It’s Game of Thrones offseason, which means for the hardcore fans, it’s the time where the most wild, out-there fan theories begins to surface.
Our brains starved of Westerosi oxygen, we cling to the show through overanalysis, madcap ideas and frequent rewatches, in the hope that it can tide us over until the new season finally arrives. This wait will probably be the longest, and definitely be the last.
One theory that has been popular since the Season 7 finale has to do with the Golden Company - a huge army of 10,000 sellswords from Essos, who are expected to make their first appearance in Season 8.
Last season’s finale saw Euron pretend to abandon Cersei at the Dragonpit after seeing a wight for the first time, but in fact it was all a plot, and he is heading to Essos to collect the Golden Company on his Queen’s orders.
Using the money she loaned from the Iron Bank, he will buy their services and bring them to Westeros so that Cersei can use them in the war against Daenerys.
Since this was revealed, fans have been speculating about the leader of the Company, and in particular, whether it could be Daario Naharis, Daenerys’ former lover and trusted sidekick.
If Daario were to have joined the Company, this would put him in direct opposition to Dany - a very awkward position for both of them, I’m sure - but it looks like this theory has been squashed by a new piece of casting information revealed by Game of Thrones fan site Watchers on the Wall.
They report that German actor Marc Rissmann has been cast as Harry Strickland - the leader of the Golden Company in the books - meaning it looks like Daario is remaining faithful to Dany in Meereen, at least for now.
There is still a chance Daario comes over to Westeros as a regular solider in the Company, of course, but at this point we’d say it’s probably unlikely.
According to the original casting notice, Harry Strickland will be in the show for two episodes - which doesn’t seem like much until you remember there are only six left in total.
Marc Rissmann has previously appeared in similar medieval-style dramas, so should be able to fit right in in Game of Thrones. He played the role of Takil in Saxon-based BBC show The Last Kingdom, and a character called Nos in Into the Badlands.
The news of Rissmann’s big role first appeared on his Spotlight CV page, however has since been deleted, probably because HBO are trying to keep an extremely close lock on any Game of Thrones leaks ahead of the final season.
Thankfully, the always diligent Watchers on the Wall managed to get a screenshot confirming the news.
Game of Thrones will return for its eighth and final season - I don’t know - in 2025? Until then, it’s back to the rewatches.