els bastards

A game of guessing

Everything surrounding the filming of Game of Thrones is cloaked in secrecy. That is even more the case now that the TV series has caught up with the books it is based on, by George R.R. Martin. With filming for the sixth series about to begin, the focus has been on casting (and not just for extras, which attracted large numbers in the summer in Girona). Yet, despite the secrecy, news about who we might see in key roles next year are starting to leak out. For example, the website Watchers on the Wall, has a number of potential outcomes for the coming season, albeit without much in the way of confirmation from HBO.

First is the role described as a notorious pirate, who must be the aspirant to the crown of the Iron Islands, and uncle to Theon and Asha Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy. A ruthless and ambitious seafarer, we are likely to see plenty of Euron given the absence of the Iron Island storyline in the previous season.

A character that has been mentioned on a number of occasions but whom we still have not laid eyes on is Randyll Tarly. A fine military commander in the service of the Tyrells, Tarly is Sam's father, who sent his son to the Wall out of frustration over his overweight progeny's lack of martial skills. Between 50 and 60, Tarly puts military discipline before everything , including his family. In fact, it seems we will meet all of Sam's family, as Jon's friend makes his way south to study as a maester. Also cast is a 50-year-ol mother, jolly and overweight (like her son?), as well as a kindly sister and a 20-year-old warrior brother (Dickon?) who is the apple of his father's eye (unlike poor Sam).

Many book readers were disappointed with last season's skipping of significant happenings in the war-torn Riverlands (the area of Westeros controlled by the Tully family). Yet, a call for a soldier turned religious man can only be Septon Meribald, who roams the Riverlands helping the poor and, in the books at least, acts as a guide for a couple of the story's main characters.

On the subject of religion, there was also a call for a beautiful priestess in the style of Melisandre likely to be a female version of the red priest, Benerro, who Tyrion comes across in Volantis, preaching in favour of Daenerys Targaryen.

So far, Game of Thrones has avoided flashbacks, but that looks to change for next season. The casting call included three 10 to 12-year-old children fitting the description of a young Ned Stark and his brothers, Brandon and Benjen.

The directors

While information about actors is scanty, the list of directors was confirmed by HBO in summer. Three of the five names announced are series veterans, with two newcomers. Each director will be in charge of two episodes.

Opening the season will be Jeremy Podeswa (The Tudors, Boardwalk Empire), back for his second stint with the series. Daniel Sackheim (X Files, House, The Americans) will then pick up the baton, to be followed a big name in Jack Bender (Lost). Mark Mylod (Shameless and Entourage) also returns for episodes 7 and 8. Finally, Miguel Sapochnik brings the season to a close. Sapochnik directed the vaunted Hardhome episode last season that included a spectacular battle with the Whitewalkers.

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