Episode 5 of HBO’s Game of Thrones was a huge spectacle as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) battled it out for the iron throne. However, fans are wondering about one character who appeared in this episode: Harry Strickland (Marc Rissmann). Who is he and how does this character differ from the books series on which Game of Thrones is based?
SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses Episode 5, titled “The Bells,” of HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 8. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed this episode and wish to avoid spoilers.
In Game of Thrones, the Golden Company was the answer to Cersei’s dilemma regarding the necessity for an army to match the size of the one that Daenerys had amassed. Reputed to honor their contracts and to employ war elephants, Cersei was suitably impressed — although, equally as unimpressed when the elephants were a no-show. As Entertainment Weekly points out, the employment of the Golden Company was a good strategic move from Cersei as they are considered to be the “most famous mercenary company in the world of Game of Thrones.” Leading the Golden Company was Harry Strickland, a dashing character who oozed reliability regarding the conflict to come.
However, in one fell swoop, Daenerys Targaryen and her dragon, Drogon, made light work of Harry Strickland and his Golden Company in Episode 5 of Game of Thrones Season 8.
But, how does Harry Strickland and the Golden Company play out in the book series that Game of Thrones is based on?
As Hollywood Life points out, in the books, it has been revealed that the Golden Company was founded by Aegor “Bittersteel” Rivers, who was a Targaryen bastard. Fleeing to the Free Cities, Aegor then created the sellsword company. Two of Daenerys’ advisors, Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glenn) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman), have also previously fought with the Golden Company.
In the book series on which Game of Thrones is based, events have not reached the point currently seen on TV. The Golden Company is currently in the employ of a man claiming to be Aegon Targaryen, according to Entertainment Weekly. This Aegon, who isn’t Jon Snow but another man, hires the Golden Company as he aims to invade Westeros. Whether or not he is a Targaryen remains to be seen. However, many book fans believe he is not, despite the stories he had been told about his parentage.
In the books, Harry Strickland is not particularly liked by Aegon’s surrogate father, Lord Jon Connington. Regardless of Connington’s misgivings about the leader of the Golden Company, Strickland leads an invasion and Connington’s ancestral home of Griffin’s Roost is taken by the army. Also, in a preview of George R. R. Martin’s next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Golden Company, by the employ of Aegon, also take the Baratheon stronghold of Storm’s End. In the TV series, Daenerys has just gifted this location to Genry (Joe Dempsie).
As for whether or not the book series will follow the TV show in having Harry Strickland and the Golden Company employed by the Lannisters against Daenerys, remains to be seen.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones returns to HBO with Episode 6, the series finale, on Sunday, May 19, at 9 p.m. ET.