It seems like only yesterday we found out about Ian McShane’s casting, and now Game of Thrones has another thespian surprise for us. Per Entertainment Weekly, Max von Sydow has joined the show’s sixth season…in fact, he’s already on set and filming! The actor will be playing the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran’s spirit guide and mentor, for a small but significant amount of time. (EW notes that both McShane and von Sydow are not expected to have a great deal of screentime, but will nonetheless have significant roles to play. Von Sydow takes over the role of the Three-Eyed Raven from Struan Rodger, who portrayed the character in season 4 (on-screen in “The Children” and uncredited voice-over in “The Lion and the Rose”).
We don’t actually know much about the Three-Eyed Raven; as with the show leaving off Bran’s story at the end of Season 4, A Dance With Dragons also ends with Team Bran arriving at their destination and meeting the mysterious magical figure for the first time. But the idea of the character having a small but significant role to play might be important. Does it mean a sinister end for Bran? Or perhaps the Three-Eyed Raven will expire early, leaving Bran to become one with the the weirwood trees?
Whatever the case may be, Max von Sydow is sure to bring an epic quality to the character. His acting credentials are extensive; they include The Exorcist, Minority Report, Dune, Conan the Barbarian, Judge Dredd, and Shutter Island. (That’s one hell of a list of films.) He’s also the second Game of Thrones actor who will be appearing in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII — The Force Awakens. How fitting, since he’ll more or less be playing Obi-Wan to Bran’s Luke. We hope. Personally, I’m still open to Bran being more of an Anakin. Time—and The Winds of Winter—will tell.