Cersei’s new lackey speaks: Marc Rissmann, Golden Company Leader Harry Strickland, teases role in Game of Thrones Season 8

On Euron's Silence, Harry Strickland surveys the Golden Company under his command.

On Euron’s Silence, Harry Strickland surveys the Golden Company under his command.

We’re way past the era of Game of Throne in which a bunch of new characters were introduced each season, opening up the doors for entirely new factions and plotlines. Deep into the third act, doors aren’t opening but closing instead, as they should.

This being the case, when we heard of the new recurring role of a “mercenary”, our ears perked up, as they did again when Marc Rissmann was cast to play Harry Strickland, Commander of the Golden Company that Euron was sent to ferry back to Cersei in season seven. Ever since then, we have heard nary a peep from the man, until today, less than a week from the premiere: finally, the mercenary speaks about his secretive role!

Speaking to DW Euromaxx, German actor Marc Rissmann opens up for the very first time about his upcoming role, which you may sort of recognize from the books:

“I’m playing Harry Strickland, who if you google a little bit and read the books is a leader of the Golden Company. [If] you have seen season 7 — and especially the ending — [Euron] Greyjoy goes to a place to get the Golden Company,” Rissmann helpfully recaps, before teasing us a bit about season eight: “So maybe you can assume what we’re about to do… But maybe something different happens. You never know with this story!”

Indeed, if you’ve read the books, you may remember Strickland as a not at all fit, young or warrior-like commander, which obviously doesn’t fit the German actor’s description. He jokes: “I think they just see my inner coward. You know, basically that’s me.”

“They shot for over a year and I was just flying in and out for scenes. So it’s been on and off with breaks in between, [filming in] Northern Ireland,” he says of his experience. “The whole stretch they were filming about a year, this whole season, because they want to end it with the biggest bang ever. So it’s incredible. I think there are three units that are shooting parallel. It’s enormous. And you come into the area in awe.”

“The coolest thing [about working on Game of Thrones] is the passion from the people,” he says. “From costume department to the drivers everyone is so proud of the show. So you feel it, you smell it. At costume fittings you see these dresses that they designed, and you see a story and the texture that you actually never are aware of when you’re watching the show itself. But it is there and I think it makes it so rich.”

Cersei Lannister receives Euron Greyjoy and Harry Strickland in Season 8 trailer

Cersei Lannister receives Euron Greyjoy and Harry Strickland in the Red Keep throne room

“It feels like a surreal world, because there are so many extras, so many people involved. And the attention to detail is like [to the] microscopic [level]. Even the extras, [even though] there are 500 extras, you could shoot a close-up of everyone basically, even though they are just 200 meters somewhere in wide angle frame.”

Looking past his deep appreciation of the craftmanship on display in Game of Thrones, did you notice that “500 extras” comment? Now, that sound like a battle, doesn’t it? We don’t know whether Strickland and the Golden Company will be involved in the much-publicized Battle of Winterfell, but let’s just say there is another major martial encounter later in the season which should require the services of Cersei’s new mercenaries.

If there was any doubt Rissmann was referring to a battle and not just a particularly crowded scene, he adds he got fit for the role: “I bumped up the physical game, because it’s a physical world and it’s a physical character, so feeling that was good.”

Rissmann also discuses meeting the cast around the set, in particular Kit Harington, as it appears he’s already friends with Harington’s now wife and former Thrones cast mate, Rose Leslie. It’s a pretty long interview, so Rissmann talks about quite a bit more… and spends much of the interview avoiding questions in order not to spoil season eight, too.

41 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Cool interview, he seems like a nice guy.

      I actually got the opposite impression to you Luka regarding battles. Look at 13:06 – “I haven’t shot like a b… oh I can’t say that actually…” In the context, I get the feeling that he was going to say battle, which would mean that Harry Strickland is NOT in any major battles.

      On another note, I am currently reading ADWD for the first time and Harry Strickland is a hilariously pathetic character that is constantly moaning about his blisters. Almost every dialogue line by him ends with a description of him soothing his blisters. I love GRRM’s humour, and it’s really apparent in ADWD.

      I’m currently reading an Asha chapter and it’s just hilarious. My favourite line: “No one slept, not even Droopeye Dale.”

        Quote  Reply

    2. Undead Elephant:
      Also one of those Greyjoy ships better be packed full of elephants!

      I hope so. Maybe they didn’t want to show them off, but why would Cersei mention the elephants last season if they weren’t going to include them?

        Quote  Reply

    3. onedon:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      I believe there wont be any elephants. I hope to see spiders big as hounds.

      Hopefully both, but at least one of them. Just don’t see why Cersei would mention the elephants then.

        Quote  Reply

    4. Now I’m definitely thinking Euron ends up “stealing” the GC for himself at some point…at the end of the day I’m pretty sure Euron is only loyal to Euron. Lots of potential foreshadowing of that in S7, including a rather direct warning to Cersei that she blatantly ignores.

        Quote  Reply

    5. You guys should watch this analysis of leadership of GoT! I usually don’t watch Collider, but I’ve liked Dennis since his time in Think Hero TV and I enjoyed the insight from Bruce Craven.

        Quote  Reply

    6. Well now, an interview by him was unexpected. We barely even had location sightings of the guy during filming so it was kind of like ‘we know he’s in it but how much.’ It does kind of seem like his screen time will be rather limited.

      It feels like a surreal world

      Do people ever use the word “surreal” even close to as much as actors do? I swear each and every one of them uses it in every interview they do.

        Quote  Reply

    7. He comes over as a thoroughly decent guy, humbled by the experience.

      I wish him/Strickland good fortune in the wars to come … ;^)

        Quote  Reply

    8. Undead Elephant,

      Very good reminders on the character that are making me curious how they portrayed him. Did they turn him into a dashing, courageous, and brilliant swordsman? We’ve only seen one close image of him from behind but it does give a similar impression of an early seasons Jaime. They’ve slightly changed other characters but I don’t know if they’ve been all that drastic. For example, Jorah on the show is much better looking and not quite as creepy, but age, ability and demeanor are pretty close. Maybe they went the way of making Harry a young, more handsome man that’s still not much of a fighter and whines a lot… for a bit of comic relief. *shrug*

        Quote  Reply

    9. Azor Asshai:
      Now I’m definitely thinking Euron ends up “stealing” the GC for himself at some point…at the end of the day I’m pretty sure Euron is only loyal to Euron. Lots of potential foreshadowing of that in S7, including a rather direct warning to Cersei that she blatantly ignores.

      Euron is definitely going to try and get whatever he can out of this Westerosi power vacuum. The wheel is basically broken already. With Tarlys gone, Tyrells gone, Martells gone, her family gone and Starks and Dany against her, all Cersei has in her arsenal at this point is what the Iron Bank will give her (GC) and her body/marriage that she’s holding over (Euron). She’s begging for a visit from the FM. 🙂

      The GC could side with whoever has the coin, I imagine. Or if they see WW and dragons, they could switch sides entirely. Cersei doesn’t really inspire admiration or loyalty on her own.

      Off topic, but I keep thinking about the people in the city she wanted to rule. Why are they still there? They don’t have food, since Drogon burned that whole loot train. And did they not see the dragon flying over the city for that meeting? Are they really cool with a ton of Greyjoy pirate ships in their harbor? We haven’t heard a peep from them since the Sept exploded.
      Not that they were that great of a society to begin with or anything, but still…
      Despite what Tyrion told Jon, there aren’t even any good brothels anymore. Not after the Sparrows took care of things.
      King’s Landing is a garbage fire at this point. Revolts have been started over less.

        Quote  Reply

    10. Clob:
      Undead Elephant,

      Very good reminders on the character that are making me curious how they portrayed him.Did they turn him into a dashing, courageous, and brilliant swordsman?We’ve only seen one close image of him from behind but it does give a similar impression of an early seasons Jaime.They’ve slightly changed other characters but I don’t know if they’ve been all that drastic.For example, Jorah on the show is much better looking and not quite as creepy, but age, ability and demeanor are pretty close.Maybe they went the way of making Harry a young, more handsome man that’s still not much of a fighter and whines a lot… for a bit of comic relief.*shrug*

      Yeah just from that brief shot of him from behind he looks like a badass so I doubt he’s anything like the books. Maybe he’s more of a Jon Connington-like figure? I would love it if he mentioned his blisters though.

        Quote  Reply

    11. I imagine Cersei would instantly be attracted to him being the leader of a mercenary army she’s banking on who is good looking and blonde! 😛

        Quote  Reply

    12. I imagine Cersei would instantly be attracted to him being the leader of a mercenary army she’s banking on who is good looking and blonde! And..he has 2 good hands! 😛

        Quote  Reply

    13. Azor Asshai,
      RG,

      I don’t think the GC will follow Euron. I think they’ll follow the one who pays, namely the Iron Bank who is their main client. So far, the Iron Bank has been interested in Cersei’s victory (Dany has a bad business reputation since she stole the Unsullied). However, Jon has a reputation of being true to this word and now all he has to do is to send Davos to Braavos. However, first he has to learn about the GC and probably that’s where Theon comes into play: if he is following Euron in orfer to rescue Yara, he’ll definitely find out about the GC and bring this intel to Jon either directly or through Yara depending on which of them survives. I don’t have much trust for Jaime to spill the beans, cause Dany is known to be impuslive and he should be still feeling some obligation to protect Cersei or at least their unbron child. One way or another, the Greyjoys will have all the information about the GC; the ony question how fast they are going to make it to Winterfell. Even if they come before the Night King arrives, Jon will hardly have time to do anything about the GC before the battle. So, the GC plot should gain the momentum in Ep 4-5. If I remember correclty Harry Strickland was supposed to appear ony in two episodes, so my bet is on Ep 1 (or 2) and 5 (or 4).

        Quote  Reply

    14. RG: Off topic, but I keep thinking about the people in the city she wanted to rule. Why are they still there?

      I don’t think the show has explained, but in the books, during the War of the Five Kings, people were fleeing the countryside to try to take refuge in King’s Landing, probably on the assumption that the King would protect his city. Once in, overcrowding and starvation set in (A Clash of Kings), but queen-mother Cersei had had the gates barred to permit no one to escape, possibly to prevent anyone from reporting on conditions in the city**. I think Tyrion even observed to himself that, had Stannis known how bad it was, he’d have attacked more directly and probably gotten in easily.

      It would be like Cersei to do the same old thing. Lock ’em in. If people starved and were in filthy, squalid conditions, why would she care?
      ——
      ** Also, in case Arya was being kept somewhere, that she could not leave.

        Quote  Reply

    15. zandru,

      Thank you. You know I’ve read this series twice (third time skimmed to my favorite POV bits) and watched it a million times and I always forget about the poor residents of the world. It just hit me that we haven’t really seen them onscreen since the shaming and the reckoning. I think it would be great if Cersei has to deal with keeping them there so she can be queen of something.
      Not, you know, for them…

        Quote  Reply

    16. Inga,

      Can’t wait for that. It should be interesting.
      Here’s my thing about the Iron Bank though. Isn’t it connected to the FM and therefore anti-slavery? Wouldn’t that make them more pro-Dany?
      Maybe not in the show-since I think the only time we’ve seen them is when Davos stumped for Stannis and then again with Cersei.

        Quote  Reply

    17. Watcher:
      Undead Elephant,

      I think the same that he will be in fact Jon Connington. And look at the picture – sword pomel looks like a griffin…

      Okay, UE mentioned he could be more like Jon Connington and you’re saying he might actually BE him. This is actually the first I’ve read that suggestion. Maybe most just assume he’s playing Harry because that’s what we’re told, and what we’d expect with the GC showing up. Perhaps it is a bit of a twist they’re throwing in…

      It can be assumed that Connington and Young Griff will have an impact moving forward in the book story. D&D might not have wanted to cloud the show story with all of it though. Perhaps they’re changing the story to have JC simply impersonate Harry, in charge of and to the knowledge of the GC.? JC was a close friend of Rhaegar’s and did serve in the GC for a time… And who came up with the plan to get him out in order to take care of the child said to be Rhaegar’s son? None other than Illyrio Mopatis and Varys!!

      So I guess there’s the tinfoil theory; Rissmann isn’t portraying Harry Strickland, he’s portraying Jon Connington pretending to be Harry Strickland. ☺

        Quote  Reply

    18. Has anyone scored a bag of oreos? The manager at my grocery store told me he has the cookies in the store room but Nabisco won’t let them be placed on the shelves until tomorrow. Reminded me of Willy Wonka and the magic ticket. Suppose there is something special in one or more of the bags? – ha!

        Quote  Reply

    19. syriosnextstudent,
      I was wondering why I hadn’t seen them yet. I’ll check tomorrow. Might be nice to have when I’m snowed in Thursday. Suppose to get as much as 20″ by the time it’s done on Friday… in April! 😡

      Ten Bears here is getting a “crate” of them shipped. 😁

        Quote  Reply

    20. Clob: Okay, UE mentioned he could be more like Jon Connington and you’re saying he might actually BE him.This is actually the first I’ve read that suggestion.Maybe most just assume he’s playing Harry because that’s what we’re told, and what we’d expect with the GC showing up.Perhaps it is a bit of a twist they’re throwing in…

      It can be assumed that Connington and Young Griff will have an impact moving forward in the book story.D&D might not have wanted to cloud the show story with all of it though.Perhaps they’re changing the story to have JC simply impersonate Harry, in charge of and to the knowledge of the GC.?JC was a close friend of Rhaegar’s and did serve in the GC for a time…And who came up with the plan to get him out in order to take care of the child said to be Rhaegar’s son?None other than Illyrio Mopatis and Varys!!

      So I guess there’s the tinfoil theory; Rissmann isn’t portraying Harry Strickland, he’s portraying Jon Connington pretending to be Harry Strickland. ☺

      Correct, that is my theory. Marc Rissmann suits more to description of JC than HS (although JC should be still older). Besides Marc said: “So maybe you can assume what we’re about to do… But maybe something different happens. You never know with this story!”.
      So I assume that GC will switch sides and support Jon Snow aka Aegon Targaryen (like they did in the book). I do not think they will bring Young Griff in the show, but they will show as JC himself or impersonated by HS.

        Quote  Reply

    21. This is an interesting one, clearly Euron arrives with the Golden company either episode 1 or 2 and presumably they are there to defend kings landing so what will they do for the episodes until then? I don’t believe the theories that they will go North and be involved at Winterfell but cannot rule it out completely.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Watcher: So I assume that GC will switch sides and support Jon Snow aka Aegon Targaryen (like they did in the book). I do not think they will bring Young Griff in the show, but they will show as JC himself or impersonated by HS.

      That gun was never hung: there is next to zero chance that they would do something so arbitrary.

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *