Ian McShane Joins The Cast Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 6

There was big casting news in the world of ice and fire that is Game of Thrones this week. Entertainment Weekly reports that Emmy-winning actor Ian McShane is Westeros bound in the sixth season of HBO’s blockbuster drama.

Details about the sixth season of Game of Thrones have been unusually hard to come by as the series officially overtook its source material A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin at the end of the fifth season. According to Entertainment Weekly, McShane will have a relatively small amount of screen time, though the character is described as playing a key role in the narrative of Game of Thrones Season 6.

Of course, even that small amount of information hasn’t stopped the notoriously loyal and information-hungry fans of Game of Thrones from speculating on just who Ian McShane’s character might be. The current prevailing theory is that McShane will play Randyll Tarly, the father of fan favorite Samwell Tarly.

Fansite Winter Is Coming published several casting rumors in June, including one for a character named Father.

“Aged 50’s to 60’s, he’s one of the greatest soldiers in Westeros- a humorless martinet, severe and intimidating. He demands martial discipline in the field and in his home. It’s described as “a very good part” for next year and that he’s “centrally involved” in a protagonist’s storyline.”

Though Samwell Tarly has mentioned his father several times over the five seasons of Game of Thrones, he has so far not been depicted on the show. So how could Lord Randyll enter Game of Thrones?

When Season 5 of Game of Thrones ended, Sam and Gilly departed the Wall on the orders of Lord Commander Jon Snow. A quick look at a map of Westeros suggests that Sam and Gilly’s journey to Oldtown may end, at least temporarily, with a stop in Horn Hill, Sam’s childhood home and the seat of his father.

Another possibility involves the Tyrell family, specifically Margery Tyrell. When Queen Margery was last seen in Game of Thrones, she was a prisoner of the faith militant thanks to the manipulations of Cersei Lannister. Cersei earned her freedom with the controversial nude walk of penance in “Mother’s Mercy,” the final episode of Game of Thrones Season 5, but the fate of Margery and her brother, Loras, was never touched on. That will undoubtedly change in Season 6, and if McShane is Randyll Tarly, he is likely the instrument of her freedom. In A Dance with Dragons, Randyll Tarly secures the release of Margery Tyrell by swearing a holy oath that he will return her to the High Septon for trial.

All of this is pure speculation, and with the amount of secrecy surrounding next season, don’t expect confirmation of McShane’s role in Game of Thrones until its premiere in April 2016.

[Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]