite narrator won’t still be around to narrate the the audio books.

      RIP Roy!

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    8. Sorry to hear that. The audio books he narrated are very good. Just incredible how he remembered all the different accents he used for the various characters, but never knew why he decided to use a Welsh accent for Tyrion!

      Was good to see that he got a cameo part in GoT as Pyromancer Hallyne back in S2. He played the part perfectly. Always serious even when Bronn was goading him.

      RIP Roy – You had a good innings…

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    9. A wonderful and unsung British character actor. I recall him from some theatre work in the 70s-80s. Such a fine narrator. Though his perfect voice is silenced, I hope GRRM forges ahead anyway. According to Wikipedia, he played Father in GRRM’s 80s Beauty and the Beast. RIP.

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    10. I think on this website I’ve owned up before to being a bit younger than GRRM (not that much if I’m honest). As someone from the UK to me he seems to have been around forever. I first remember him playing Grandfather in a TV dramatisation of “The Old Curiosity Shop” where his daughter Michelle played Little Nell. You are probably all aware that another of his daughters, Karen, played the girl charge of Mary Poppins (in the film where Julie Andrews played the title role).

      It’s strange, I was recently trying to think recently of voice actors I would like to be cast in a radio dramatisation or reading of ASOIAF though I won’t mention anything more on that here (perhaps I’ll take it to the forums). I don’t know if any such project will ever be undertaken but now Mr Dotrice won’t be part of it if it happens. I suppose he could be said to have had a good long life but losing a parent or grandparent is always a wrench so I have sympathy for his family. His recordings (and films) will live after him of course.

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    11. The site that shall not be named (oh I shall hang my head in shame for looking there) said that that Mr Dotrice was born in Germany – I’m pretty certain it was Guernsey (Channel Islands or iles anglos-normands).

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    12. I realise my earlier post was ambiguous. My intention was to say that Roy Dotrice seemed to have been around forever – not GRRM.

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    13. Just read about Mr. Dotrice’s death. It’s sad but he seemed to have had an acclaimed life. I enjoyed his 200+ characterizations for the GoT audio book during a reread/rehear several years back. RiP

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    14. Wonderful actor, wonderful voice! Rest in peace! A life well lived.

      Sad day for Game of Thrones, and love to Sophie as well, Zunni/Lady has also passed away. ❤

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    15. Oh no. Roy Dotrice was so talented. His ASOIAF audio books were fantastic. So sad that he’s gone. We are lucky to have been graced with his talent.

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    16. This year marks the 25th anniversary of “The Cutting Edge”, an always-“rewatchable” movie in which Roy Dotrice gave an excellent performance as Anton Pamchenko, a Russian figure skating coach (with perfect accent).

      Here’s the setup (spoiler-coded if you don’t want to know):

      Anton Pamchenko has been hired by the rich father of a snotty American figure skater (Moira Kelly), who’d been on her way to an Olympic gold medal in the pairs competition a few years earlier until her partner dropped her during a lift in the finals. Since then, she’s been training for the next Olympics – but can’t find a new partner. The candidates either aren’t talented enough, she doesn’t like them, or they simply refuse to skate with her. Coach Pamchenko explains to her father:

      “She is tremendous skater. Everyone is saying this. Petite. Powerful. Intelligent. But always is coming the big B. What a bitch.”

      One male skater turned him down, saying, “before he skate with her, he wear garlic from neck, and sleep with cross.”

      In frustration, Coach Pamchenko reports to her father: “We have reached bottom of barrel.”

      In a parallel story line, a college hockey phenom (D.B. Sweeney) from a blue-collar Minnesota town playing for the U.S. team, had been dazzling the crowd at the Olympics until a vicious check against the boards knocked him unconscious and caused a partial but permanent loss of peripheral vision, derailing his dreams of an NHL career. He finds a job at a steel mill and does part-time construction work in his hometown, plays hockey in local bar leagues, and receives only terse rejection letters when he asks for a tryout from the NHL teams that once slobbered over him.

      One day, as he’s working on a job site, a hockey coach with a Russian accent shows up….

      The screenplay for “The Cutting Edge” was written by Tony Gilroy, who went on to write or adapt screenplays for lots of films, including: The Devil’s Advocate, the Bourne films (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum); Michael Clayton (also directed), State of Play; and Rogue One.

      P.S. For those who’ve already seen the movie….
      “Toe-pick!”

      For those who haven’t and want to see the actor who played Pyromancer Hallyne looking and sounding completely different, or just want to watch an enjoyable movie, I recommend “The Cutting Edge.”

      As one reviewer wrote: “Come for Roy Dotrice’s immersive performance, stay for the snappy dialogue and Moira Kelly’s gorgeous costumes.”

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    17. I never heard him read from the books,but I did love watching his character on GOT and well remember him as Mozart’s father in Amadeus. He lived a long and successful life. Now his watch has ended. Condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace.

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    18. Just remembered: Roy Dotrice played Zeus in “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.”
      He’s finished his visit with us mere mortals, and has returned to Mount Olympus to resume ruling as King of the Gods.

      Long may he reign!

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    19. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Glad if I can make someone’s day a bit brighter, SRR – Michelle Dotrice was one of my picks for a character in the books that didn’t make it into the show (or maybe you’ve read the books; I know it can be a bit annoying if people tell you stuff you already know), namely Aunt Genna Lannister/Frey, Tywin’s sister.

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    20. You should also check out GRRM’s website, grrm.livejournal.com, in which he gives a remembrance of his long friendship with Mr. Dotrice.

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