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This entire article is written about Ian McShane’s character and what he’ll be doing. As such, this article is dark and full of spoilers. Read on at your own risk.
Ian McShane was one of the first new cast members to be added to Game of Thrones for Season 6. Early on, people thought he might be playing a famous pirate from George R.R. Martin’s books, but more recently, we’ve learned that won’t be his role. However, McShane did drop some big spoilers related to his Game of Thrones character during a recent episode of BBC Breakfast. Here’s what he had to say:
I can give you one hint: My character is an ex-warrior who's become a peacenik, so I have this group of peaceful—sort of like a cult—a peaceful tribe. I bring back a much-loved character everybody thinks is dead.
Ian McShane seemed very clear that he couldn’t drop any spoilers, just noting that he is bringing back a much-loved character is a big clue regarding Season 6. We do know that tons of dead characters may be coming back in Season 6. Some, like Ned Stark, should be returning via flashbacks (in Stark's case he will reportedly be a young man and played by a different actor). However, both the Hound and Jon Snow have been rumored to be dead on the series. The Hound's been gone for several seasons--ever since Arya left him for dead--while Jon Snow was just stabbed—seemingly fatally—at the end of Season 5.
Although Ian McShane absolutely says he is not supposed to be talking about his character, later he did a second interview with the BBC, and was asked about Game of Thrones again. He stated his episode is only a one-off, but he enjoyed it very greatly because he got to travel to England. Plus, the role entailed nursing a “much-loved” Game of Thrones character back to life. When directly asked whether or not it would be the Hound or Jon Snow he was dealing with, McShane had this to say:
It’s not the latter, it might be the former.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on Game of Thrones, the rumor mill had already noted that the Hound would be returning in Season 6, although if he appears in the same number of episodes as Ian McShane, his stint might be short. If you’ve read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, McShane’s words also seem to indicate that he will be playing Elder Brother, the head of, well, a group of peaceniks who may have taken in The Hound after Arya left him for dead. In the novels, Pod and Brienne stumble upon this group on the Quiet Isle and it is alluded to that the Hound may not be dead, after all. If the same holds true on the series, that would tie up that storyline neatly.
Obviously, a lot of what we know about Game of Thrones Season 6 is based on short quotes and speculation at this point. However, we’ve compiled what we’ve learned in this handy what we know piece. In addition, be sure to tune in to HBO when Game of Thrones returns to the schedule on Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. ET.