afternoon e-mail blast. It’s super-easy, and it’s on the house!
Season 3, when Brienne and Jaime were grimily cavorting around Westeros losing appendages and battling bears, the tall lady warrior became a huge fan favorite. But ever since the show and Jaime sent her packing with shiny new armor, sword, and squire, things haven’t been quite as exciting for the lady from Tarth. Sure, she’s gotten to do something big, bad, and bloody at the end of the last two seasons, dispatching first the Hound (probably) and then Stannis (definitely). But even actress Gwendoline Christie will admit that Brienne rather got the short end of the sword this past season. Witness this good-natured Comic-Con reaction.
pre-season information has been much harder to parse this year. But when you piece together the bits of Season 6 casting news and insider info, it’s starting to look like we won’t have to rely on
to provide us with our Christie fix. Here’s the mounting evidence that
Season 6 will take Brienne of Tarth off the sidelines and into the limelight. There is some book knowledge and plenty of Season 6 behind-the-scenes info here so proceed, as ever, with caution.
Are they gone? Great. Well, the first thing to acknowledge is that while
of the plots in the first five books of George R.R. Martin’s series have been covered, there is still some material ripe for the picking. We already know, for example, that the Greyjoy family struggle—which was such a big part of book four—will finally take place in Season 6. Brace yourselves, rakish, eye-patch-wearing uncles are coming. We also know Sam’s journey to Oldtown—partially covered in book four—will play a big part this year. So if we can return to Greyjoy and Tarly plots from
In the books, Brienne and Pod don’t wander around aimlessly searching for the Stark girls. While they
after Sansa, they have plenty of their own adventures along the way. And I’m not talking about how to avoid frostbite while standing around in the snow for three months.
In a more sedate chapter of their travels, Brienne and Pod encounter a Septon and wind up near a monastery of sorts where they
have a near-brush with the presumed-dead Hound in disguise. We know that actor Rory McCann has been spotted around the
set and a casting call went out for Septon Meribald, so this plot is all but confirmed for Season 6. But Brienne already had her encounter with the Hound (and it was far from sedate) so it’s entirely possible that McCann’s scenes will be opposite someone else. Maybe Jaime, who also winds up in the Riverlands in book four. (More on that later.) But if Brienne misses out nearly re-uniting with the Hound, she has something even more exciting in the cards. Here are even more book spoilers so, once again, proceed with caution.
fans have been meticulously assembling clues that lead to a plum plot for our lady warrior. First of all, there’s the news that several “outlaws” have been cast. Though the character names—Lachlan, Flynn, and Japeth—have no direct book parallels, their description sounds vaguely familiar. According to the casting call, they’re a “a group of renegades who have turned on the land that they swore to protect . . . The group is using religion to justify terrorizing and extorting what they need from the people of the countryside.” As many fans have already noted, this
be a slightly twisted version of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Show watchers originally met that group back in Season 3 when the Brotherhood captured Arya, Gendry, and the Hound. You remember, their leader Beric Dondarrion had that neat flaming sword.
In the books, Beric sacrifices his life to resurrect Catelyn Stark, who takes over the group under the name Lady Stoneheart. The group—which
kind of have a religious angle thanks to Brotherhood member Thoros of Myr—goes from benign protectors to instruments of Lady Stoneheart’s revenge.
Now, listen, I know we’re all a little tired of hearing theories that promise the appearance of Lady Stoneheart. (More on that in a bit.) But a casting call for someone who appears to be the son of Red Wedding mastermind Walder Frey lends a little more credibility to the return of both the Brotherhood and Lady S. Walder Frey actor David Bradley has already confirmed his return and the new character is described as follows:
This is a very good part in this season who appears in three episodes. We need a characterful-looking guy – long nose and skeletal features and perhaps a bit sly – to play a son who is unable to live up to the demands of his savage father. We need a really good actor for this part – he has good scenes with lots of the leading cast. The character has a great storyline. There are no options and this is a one-off opportunity for a good clever actor to come and make his mark on this major hit show.
“No options,” by the way, is code for, “this guy is going to die.” As many have noted, this comes pretty close to fitting the description of book character Merrett Frey. Merrett, son of Walder, meets the business end of a noose after a run-in with Lady Stoneheart and the Brotherhood at the end of book three.
O.K., so we potentially have the Brotherhood and we potentially have Merrett Frey. But could they do that plot without Lady Stoneheart? Well, not really. Stoneheart is the reason the Brotherhood starts targeting Freys in the first place. Plus, there’s this intriguing interview with
[David] Benioff and [Dan] Weiss, when they write the outline each year, for last two years, we got to this one point and we read this one gag and thought “Oh my God, how the hell are we going to do that? But this is going to be incredible!” And then it got pulled and we didn’t do it in Season 4. And then, lo and behold, in Season 5 there it was again. And it’s pulled again! But now, in Season 6, it looks like we’re going to do it. Fingers crossed they won’t chicken out.
fans are tired of hearing about Lady Stoneheart coming back? We’ve been talking about it since the Season 3 finale. It would have made more sense to bring back Catelyn
after the Red Wedding but, hey, that’s what flashbacks are for, right? While there are a few special effects Gower could be referring to here (some people think it’s Ice Spiders!), it’s worth noting that Gower is in charge of
the guy I would call if I wanted to construct a horrifying undead Catelyn Stark whose head is half falling off.
After all, Gower’s one of the guys behind this unforgettable head-related moment.
O.K., so we probably have the Brotherhood, a dead Frey or two, and Lady Stoneheart. (Though this is where we note that Michelle Fairley still denies she’s ever returning to
and is, in fact, currently appearing onstage in London. However, I’m not convinced that’s a deal breaker.) But what does all this have to do with Brienne and Pod? Well, in book four, Brienne and Pod
have a run-in with Stoneheart and the Brotherhood. And, like Merrett before them, they
find themselves on the business end of a noose. Stoneheart, spotting the Lannister armor and sword on Brienne, takes her for a traitor.
The undead Catelyn gives Brienne an impossible choice: to die alongside her squire or to swear her sword to Catelyn and promise to hunt down and kill Jaime Lannister. Though it’s left a bit of a mystery in the books, according to Martin, Brienne shouted out the word “sword!” just in time to save herself and, more importantly, Podrick. This means, presumably, that the honor-bound Brienne will take up her Lannister sword and use it to hunt down her friend (more than friend?) Jaime.
Whether or not Season 6, like book four, ends in a cliff-hanger with Brienne and Pod dangling from a tree, or it includes her book five encounter with the Kingslayer, one thing seems clear: if the Brotherhood, that Frey, and Lady Stoneheart really are coming, then the plot is about to drive Brienne back into the company of Jaime. There’s the deep emotion that’s been missing from Brienne’s plot, which has reduced her from the well-rounded woman she became in Season 3 to something of a grim, Terminator-like figure in Seasons 4 and 5. Gwendoline Christie has done so much with so little the past two seasons (including that incredible monologue about Renly), but it’s about time she got off the bench and back in the game.
For more high-profile interviews, stunning photography, and thought-provoking features,
Guess Which Broadway Musical Rafael Nadal Has Seen About 7 Times
What Happened to Shelly Miscavige, Scientology’s Missing Queen?
The Week in Fashion: When Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora, and Mary-Kate Got a Little Crazy
Stephen Colbert Tracked Down His Childhood Crush for The Late Show
How Game of Thrones Season 6 Is Taking Badass Brienne off the Bench