I’m sure you’ve all heard the news about Ian McShane joining Game of Thrones that I wasn’t around to write up yesterday because occasionally real life drags me away from the internet on weekends. It’s terrible and I apologize profusely for that. But! Ian McShane is joining Game of Thrones! We’re all excited about this, right? Right. So let’s get to the fun bits; speculating wildly on who he’s going to be playing next season. For show viewers who don’t want to be treated to in-depth discussions of characters you haven’t met yet, here is your exit point. Here there be spoilers.
My immediate thought was that McShane would be perfect growling “What is dead may never die” but that leaves open the possibility of WHICH Greyjoy he’d be playing. I suspect they’re going to condense those characters a bit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Crow’s Eye and Victarion are rolled up into one scary, smart, pirating bad-ass that would be perfect for McShane. Perhaps that’s why Balon is still alive, to set up conflict between one brother we kind of know (“wait, who’s that guy that looks like the old Frey dude but isn’t?”) and a new brother instead of two new brothers.
Other possibilities based on casting notices and internet rumors include Randyll Tarly, Sam’s father, and Arthur Dayne. It says that McShane’s role has a small amount of screen time but is of key importance, and that would fit with the Tower of Joy backstory. Then again, given how many characters we’ve got now, I think ALL of them will have “a small amount of screen time” unless they’ve been around since season 1. I think McShane is a bit old to play Sam’s father, and our information on Arthur Dayne is just that he was a legendary knight who was killed at the Tower of Joy. Given what we’ve seen from Jorah and Barristan, McShane wouldn’t be out of place as a well-seasoned knight making his last stand. (Also, the actors all have the first name “Ian/Iain” so there’d be a nice symmetry there.)
That’s all I’ve got. Your turn.