Season 5 of Game Of Thrones isn't even over yet — in fact, there are still three action-packed episodes to go — but fans are already looking ahead to next season. This is only natural; with the current span of episodes expected to catch up to the end of A Dance With Dragons, and author George R.R. Martin not any closer to publishing The Winds Of Winter, Game of Thrones Season 6 is bound to be the first season to go completely off-script. Whereas this season has featured several seismic changes (Sansa marries Ramsay! Tyrion meets Dany!), it's still based on previously established source material. Not so next season... which is exactly why these leaked casting calls are so exciting: they give us our first glimpse into the uncertain future of Westeros. (Obviously, spoilers for both the book and the show to follow!)
The reliable fan site, WatchersOnTheWall.com, has released the first slew of character descriptions HBO is seeking to cast for Season 6. Whereas these descriptions previously came with character names attached, the brass at the network have obviously wised up: these casting calls only come with vague titles like "father" and "priest." But that certainly doesn't mean we can't make some educated guesses as to which book character each casting call is describing.
Head to WatchersOnTheWall.com for the complete list of casting calls, and look below for my two best guesses as to whom each one is referring to.
Probably: Euron "Crow's Eye" Greyjoy. Before Season 5 started, I made a case for Thrones keeping at least some of the Greyjoy plot. It now seems like R'hllor has heard my prayer. Following King Balon's death (remember Melisandre's three leeches?), the ironborn all descend on Pyke for a Kingsmoot to elect their new leader. Euron is Balon's younger brother, who has been sailing the furthest reaches of the globe for years on his black-hulled ship Silence, crewed entirely by slaves whose tongues Euron has ripped out.
After being elected king, Euron takes the ironborn fleet and begins raiding the Reach (the south-westernmost of the Seven Kingdoms, ruled from Highgarden by the Tyrells). He also sends his brother to find and woo Daenerys Targaryen as his bride.
Could be: Victarion Greyjoy. If only one of Balon's three brothers makes the translation from the page to the screen, it could just as easily be the Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet. The only reason I'm leaning away from Victarion is because of the description's mention of "a touch of madness." Madness is pretty exclusively Euron's territory.
Probably: Randyll Tarly. Sam's father is described as both a domineering patriarch and and a superior soldier. Dissatisfied with Samwell as his heir, he threatened his own son with an untimely death unless he gave up his claim and joined the Night's Watch so that his younger, more capable brother could inherit the Tarly title and lands. Randyll is a minor lord pledged to the Tyrells, which would put him in direct conflict with the Greyjoy storyline were Euron to invade the Reach as he does in the books. Also, if Sam heads to Oldtown to replace Aemon as maester as he does in the books, he'll also be close to both his father and the invading ironborn armies.
Could be: Howland Reed. Non-book readers may only know him as the father of Jojen and Meera Reed — even book readers haven't met him yet — but he's often considered a lynchpin in the Song Of Ice And Fire narrative. One of Ned Stark's closest friends, the two men fought alongside each other during Robert's Rebellion. Notably, Howland was the only other person present when Ned found his sister Lyanna dying in the Tower of Joy after being abducted by Rhaegar Targaryen. As such, he's considered to be the only person who could possibly reveal the truth of Jon Snow's parentage. (If you don't know what R+L=J means, now would be a good time to find out.) This would certainly make him "centrally involved" in a protagonist's story.
Mother, Sister, Brother
Probably: Sam's family. We don't know much about his mother or sister, but that description of the brother pretty clearly fits Dickon, the son Randyll picked to be his successor over Sam. I probably would have leaned towards the father being Howland if it wasn't for the inclusion of these three characters. We've already met Howland's only two children, one of whom is dead and the other currently chilling with Hodor while Bran gets his lessons from the one-eyed raven.
Could be: The Martells. This is a bit of a stretch, but there's not really any other significant characters that could possibly fit these descriptions. When the show traveled to Dorne this season, we met Prince Doran's son Trystane. Myrcella's fiancé appears to be the only Martell child on the show, but in the novels he has two older siblings: a brother, Quentyn, and a sister, Arianne. Quentyn is admittedly not very bright (just look at where he ends up), and Arianne's exclusion was a particular sticking point with book fans this season. Perhaps showrunners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss will finally introduce the rest of the Martell clan. (Okay, this is admittedly wishful thinking. Father, Mother, Sister, and Brother are almost definitely the Tarlys.)
Probably: Septon Meribald. In A Feast For Crows, while Brienne and Podrick are scouring the countryside for Sansa Stark, they come across a kindly old septon who gives them shelter for a night. His name is Meribald, and he tells them that he fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings before joining the Faith. (Hence that "ex-soldier" part of the description.) Why is Meribald's inclusion here so exciting? He tells the companions that he discovered a dying Sandor Clegane and comforted him until "the Hound" died. But a popular fan theory holds that there's more to this story that the septon isn't saying. Brienne and Pod glimpse a novice at the monastery who's described as a very large man, wearing a scarf that covers his face. According to the theory, this novice is Sandor himself, who is still very much alive, having been healed by Meribald — and "the Hound" that died was merely the violent aspect of Sandor's personality. The novels have yet to confirm this theory, although Septon Meribald's inclusion on the show certainly hints that we may yet see Sandor Clegane again.
Could be: Aeron "Damphair" Greyjoy. Of course, if the Greyjoy storyline is being reintroduced, then this priest could just as easily be Theon's uncle Aeron, who devoted his life to the Drowned God after a near-death experience during Robert's Rebellion. The age range seems a bit high for Balon's youngest brother, although Aeron certainly wouldn't be the first character aged up for the show. Whether you believe this "Priest" is Meribald or Aeron depends on whether you consider the rocky Iron Islands to be "rural" or "countryside."
Leading Actress, Priestess, Fierce Warrior
Probably: The mummers of The Gate. In an Arya chapter from The Winds Of Winter that Martin released last year, the assassin-in-training has joined up with a troupe of actors at a Braavosi theatre called The Gate, while under the pseudonym "Mercy." During the performance, she catches a glimpse of a face from her past: Raff the Sweetling, who murdered Lommy Greenhands way back in A Clash Of Kings. The chapter ends with Arya assassinating Raff and then returning to her role in the play. These three characters could easily be players in the troupe — the specification of "any" or "mixed" ethnicities certainly points to a setting in the more exotic Essos, rather than the very anglo-centric Westeros.
Could be: The Brotherhood Without Banners. If fans ever hope to see Lady Stoneheart appear on the show, then the writers would first have to reintroduce the band of brigands that she ends up leading. Perhaps these eclectic characters could be used to fill out the ranks of the Brotherhood alongside Thoros of Myr and Anguy the Archer.
A large boy, 12 year old boy, 7 year old boy
Probably: Brandon, Eddard, and Benjen Stark. As we all know, Bran's storyline was put on hold this season due to a dearth of source material. But you can bet your britches that he'll be back in full force next season, and he could bring these three characters into play. In the only un-adapted Bran chapter — his last in A Dance With Dragons — the young Stark boy learns to glimpse the past through weirwood trees. His visions include a young version of his own father, Ned. Could these three boys be Ned and his two brothers, elder Brandon and younger Benjen, in the show's second-ever flashback scene (following the Season 5 opening scene featuring a young Cersei)?
Could be: Edmure Tully, Petyr Baelish, and Brandon Stark. This is another crucial scene of the past that Bran could potentially witness: the duel between young Littlefinger and Brandon Stark. While fostered at Riverrun with the Tully children (Catelyn, Lysa, and Edmure), Petyr fell in love with Bran's mother, who was betrothed to the eldest Stark son. Petyr challenged Catelyn's betrothed, who defeated the ward handily — but Brandon refused to kill his challenger, leaving him alive but humiliated instead. This was a crucial moment that would go on to define Littlefinger's motivations for years to come, which continues to impact the plot of Thrones in the present.
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