We’re still a fair old way off the next series of Game of Thrones (which hasn’t even started filming yet), but we’re already starting to get a little bit of information about what we can expect thanks to a series of leaked casting calls for new characters to join the series.
Revealed by fan site Watchers on the Wall (who previously brought us the casting call for Robert Aramayo’s young Ned Stark in season 6) the list of calls is pretty lengthy, so we’ve assembled a few highlights – as well as our thoughts on the unused characters from George RR Martin’s source novels or new figures that these calls could be searching for.
Young Howland Reed (Leo Woodruff, left) with young Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo) in a flashback
Described as an “excellent part for a top-end actor” with a “considerable” amount of dialogue, this character is aged 35-45 and is a “tough-looking bruiser with the attack skills of a pit bull,” and will need an actor skilled at stage fighting. The actor is also asked to be white with a neutral accent, indicating he’s probably a Westerosi character.
Now, there are a few strong candidates for who this character could be (other than someone completely unheard of, of course). We’ve still not met the present-day Howland Reed (the father of Ellie Kendrick’s Meera Reed) in the show, and considering he might have some insight into Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) real identity (he helped Ned Stark rescue the child after the death of Lyanna Stark, Jon’s real mother), it could be time for him to enter the fray.
Other unused book characters that vaguely match this description include Vale of Arryn knight Lyn Corbray, who secretly spies for Aidan Gillen’s Littlefinger, and Ser Daven Lannister, a war-like cousin of Jaime and Cersei (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey) who becomes the new Warden of the West in later novels.
Alternatively, this could be a younger version of a character we already know in a flashback scene – perhaps the deceased Barristan Selmy (played by Ian McElhinney in the series, below) in his glory days, when he was present at several important events that Bran could visit in his visions.
But perhaps the most significant book character as yet unused in the TV series and matching the description (including age) is Lord Jon Connington, a former Hand to the Mad King who was exiled to Essos after Robert Baratheon’s rebellion, and subsequently worked to put a young boy claiming to be Aegon Targaryen (the nephew of Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys, with a better claim to the throne than her) on the Iron Throne.
However, some fans have interpreted clues in the books as suggesting that Aegon is an imposter (even if he doesn’t know it himself), and have taken the fact that he hasn’t yet appeared in the TV series as proof that he’ll have no major impact on the main storyline.
Notably, the fact that Aegon HASN’T been included in the TV series yet is a pretty big mark against Jon turning up (he was sort of his whole point for existing in the books), as well as the fact that his other main storyline in the source material (where he catches the greyscale illness) was given to Iain Glen’s Jorah Mormont onscreen instead.
But who knows? Maybe this year we could be seeing Aegon finally make his appearance, perhaps in the person of…
Described as tall and handsome in his late 20s, the actor for this role would need to be white and with an RP (basically quite posh) accent, generally a sign that a character is from around King’s Landing.
Now, while this part does seem like a reasonable call for someone to play Aegon, it isn’t a complete fit – late 20s is a little older than Aegon is portrayed in the novels, though the show could be ageing him up a little (as it’s done for several characters over the years).
Then again, we could be seeing the entrance of a book character called Harry the Heir – a distant relative of the Arryn family who is currently in line to inherit the Great House’s name and lands if sickly Lord Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli in the series) doesn’t reproduce, and is a key part of Littlefinger’s plans to take over the Vale of Arryn.
Or he could be Darkstar, aka Gerold Dayne, a handsome knight (in his late 20s) with a cruel nature who was an important part of the books’ Dorne plotline.
Or perhaps we’re barking up the wrong tree entirely, and this is yet another flashback. After all, the young lord’s description fits pretty well with a youthful version of Rhaegar Targaryen, the deceased Targaryen prince and secret father of Kit Harington’s Jon Snow, who kicked off the rebellion that removed the Targaryens from power when he ran away with Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna (Aisling Franciosi in season 6).
A key moment in that relationship occurred at a tournament where Rhaegar rode against Ser Barristan Selmy in the final bout, eventually winning and crowning Lyanna the tournament’s “Queen of Love and Beauty” instead of his wife – and considering the also-announced “warrior” character could match a younger Ser Barristan, we wouldn’t rule this idea out just yet. Maybe Bran wanted to see a little more background on Rhaegar and Lyanna’s relationship, and popped back in time to witness this key moment?
In the age range 40-55, this character is a senior military officer and needs a white actor with an RP accent. Now we promise to stop going on about Jon Connington but just quickly we should say this description could also fit him, and then move on.
Perhaps this character could be a military commander working with Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) in her revenge campaign against the Lannisters, or someone the Lannisters recruit to help them defend against their many enemies (and simultaneously bolstering the now thinned-out King’s Landing cast).
If you thought we were done with priests after the explosive end to the Sparrows, we’ve got some bad news for you – apparently season 7 is looking for a “venerable priest with moral authority and gravitas,” planned for a white actor with an RP accent and a “characterful” face.
Now, this could just be some random new reverend popping up somewhere in the story – King’s Landing is a little light on them at the moment, after all – but some fans have already speculated that this character might not be a priest at all, with the description used to mask the fact that the actor will really be playing one of the medical/scientific/strategy-advising maesters.
Specifically, some book readers think this could be an appearance for archmaester Marwyn, also known as Marwyn the Mage, an unusual and skilled maester who has travelled the world learning secrets about the human body, fighting with his fists and studying magic and gaining a reputation as a maverick within his brethren.
Crucially, in his last book appearance he set off to meet Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, setting him on a collision course with the wannabe Queen that the TV series could replicate.
In his 20s, this character is a disciplined, athletic and physically fit warrior, possibly of Middle Eastern descent. This could fit the description of a Dothraki warrior, and considering that Daenerys now has a massive army of Dothraki at her disposal, it could be that this new character is a commander who reports directly to the Mother of Dragons in the new series.
And a few others…
Other casting calls include for a gate guard (about 20 and northern), a city guard (who comes across a suspicious person), a lovely lady (a role requiring nudity and with an unspecified ethnicity, implying she’s from somewhere across the narrow sea) and a merchant (who’s said to appear at an inn on a busy evening, and also has an unspecified ethnicity). All of these seem likely to be brand-new characters.
So there you have it – a bunch of exciting new castings to look forward to that could be any number of unseen book characters, or none at all. Exactly the kind of clear foreknowledge we’ve come to expect from the world of Game of Thrones.