Well this is exciting. As filming gets under way for the seventh season of Game of Thrones, many of the show’s actors are currently making their way over to Belfast to bring their characters back to life.
Of course, this leads many fans to keep an eye out at the airport for any familiar Westerosi faces – and one actor has been spotted who’s sent them all into a bit of a tizzy, because that particular star’s character left the series long ago (or so we thought).
Now, obviously the identity of this actor contains potential spoilers for the next series of Game of Thrones, so if you don’t want to know who it is, look away now.
Still here? OK then, welcome back the last remaining voyager on the SS Abandoned Plotlines – Joe Dempsie’s Gendry, the bastard son of former King Robert Baratheon last seen rowing away to safety in 2013’s season three after Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) tried to sacrifice him for magic.
Dempsie was spotted and photographed in the airport by an enterprising reader of behind-the-scenes fansite Watchers on the Wall, and his return to the series (if that is what the picture represents, rather than a coincidental holiday or something) is hugely significant.
Following the death of wannabe king Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) in season five and the demise of King Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman) this year, Gendry technically has a strong claim to the Iron Throne through his illegitimate father King Robert (Mark Addy). While not a trueborn son of Robert, Gendry is the last known person living with Baratheon blood and so could be a rallying point for nobles unhappy with Cersei Lannister’s (Lena Headey) seizure of power last series.
In other words, Gendry could become either a powerful player or important bargaining chip in the next series, with the baseborn Baratheon used to try to challenge Cersei for the throne, or to block the attempted invasion of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) as she returns to Westeros to reclaim her family’s throne.
Then again, we should probably remember the last time a long-lost, seemingly important heir returned to Game of Thrones after years away from the limelight…