The war for the soul of Westeros has begun with the announcement of the first major casting for Game of Thrones Season 7. Much like in seasons past with the additions of Ciaran Hinds and Ian McShane (R.I.P. to both characters), HBO has brought on another celebrated actor in the form of Jim Broadbent, an Oscar winner for 2001’s Iris and films like Gangs of New York, Cloud Atlas, and even that Legend of Tarzan movie.
He also continues the grand tradition of Game of Thrones casting Harry Potter actors. Natalie Tena (Osha) played Nymphadora Tonks, Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) played Hermione’s obliviated mom, David Bradley (Walder Frey) played Mr. Filch, and Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle) voiced the giant spider (a.k.a. acromantula) Aragog, to name a few.
EW was the first to report this latest casting, though the magazine didn’t reveal whom Broadbent will play aside from his “significant” role. That said, there’s already a solid theory out in the air. Many on Reddit believe him to be playing a maester, perhaps an archmaester, and it makes sense for where we are in Game of Thrones. Sam (John Bradley-West) arrived at the Citadel in Oldtown last season that marks where maesters-in-training go to study.
It should be noted that, when McShane was cast in Game of Thrones, the announcement referred to his role as one “of key importance,” which turned out to be over by the end of his episode debut. Another example is Richard E. Grant, a celebrated actor who featured in the background as one of the members of the acting troupe with which Arya becomes infatuated. This isn’t to say Broadbent’s role can’t be a game-changer, though. Max von Sydow played the Three-Eyed Raven, after all–though that too was short-lived. Just know you’ve been warned.
We’ll have plenty of time to ponder his identity, regardless, as Game of Thrones Season 7 is getting a later production start and subsequent premiere.