The news that legendary character actor Jim Broadbent is joining Game of Thrones is a welcome one, whether you’re just a fan of the Harry Potter film series (where he played Professor Slughorn) or have been following his decorated acting career over the last few decades.
But Broadbent’s casting raises a big question – who in the world of Westeros could he be playing? Is he some new challenger to the Iron Throne, a new ally for Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) or an unusually cheery Dothraki? Or could he be something else entirely?
Well, we reckon we might have an idea as to how Broadbent might be pitching up as – though to explain it, we’ll have to jump back in time a couple of weeks to when reliable fan site Watchers on the Wall revealed a list of casting calls for the new series, which described several new characters joining the action.
Ok, time travel over. In the casting call, there’s only one role that would seem to match Broadbent – a character referred to as “Priest”, who’s described as a white man in 60s with a sense of “moral authority and gravitas” and a “characterful face”. Now who does that remind you of?
Frankly that casting description sounds like Broadbent to a tee, and if it’s not the part he ended up with we’ll eat our Valyrian steel hats. After all, the casting call also emphasizes that this character would shoot in September, which could explain why Broadbent’s involvement has been announced with the actor about to start filming.
But with one question possibly solved, another rears its head – because as for who exactly this “priest” may be, there are a couple of candidates.
First off, it could be that the role is exactly as it seems, with Broadbent playing some new representative of the series’ religion (The Faith of the Seven) following Cersei’s destruction of the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and his acolytes at the end of series 6. There’s a vacancy for a new High Septon, after all, and Broadbent could be perfect to play a wily new addition to the Lannister royal camp.
However, many fans are already theorizing that Broadbent could be set to portray one of the few characters from George RR Martin’s source novels still left unadapted by the TV series since it overtook the books – archmaester Marwyn, also called Marwyn the Mage.
Donald Sumpter's Maester Luwin, right, educating Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright)
Known as a bit of a maverick, Marwyn is a skilled and unusual maester who has travelled the world to learn everything about magic and the human body, often fighting with his fists to make his way safely on his quest for knowledge. Even among the other science/medical/strategy experts of the Citadel Marwyn stands apart, and is given a great deal of leeway despite his eccentricities.
Most interestingly, in his last book appearance Marwyn set off to meet Darenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her dragons to offer his help, so that could be how Broadbent enters the series – as a new advisor to Daenerys to replace departed friends Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman).
Now, we know what you’re thinking – the casting call asks for a priest, not a maester – but Game of Thrones is known for using misleading details in their casting calls to avoid revealing spoilers, and the robe-wearing, knowledgeable maesters could easily be disguised as men of the cloth in casting. And frankly, this role seems to fit Broadbent so perfectly that we’re pretty sure we’ve called it right on this one.
On the other hand, of course Broadbent might not be playing one of the casting call characters at all, and this could all just be pointless speculation. But hey, we have to pass the time until series 7 somehow…
Game of Thrones will return in mid-2017