Features and Columns · TV

The Little Game of Thrones Spoilers from Natalie Dormer and Ian McShane, Explained

By  · Published on November 17th, 2015

The past week has been rife with tiny little Game of Thrones spoilers. Hints, really. As some of the cast has been out and about promoting other projects, they’ve been poked and prodded by the media into dropping little gems about Thrones season 6. The latest victims of this non-disclosure agreement-busting assault are Ian McShane, one of the newest and most mysterious additions to the cast, and Natalie Dormer, who’s done this song and dance for several seasons.

What they said might seem innocuous and insignificant at first, but when a little bit of book knowledge and careful speculation is applied, it’s pretty easy to extrapolate some thematic goodness about season 6.

Let’s take a look at what they said and what it means. But first our obligatory spoiler warning.


1. Natalie Dormer says that “Cersei is the least of Margaery’s problems.”

Dormer was on The Late, Late Show Monday night promoting The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, where host James Corden seemed more interested in her relationship with Cersei Lannister than Katniss Everdeen. Her little hint about Margaery’s future is interesting because it confirms some of the rumors that it is The Faith Militant that will be the dominant force in her world in the coming season. When we left her in season 5, the young queen was still imprisoned by The Faith for the crime of perjury. Even though Cersei got to take the painfully long walk back to the safety of The Red Keep, the Tyrell girl still has to figure a way out of her predicament. So her greatest problem will be either (a) placating the High Sparrow or (b) proving her innocence. Since we know she’s not innocent and we know that Margaery isn’t stupid, it’s safe to assume that she’ll look to make nice with the High Sparrow. And seeing as he’s not a pubescent boy, she won’t be able to accomplish this in the usual, low-cut dress and batting eyelashes fashion. For Margaery, acceptance of the light of The Seven into her heart might be her only way out. Don’t be surprised if Tommen gets his queen back, only to find her a little bit more radicalized than before.

2. Ian McShane says he’s “responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again.”

No, he’s not resurrecting Jon Snow. Let’s get that out of our system right now.

Ever since he was cast, the speculation around who Ian McShane might play in season 6 has been rampant. Many an attentive Song of Ice and Fire reader also took note of the initial casting call, which included “a man in his 40s or 50s. A gruff ex-soldier who found religion. Now a no-nonsense rural priest who ministers to the poor of the countryside. He’s salt-of-the-earth man who has weathered many battles.” This sounds a lot like Septon Meribold, a character from A Feast for Crows who meets up with Brienne and Prodrick along their travels through the Riverlands (a location we know to be returning in season 6) and brings them to the Quiet Isle. It is there that they meet The Elder Brother, a man who says that he found Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound, dead and buried him. Though in the background, one of the monks of the Quiet Isle is a massive, hulking man who walks with a limp and spits at the first mention of any knights. For a long time, book readers have believed this to be The Hound. Not dead, just a little slower by foot.

McShane also noted in the interview with Pop Goes The News that he’s only in one episode, which further reinforces the notion that he’s playing either Meribold, the Elder Brother, or an amalgam of the two. This is exciting for book readers, as it means a reunion for Brienne and The Hound as well as the possibility that one of the wildest and most entertaining fan theories – that of The Clegane Bowl! – might someday come to fruition.

Let’s pour one out to my old theories being almost certainly correct and to the return of a fan favorite.

Related Topics:

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)