Drive-By Hamleting

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—

If I’d had the interwebs and blogs had been invented in the very early 90′s, I would have done this then.  Because today we are paying long-overdue tribute to Iain Glen!  The man who has the distinction of being My Favorite Hamlet Ever.

I made his acquaintance at some point in the early 90′s when I was searching out every frame of film that Gary Oldman had ever appeared in.  And as had happened before and since, my love of Mr. Oldman lead me to a profound, life-changing discovery — I saw Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.  “What a piece of work,” indeed! I’d been a Shakespeare dweeb since high school, and R&G was such a revelation!  So genius!  And yet so fucking funny!  I’ve since seen stage versions, but it’s the movie that I return to time and again.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it; I’ve absorbed it, it’s part of my DNA.

And yeah, I first saw it for Oldman (as Rosencrantz).  And he is a miracle in it.  And his interplay with Tim Roth’s Guildenstern is one of the finest cinematic parings of all time.  But Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not exist without Prince Hamlet.  And in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet was played by Iain Glen.  He matched their awesomeness volley for volley.  I’ve since learned that he was doing the role onstage in London when he was scooped up for the movie.  Obviously, Tom Stoppard (writer/director) knows the Best Hamlet ever when he sees him.

Iain has unfortunately had one of those “under the radar” careers, lots of BBC, Masterpiece Theater, stage stuff, that never gets seen on these benighted shores, so after R&G he was hard to keep track of but I never forgot him.

And now he turns up on my TV every week on Game of Thrones as the sexay Jorah Mormont!

I had no idea he’d been cast, so when I first started watching GoT I did double and triple takes, asking BW repeatedly “OMG, is that…Prince Hamlet?!”  (We never use Iain’s real name around here.  We say “Prince Hamlet”, and we both know who we’re talking about.)

Not surprisingly, he is knocking his role out of the park.  See how I said “the sexay Jorah Mormont” up there?  If you had told me 2 months ago that I’d utter those words, I’d have wrinkled my face in disgust.  In the GoT book, Jorah is not a sexy character…he’s actually kind of a creepy pedo-bear.  But thanks to the show writers’ brilliant casting choice and Iain Glen’s Iain Glen-ness, Jorah is now the most appealing hot piece on the show after Sean Bean!  It’s magic, I tell you, how the character has been transmogrified by his hotness and talent!

But to me, he will always be the Sweet prince of Denmark.

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