Game of Thrones Season 5 Rumors: To Griff or not to Griff

We are just a couple of weeks away from the Season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones. The hype is building each day, as interviews, red carpet affairs, photo-ops, and new teasers are spreading across the the Internet like wildfire across Blackwater Bay. There have also been plenty of rumors, some of which are too juicy not to discuss.

What follows, after the jump, are possible huge SPOILERS for those who’ve not read the books. This is your warning, Unsullied, heed it well and enter at your own risk.

One of the more out-there rumors has it that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are hiding a secret storyline involving a character known in the ASOIAF message boards as False Aegon. False Aegon and his protector are known as Griff and Young Griff, and their story, in A Dance with Dragons, is strongly linked to Tyrion’s journey in Essos, and the overall battle for the Iron Throne in Westeros.

A Redditor known as TownIdiot25 recently posted Game of Thrones Wiki links to two actors (Alan McKee and Matt McArdle), cast for Season 5 in unspecified roles. It was posited, in the thread, that these two actors will be portraying Griff and Young Griff. Of course, this is a huge stretch, and as rumors go, this is pretty out there, but let’s take a look at who the Griffs are, and if these actors could actually fit those roles.

Jon Connington art credit TheMico

Before he became Griff, Jon Connington was the Lord of Griffin’s Roost, and the head of House Connington. As Griff, he had to dye his hair blue, to hide the trademark Connington red hair. At one point during the War of the Usurper, Connington was appointed Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen, aka the Mad King.

He was one of a very few select people who could be counted as a close friend and adviser to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. King Aerys, Rhaegar’s father, tasked Connington with killing Robert Baratheon. He failed, and fled across the Narrow Sea in self-imposed exile. There, he took the name Griff and joined the Golden Company, a mercenary band. In order to keep his identity a secret, and as part of a much larger plot to bring the Targaryens back into power, he spread a rumor that he had drank himself to death.

Young Griff, meanwhile, is the supposed son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. During the sacking of King’s Landing by the forces of House Lannister, the infant Aegon was swapped with another infant that Varys bought from a tanner for a jug of Arbor Gold, and was supposedly smuggled safely across the Narrow Sea and given into the care of Prince Rhaegar’s closest friend, Jon Connninton, now going by the name Griff.

Young Griff art credit by Enife

Connington raised Aegon as his own son, calling him Young Griff. He dyed both his and Aegon’s hair blue, hired a boat named the Shy Maid, and ensured that Young Griff was trained in the ways of Westerosi customs. He has a Septa to teach him the Faith of the Seven, a man who was almost a Maester of the Citadel to educate him, and a man named Ser Rolly Duckfield, who helped to train him as a knight.

Tyrion is introduced to this crew and travels with them on the way to Volantis, where he is eventually captured by Ser Jorah Mormont in his fervor to regain the trust and favor of Daenerys Targaryen.

We know, thanks to pictures of the filming of Season 5, that Tyrion meets Daenerys and travels there with Varys, which is a major departure from the books. It has been widely rumored and  accepted that the Griffs’ storyline has been cut from Season 5, because Benioff and Weiss do not feel the need to introduce another possible Targaryen into the show…but there has been no confirmation of their exclusion, either.

And then there is this little nugget from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who specifically called out book readers, and called it a spoiler.

Young Griff’s Master-at-arms is Ser Rolly Duckfield. Rolly was knighted by Griff, and he chose Duckfield because he was in a field where ducks had been gathering, when he was knighted. This earned him the nickname, Duck.

Now we have Coster-Waldau holding up a duck and telling book readers that it’s a spoiler, and to think about it, and thanks to these two actors being announced as unspecified roles in Season 5, the rumor mill is churning faster than ever. Could the Griffs have been sneakily inserted into this season? I remain skeptical, but that’s what’s fun about rumors. Let’s speculate away.

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