Five uncast characters we’re concerned about for Season 5


As Season 5 draws near, we here at Winter is Coming are going to be taking a look at our favorite, most anticipated, and most concerning parts of Game of Thrones. First up: the five most important characters from A Dance with Dragons and A Feast for Crows that we haven’t heard anything about yet—and whether that’s something we should worry about. It’ll be spoiler-free initially, but that won’t last….

5. Arianne Martell

In the novels, Arianne is Doran Martell’s oldest child, and under Dorne’s succession laws that have women and men as equals, she stands to inherit Dorne. However, her father’s odd behavior regarding her inheritance and her marriage pushes her all the way into the Game of Thrones, leading to the main storyline in the Dornish sections of A Feast for Crows. She’s important, she’s sexy, and she’s smart, so it’s rather shocking that HBO didn’t cast her.

So what’s going on instead?

HBO has seemed quite happy to announce the casting of Oberyn Martell’s daughters, the Sand Snakes, and is definitely keeping Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) around. This, plus the change in the story to have Jaime Lannister and Bronn go to Dorne instead of random Kingsguard from the novels, suggests that the Dorne story is going to be almost totally remixed. That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing, as it could feel like a distraction from the main events in the novels with none of the previous book’s major characters around. Still, the lack of Arianne is a sacrifice—in the world of Westeros, a woman who expects to and has been trained to wield power as the head of her household is relatively rare. Fingers crossed the change will be worth it.

4. Euron Greyjoy

Like the Martells, the Greyjoys are suprisingly prominent members of A Feast for Crows, but according to Entertainment Weekly, they’re not being added to Season 5. Three of Balon’s brothers (and Theon’s uncles) are major characters in the novels, but only one is really important: Euron Crow’s Eye (the others are Victarion and Aeron). Exiled from the Iron Islands, feared by all who remain, Euron has been traveling the world accumulating power—inclduing magical items that may change the balance of power in Westeros.

His role in the novels is primarily to set up one of the major battles that’s coming in The Winds of Winter. But until that’s actually on the page, it’s hard to complain too much that the political maneuverings of the Greyjoy family is being kept off the screen. If Euron and his brothers, or some equivalent, are still uncast in Season 6, there may be major cause for concern, but for now, this is probably fine.

Here’s where the spoilers start!

3. Wyman Manderly

One the impending major battles is a confrontation in the North, between Stannis and Stark loyalists and Bolton forces. Crucial to that is Lord Wyman Manderly, a savvy political operator paying lip service to the Boltons while working to return the Starks to power. He’s a great character involved in a great plotline—so where’s the news of his casting?

There are two possible explanations. First, we’ve barely heard anything from filming in the North. Unlike King’s Landing or Dorne, filming for that region of Westeros takes place primarily in remote or indoor locations, which are much easier to manage than the cities of Dubrovnik or Sevilla. So it is conceivably possible that Wyman has been quietly cast for a couple episodes—or the storyline in the North hasn’t moved far enough that he’ll be needed until next season.

The alternative is a little less fun. The situation in the North has been one of the hardest-hit in the transition from page to screen, particularly in Season 2, where the delicate political dance Bran and Maester Luwin engaged before Theon’s invasion turned into, well, almost nothing. Manderly himself, in fact, appeared in this eliminated section of the novels. So it’s entirely possible that the intricacies of the Game in the North have been cut, once again, for something simpler and more straightforward. This would be disappointing, if at least partially understandable.

2. Quentyn Martell

Just kidding! Nobody’s concerned about Quentyn remaining uncast.


2. Young Griff

Both books 4 and 5 were partial disappointments to me because, unlike the first three in the series, they seemed to build toward climaxes that didn’t come—the two aforementioned battles. But I did like A Dance with Dragons more, in large part because it managed to pull off a superb twist, one that made sense, helped me understand major characters more, and totally changed the dynamic of the story: the heritage of the character known as “Young Griff.”

Young Griff is Varys’ ace in the hole: he’s believed to be Rhaegar Targaryen’s son Aegon, which would make him the rightful heir to the throne. He’s the manifestation of a lot of fascinating ideas: Varys’ Plato’s Republic-style philosophy of a wise king, raised to do a single job and do it well. He’s the manifestion of the Free Cities’ involvement in the War of the Five Kings. He’s a dynamic that totally changes an overall political situation that may have become relatively stagnant post-Red Wedding.

Yet neither he nor Regular Griff—former Hand Jon Connington—have been announced as cast, even though they’re both encountered by Tyrion before he arrives in Meereen, which we already know will happen in Season 5. I would be shocked and unhappy if the Griffs didn’t appear in the show at all—they seem far too important to the narrative to leave out. My guess (and hope) is that we’ll see something like what happened to Ramsay Snow, where his big reveal is shifted back a season.

1. Lady Stoneheart

Okay, sure, the “casting” isn’t the issue here. But the continuing lack of any indication of the appearance of Lady Stoneheart and reappearance of the Brotherhood Without Banners remains one of the show’s most bizarre decisions. The appearance of Lady Stoneheart lends a brutal counterbalance to the Red Wedding; the implication that justice, as violent and nasty as it may be, will be served. The ideal time for this would have been the end of Season 3, to counter three years of Lannister victories. Season 4—where she appeared in the novels—also would have worked, and it could have helped set up the story in the Riverlands for Season 5. But we’ve seen almost no indication that the Riverlands will even have a story next season.

It’s especially odd because the resurrection of Catelyn Stark is one of the novels’ strongest indications that the Red God has a specific plan, that Beric Dondarrion was resurrected specifically to bring Lady Stoneheart into the world. The show has, if anything, played this part of the story up, especially with Melisandre’s apparent influence over the deaths of the kings opposed to Stannis.

Could Stoneheart’s part of the story be replaced? The role doesn’t have to be played by Cat Stark—both the Blackfish and Talisa were at the Red Wedding, after all, if their actors are more available than Michelle Fairley. Or, given that we have no real idea what the characters who got left in the Vale are going to be doing, there may be a Dorne-style remix. Regardless—we haven’t seen any definitive word that Lady Stoneheart is coming in Season 5, and this may be the last season where she’ll have the emotional impact should have earlier.

Next: What will be the climax of Season 5?