Game of Thrones season 8 casting announcement debunks fan theory

Jacob Stolworthy

A casting announcement for Game of Thrones season eight has poured water on a theory that an old character could return in future episodes.

It's been reported by Watchers on the Wall that German actor Marc Rissmann has joined the cast as a character named Harry Strickland, someone readers of the George R. R. Martin book series will remember as the leader of the mysterious Golden Company.

Now, the season seven finale saw Cersei seemingly agree to a temporary truce with Daenerys and Jon Snow in a bid to attempt to defeat the oncoming threat of White Walkers - only for her to later reveal to a distressed Jaime that she plans to use this opportunity to her advantage with thanks to The Golden Company.

This company has been mentioned before in a moment that arrived during an exchange with the Iron Bank's Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) who, after seeming content that the Lannister's debt had been paid, asked Cersei if he could assist her with anything. After mentioning she needed help growing her army, she highlighted that Qyburn has been making “overtures” to the Golden Company. So, who is this mysterious group?

The answer: a collection of 10,000-strong mercenary sellswords based in Essos. This isn't the first time they've been mentioned in the series, either - in season four, Davos told Stannis to hire the group stating they had some of the most skilled fighters in the land. Furthermore, Jorah used to fight as part of them.

Since the climax of season seven, it's been believed that the secret leader of the mercenary group would be none other than Daario Naharis (Michael Huisman), the absent former love interest of Daenerys Targaryen.

The theory went that Naharis would be working to bring the Lannisters down from the inside despite pledging fealty to Cersei - however, Rissmann's casting as Strickland seems to put an end to this theory.

He is expected to appear twice in the final season which is expected to air in 2019.

Yesterday (17 October), Lena Headey added her voice to the dozens worth of women who have spoken out about their encounters with disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein following allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

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