Game of Thrones casting director Nina Gold has a knack for matching the right actors to the right roles, whether it’s career-defining performances from the likes of Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke to spotlight-stealing minor parts likes Ian McShane as Brother Ray and Bella Ramsay as Lyanna Mormont. There’s nobody better than Gold.
And she’s continued to ply her trade in season 8, as a host of new characters join the fray. We don’t expect most of these characters to be in important, but everyone has a role to play in the game of thrones. Let’s go over the new faces we’ll see in the show’s final six episodes.
Casting news began swirling back in 2017 with reports of a call for two young actors: a Northern girl from a family of soldiers and a boy from a poor background.
- Northern Girl. This character is 8-10 years old, was brought up in a family of soldiers, and displays “dauntlessness and integrity.” The role is said to be “very nice stand-out part for a strong-minded young girl with a fighting spirit.”
The girl sounds more than a little like Lyanna Mormont. Might she be a Bear Islander? Whoever she is, we think she’ll be be played young actress Bronte Carmichael, who recently joined the cast as a character named “Martha.”
- Boy. This character is 8-12 years old, physically fit, and comes from a poor background; kid had to fight to carve out a place for himself in the world. The actor needs to “completely own the scenes that he appears in.” Note that that’s ‘scenes’ with an ‘s’. This character will appear more than once.
- Sad-eyed young girl. This actress needs to be between the ages of 9 and 11, have a neutral southern accent, and will share “one excellent scene with a leading cast member.”
We don’t recognize the descriptions of the boy or sad-eyed young girl from the books, but it sounds like they’ll both pull focus in their scenes.
There are more child actors to come:
- Young mother. Aged 25 to 30. She’s poor, and is in “a survival situation.” The casting department wants someone who knows how to improvise.
- Daughter of the young mother. This is a part for twins, and the girls should be aged 5-8. She’s slated to appear in multiple scenes over the course of one episode.
What kind of “survival situation” are we talking about? White Walkers? Dragons? White Walker dragons? Stay tuned.
Okay, let’s leave behind the children. Here’s a trio of roles we can make educated guess about:
- Danielle Galligan (Strangers in the Park) has been cast as a character named Sarra. The only Sarra from the books is Sarra Frey, a granddaughter of Walder Frey.
- Alice Nokes (Eastenders) has been cast as Willa, a character who sounds suspiciously like “Walder.” We know he has a habit of giving his children grandchildren variants on his own name.
- Emer McDaid is cast in an unspecified role.
At one point, Galligan, Nokes and McDaid were all spotted hanging out together, leading us to believe that they share a scene. Given the Frey connection, are they the women who are ruling the now that Arya Stark has wiped out all the men from that house?
We’ve been light on characters from the Song of Ice and Fire books so far. We do know of one who will show up, though:
- German actor Marc Rissmann (The Last Kingdom) has joined the cast as Harry Strickland, the leader of the Golden Company. Remember: it was revealed in the season 7 finale that Cersei sent Euron Greyjoy across the Narrow Sea to fetch back the Golden Company to Westeros. Strickland appears in the books, although we don’t know how closely his onscreen self will match what’s on the page.
And now, a long list of guards, sailors, villagers, and what have you:
- Mercenary. Aged 35-50. This guy is “an authoritative, fit, cool and charismatic military type.” He needs to to be able to ride a horse and will appear in two episodes of season 8. It sounds like a member of the Golden Company to us.
- Northern farmer. Aged 25 – 35. This guy is a “straightforward honest man of simple tastes.”
- Sassy and attractive girl. Aged 18 – 25. This is another small Northern role; she’ll play opposite leading cast members in a “memorable” scene.
- Northern sentry. Aged 18 – 25. This is another role with scenes opposite leading cast members. HBO wants “a characterful young Northern actor with great timing.” He’ll be played by Frank Blake (The Frankenstein Chronicles).
- Sailor. Aged 35- 50. “He’s a rough-and-ready sea-faring type with a weathered face and strong presence.” He could be a member of the Golden Company, or an Ironborn.
- Guard #1. A physically fit 20-something who’s good in a fight.
- Guard #2. A tall, athletic 30-something. He’s professional, dependable and has one line opposite leading cast members.
- Military Guard. The actor can be aged anywhere from 25-35 and can be of any ethnicity. The show wants a “fit and agile excellent actor with a good distinctive face,” someone who “can handle himself in a fight.”
- Male soldier. Aged 30-40, HBO wants a “physically intense performance from a strapping squaddie type.” He’ll need to have combat skills, so expect to see him in an action scene.
- Village girl. Aged 18-25. this character will be attacked in an “intense” scene requiring her to be naked above the waist.
- Clean-shaven grieving man. Aged 30-40. This actor will film an emotional scene, but HBO doesn’t want him to go over the top.
Finally, there’s this interesting mix:
- Group of five characters. These actors will be in a scene where they’re “haggling over land.” They will need to use improvisational skills.
Remember that the production also wanted the actor playing the “young mother” to be able to improvise, too. Game of Thrones is an exactingly scripted show, so it’s interesting to see so much call for this kind of thing.
Game of Thrones season 8 is scheduled to film through June of this year, so we could hear aobut yet more new faces. But it’s clear the producers aren’t slacking on introducing new people just because the show is close to over.