Game of Thrones: How Harry Strickland and the Golden Company Could Help Cersei in Season 8

Warning: Those who want to enter the final season of Game of Thrones with no knowledge of what’s ahead should read on at their own risk. This article was updated after the Season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.”

Harry Strickland and the Golden Company were finally introduced in Game of Thrones’ Season 8 premiere, and even though they didn’t bring any elephants, they should prove to be very important allies for Cersei Lannister. (Read all about Game of Thrones’ Golden Company here.)

Last season Cersei said her Hand Qyburn had been making “overtures” to the Golden Company, and in the Season 7 finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” Euron Greyjoy was on his way to Essos to bring the Golden Company back to Westeros in order to fight with Cersei’s army.

Harry Strickland is played by German actor Marc Rissmann, who has appeared on The Last Kingdom and Into the Badlands. The way he’s portrayed on the show doesn’t line up with the physical description of Harry Strickland in the books, where he’s described as balding and portly, but Game of Thrones has retrofitted characters’ appearances before. He looks pretty un-balding and un-portly here!

While HBO is tight-lipped about casting details around Game of Thrones, reports surrounding Rissmann’s casting last fall indicated that he would appear in two episodes of Season 8’s six-episode season. So a third of the season, which is pretty good considering how many character are going to be vying for screen time for the show’s final go-around.

An exiled knight of House Strickland, Harry is — according to George R.R. Martin’s books — also known as “Homeless Harry Strickland.” The leader of the mercenary group the Golden Company, he was actually raised with the company, as were his father and grandfather before him after his great-grandfather lost his lands in the First Blackfyre Rebellion. In A Dance with Dragons, Harry and the Golden Company meet with Jon Connington and Aegon Targaryen, and he is regarded as a coward by Connington.

Chances are that the show is going to mix and mash some book characters to make this version of Harry Strickland. Since Game of Thrones skipped over the JonCon and Aegon storylines from Martin’s novels, it could be that Harry gets a personality makeover since there doesn’t seem to be room for the same amount of inter-Golden Company drama in the show as there was in A Dance With Dragons.

As for what the introduction of Harry Strickland means for Cersei Lannister and her attempt to defend the throne (assuming this is in fact the Golden Company), in last season’s “The Spoils of War,” Daenerys Targaryen used Drogon to wipe out a huge chunk of the Lannister army. Meanwhile, all the way back in Season 4, Davos suggested that Stannis hire the company of mercenaries, saying they were 10,000 strong and some of the most skilled fighters in the land. That didn’t happen (though in retrospect, perhaps Stannis should’ve taken Davos’ advice!). So Cersei’s hiring the Golden Company is what she needs to do at this point to bring the fight back to Daenerys. (Interestingly, hiring sellswords is one of the ways Daenerys became a power player herself.)

For more on Game of Thrones Season 8, read all about the Golden Company or get the lowdown on every character confirmed for the Battle of Winterfell.

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