This 'Game of Thrones' Season 8 casting just debunked one of our favorite theories
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This ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 casting just debunked one of our favorite theories


The Golden Company is coming to Game of Thrones in Season 8, and now we know who’s leading it — and who isn’t. 

Cersei ominously namedropped the infamous sellswords in the Season 7 finale while telling Jaime about her evil scheme to defeat Daenerys and Jon — having tricked everyone into thinking Euron Greyjoy had abandoned her and run back to the Iron Islands when in reality, he was jetting off to Essos to hire some mercenaries to beef up the Lannister ranks.

We’ve previously discussed how the Golden Company could end up working in Dany’s favor instead of Cersei’s in the final season, but a new piece of casting news throws a slight wrench into our theory.

Game of Thrones fansite Watchers on the Wall (h/t Vanity Fair) reports that The Last Kingdom‘s Marc Rissmann has been cast as Harry Strickland, known in George R. R. Martin’s books as the leader of the Golden Company. 

According to Watchers, Rissmann’s Spotlight CV and his agency’s website reportedly confirmed the news, but any mentions of Game of Thrones have since mysteriously vanished from the sites, and HBO declined to comment on the rumor. 

A casting notice dug up by WotW back in September revealed that the show was looking for a mercenary between the ages of 35-50, which the fansite predicted to be Harry Strickland. 

“He’s described as an authoritative, fit, cool and charismatic military type. He’ll be appearing in 2 episodes of season 8. The role requires he be able to ride a horse- no surprise for a mercenary on Thrones! The actor will be rehearsing in October, filming the week commencing December 11th, and then once again in May and June of 2018.”

That description is a far cry from the Harry Strickland presented in Martin’s books; A Wiki of Ice and Fire describes him as “portly, with a big round head, mild grey eyes and thinning grey hair that he brushes sideways to cover up a bald spot.” But everyone knows that TV has slightly different standards for beauty than literature does. 

If Rissmann is indeed playing Harry Strickland, that debunks a popular fan theory that, if and when the Golden Company shows up on screen, it will be led by Dany’s smitten former flame, Daario Naharis

As we noted in our Golden Company explainer, Daario used to be aligned with another sellsword company, the Second Sons, but some fans theorized that he could’ve gotten wind of Cersei’s dastardly plot and embedded himself with the Golden Company to help out his dragon queen, paving the way for a pretty cool reveal.

But that was before Dany hooked up with Jon Snow, her nephew/lover-from-another-brother, and somehow, we’re guessing Daario might not feel so loyal once he hears that Dany ditched him for another beardy swordsman. 

With Harry on board, Daario obviously won’t be leading the Golden Company, but that doesn’t mean he might not pop back up in the final season in another way, either as Dany’s ally, or as a jilted ex. 

But Harry’s involvement doesn’t necessarily mean that the Golden Company will stay loyal to Cersei, who once pointed out that “Loyal sellswords are as rare as virgin whores.” Since the Golden Company was founded by a bastard Targaryen, maybe old blood will prove to be thicker than gold. 

Either way, if WotW is correct and Rissmann is appearing in two episodes of Season 8, that means he’s on deck for one-third of the final season, which is only six episodes long. Is that enough time to turn the tide in a war? We wouldn’t bet against it.

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October 17, 2017
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