Not even the great Ian McKellen has as much nerd clout as Max von Sydow has at this point. Following the iconic Swedish actor and frequent Ingmar Bergman collaborator’s casting in J.J. Abrams‘s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, HBO announced today that von Sydow has been cast in Game of Thrones Season 6 in a major role that fans of George R.R. Martin‘s tomes will be very familiar with. What’s his character, you ask? None other than the Three-Eyed Raven, the mystical and powerful mentor to Bran Stark, who will return in a big way for the upcoming, insanely anticipated Season 6. No fair spilling the beans as to what the character will have in store for Bran and the whole of Westeros as the White Walkers continue their long march into the lands, but its fair enough to say that they picked the right stately yet effortlessly forceful presence to embody the Three-Eyed Raven.
This, of course, follows the news that Ian McShane, of Deadwood and, more recently, Ray Donovan fame, has also been cast in a major role in Game of Thrones, though his character is far more mysterious and could possibly be a creation of the series rather than Martin. Some rumors have suggested that McShane may play the Mad King in flashbacks but these are baseless to say the least, as exciting as that prospect might be. Regardless, these two names add quite a lot of legitimacy to a series denoted largely by its rampant cursing, extensive and occasionally egregious violence, rape, and fire-breathing dragons that answer to an admittedly pretty intimidating white lady.