Roy Dotrice is an award-winning British actor. A good friend of George R. R. Martin, it comes as no surprise that he was Martin’s first and only choice as the narrator of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) Audiobooks. Dotrice has received a Guinness World Record for providing a unique voice to the 224 characters in A Game of Thrones Audiobook. He has since gained his own following within the ASOIAF fandom for his excellent reading of the first three novels in the series. He has also been slated to join the cast of HBO’s A Game of Thrones when it returns for its second season.
Roy Dotrice was born on May 26, 1923 to Louis and Nova Dotrice, a pair of well-respected bakers in the Island of Guernsey, off the coast of France. In 1940, the Germans invaded the island, forcing Roy to flee with his mother and brother to England. At the age of 16, Roy joined the Royal Air Force, where he served until he got captured by enemy forces. He spent four years as a prisoner of war in a German war camp. It was here that he began to channel his artistic talents by performing concerts to help lift the spirits of his fellow prisoners.
After the war, Dotrice returned to England and began to pursue an acting career, beginning with theater. He married actress Kay Newman and together they acted with Charles Denville and the Denville Players. In 1957, he joined what would later become the Royal Shakespeare Company and attained what he believes is his greatest achievement to date – introducing American baseball to a cricket-loving group.
From producing and directing plays, Dotrice moved on to radio, film, and television. His role as Commissioner Simmons in two episodes of Space 1999 in 1975 would mark his first step into the world of the science fiction and fantasy genre. Thirteen years later, his paths crossed with George R. R. Martin, who was the writer, script-editor, and producer of CBS’s Beauty and the Beast where Dotrice played the role of Father. The two became friends and Martin would later ask Dotrice to narrate A Game of Thrones Audiobook version, the first of many in Martin’s bestselling fantasy series.
Dotrice’s gruff voice and British accent was perfect for the medieval fantasy setting of the book. Coupled with his ability to offer unique voices to the hundreds of characters Martin had created, Dotrice’s narration did much to boost the sales and popularity of A Game of Thrones Audiobook and that of the later novels. When he was unable to read the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, due to time commitments, John Lee was cast in his place. Despite Lee’s first-rate performance, he was unable to capture the hearts of fans who had grown accustomed to Dotrice’s voices and pronunciation. Fans cried out in outrage and clamored for his return. As a result, Dotrice resumed reading ASOIAF for the Audiobook version of the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons.
In 2010, Roy Dotrice was cast as Grand Maester Pycelle for the upcoming HBO television series adaptation of A Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, he had to bow out due to health reasons, much to disappoint his fans.
As of August 6, 2011, though, fans of Dotrice and ASOIAF have reason to celebrate as Martin posts a “hot hint” in his blog: “Down under he was the voice of wisdom. Later on he was the voice of everyone. Now he’s wisdom.” The hint is in reference to Dotrice being casted as Hallyne the Pyromancer for the second season of a Game of Thrones. Yet another big role for Roy in the realm of ASOIAF – and one more compelling reason to catch the series on HBO!