The end is nigh for Game of Thrones, with the eighth and final season only months away from debuting on HBO. Season 8 will be comprised of a mere six episodes, so the odds are that the show will pack a lot into each remaining installment. Well, a cast list for the Season 8 premiere has seemingly leaked, and it includes some names you would totally expect as well as some surprises. Take a look!
Obviously it's no surprise to see the names of the actors playing the Lannisters, the Starks, Dany, and the key figures in their various camps in the Season 8 premiere. The two biggest twist inclusions on the list are none other than Tobias Menzies and Lino Facioli.
Tobias Menzies plays the unfortunate Edmure Tully, who was the groom at the Red Wedding and lived in wedded bliss just long enough to father a child before he learned of the massacre. After being coerced into surrendering River River (and resulting in a big death), Edmure was thrown into a cell by his father-in-law, Walder Frey.
Edmure was last seen in Season 6, and the show didn't mention his state after Arya exacted her revenge for the Red Wedding by ending House Frey. Edmure is presumably still somebody's captive, as Arya likely would have sprung him if she'd found him, and it would have been unfortunate if his fate was to starve to death because his niece killed his captors but didn't think to check the dungeon for any prisoners.
Assuming the cast list (via Watchers on the Wall) is accurate, what will bring Edmure back into the Frey-less fray? Tobias Menzies stated back in March 2018 that he had no idea what happened to Edmure and that he'd "not heard anything from them," opining that the show has "so many stories to tie up" that Edmure's might not be resolved. Is it possible that he was simply covering up the truth, as actors like Kit Harington had to do for so long?
Perhaps. Alternately, Edmure could simply have a small scene to establish where he is and what he's been up to. If he's been in Lannister custody, he might suffer Cersei's wrath. Jaime arguably could be motivated to want to liberate him after coercing him to surrender Riverrun, but I doubt that Tobias Menzies could be on board in a significant capacity without news leaking way before this. My money is on a quick scene to confirm his fate and whereabouts before Thrones jumps back into the main action.
Now, onto the other big surprise of the cast list: Lino Facioli.
Lino Facioli has had a small but memorable role in Game of Thrones, largely thanks to how he made a debut. Facioli first appeared as Robin Arryn when Catelyn brought Tyrion to the Eyrie in Season 1. Catelyn was shocked to discover Lysa breastfeeding her way-too-old son on her lap in full view of the Eyrie court. It was a scene so disturbing that even Nikolaj Coster-Waldau -- who has played his fair share of disturbing scenes as Jaime Lannister -- was uncomfortable.
Robin also hasn't appeared on Game of Thrones since Season 6, when he sent his armies along with Littlefinger to the North to help Sansa, in a move that would be instrumental in the Stark victory at the Battle of the Bastards. Fortunately for everybody (except perhaps for Lord Yohn Royce and Co.), Robin remained safe at Runsetone rather than travel North. Now, what will bring Robin back in Season 8?
Well, we can probably rule out anybody bringing him in as a strategist, and most of his forces may still be with Sansa anyway. He may be in for some turmoil, however, given that Season 7 saw the execution of Littlefinger at Winterfell. Will Robin side with his beloved cousin Sansa, or will he want to make Sansa "fly" for allowing his Uncle Petyr to be killed? The last thing any of the remaining Seven Kingdoms needs is the Vale causing a mess courtesy of Robin.
All things considered, I'm not expecting Robin to play much more of a role than Edmure in Season 8, although he is the last of the Arryn line. Rupert Vansittart, who plays Yohn Royce, is also listed as part of the Season 8 premiere cast, so I'd say the odds are pretty good that Robin will appear in a scene at Runestone, where he's been staying with Yohn.
Could the fighting from the North or the South somehow reach them there? Or will Robin simply receive news there? Is Robin Arryn destined to sit the Iron Throne at the end of the series, as the member of a noble family who has been consistently overlooked?
I'd say probably not on that last one, and not just because I'm still holding out for democracy to emerge at the end of the series rather than a new person on the Iron Throne. Robin Arryn shouldn't be in charge of much more than his own wardrobe. Dany and Jon are likely picking up every ally they can get, however, and the forces of the Vale will almost certainly look pretty good to them since The Wall has fallen.
Or could Cersei win Robin to her side? Robin is an Arryn with every reason to hate the Lannisters, and he's being fostered with a family loyal to House Arryn and House Stark, but... this is Robin we're talking about. Yohn Royce may want to keep a close eye on the kid. Although Cersei may be in the South with The Mountain/Ser Robert Strong and Qyburn (as seen in the cast list), I wouldn't put anything past her.
Other cast members who may not be altogether expected are Kristofer Hivju and Richard Dormer, who play Tormund and Beric Dondarrion, respectively. Both men were present at The Wall when the Night King and undead Viserion took down the long-standing barrier; given that Season 7 doesn't sound like it picks up precisely where Season 8 left off, it's likely safe to say that both men survived the fall.
Gendry will be in the mix as well, based on Joe Dempsey's presence on the list. Will fans finally get the reunion with Arya? Lyanna Mormont and Maester Wolkan will be back with actors Bella Ramsey and Richard Rycroft.
Additionally, Megan Parkinson and Harry Grasby will appear as Alys Karstark and Ned Umber; given the likely locations of Alys and Ned, their first appearance in Season 8 may also be their last. They're the rulers of Karhold and Last Hearth, respectively, and those are two places in the North likely to be overrun by the dead long before they make it as far as Winterfell.
All of this said, the cast list is neither officially confirmed nor technically final. We'll have to wait until Season 8 finally premieres after more than a year of hiatus in April. Big spoilers are pretty unlikely to drop ahead of time, and even the trailer that may or may not eventually release might not be too helpful. For some viewing options as we count down the days until April 14, swing by our midseason TV premiere schedule.