Game of Thrones Season 8 casting news, the Mountain actor teases favorite scene & Scottish isle scouted for prequel pilot!

The-Hound-Mountain-Dragonpit~2

Season eight may have wrapped once and for all, but news keep trickling in: today we bring you the casting announcement for a new minor character, as well as Hafþór Björnsson‘s teasing us about a scene in the last season. Also, beyond Game of Thrones, the upcoming prequel pilot is looking for locations already, this time in Scotland!

First of all, we uncovered that British actress Laura Elphinstone was cast in a small but possibly recurring role in season eight, under the nondescript character name of “Nora”.

Laura Elphinstone Independent Talent

Though the excellently named Elphinstone is said to have worked with various directors, which would theoretically indicate Nora is a recurring character, we should take that with a grain of salt: “Dir. Various” can often be found in many online CVs as a placeholder for the actual single director with whom a given actor has worked.

Still on season eight, Icelandic actor Hafþór “Thor” Björnsson, best known for arguably being the strongest man in the world as well as playing the strongest zombie on TV, teased us a bit regarding the final season, though it seems he did it quite innocently: when asked about his favorite scene in Game of Thrones during an Instagram Q&A, the man who plays Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane answered honestly and succinctly:

“It happens in season 8… so I can’t speak about it.”

Though it remains ambiguous whether Björnsson meant his favorite scene overall or the favorite scene of his, in which the Mountain is involved, that hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating, of course, that he could be referring to the much hyped confrontation between him and his brother Sandor, the Hound, who essentially promised him last season—in the scene depicted at the top of the article—that this fight would happen.

Old-Man-of-Storr Skye Island Scotland Prequel Location Scouting

Finally, Daily Record reports that the Scottish isle of Skye may become the next stunning location in Game of Thrones—or rather, in its greenlit spin-off pilot set 10,000 years before the main show (which doesn’t even have an official title yet, though series author George R. R. Martin claims it may end up being called Game of Thrones: The Long Night).

Reportedly, Skye was recently scouted “to pinpoint areas they want to use for potential action and scenery shots.” According to their source, it’d be “a massive development for Skye”, as the show “had a huge impact on tourist numbers wherever it was filmed. The same will most likely apply to the prequel. Skye is definitely a potential venue for The Long Night,” they claim. “The show is set 10,000 years before Game of Thrones so the makers need new ideas and locations. Skye ticks a lot of boxes for them.”

These are exciting news. With Skye, we could be looking at the first location for the so-called The Long Night. Speaking of which, it should be noted the source used Martin’s suggested name for the spin-off, which may indicate it’s the real deal after all, though I would also expect the “Game of Thrones” branding to be included in the title as well.

84 responses

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    1. HODOR!

      Bravo Luka for such fascinating news! Brown eyes, great cheekbones. A red priestess? Mother of a child in Kings Landing? Servant at Winterfell or the Red Keep? Midwife to Cersei? An older Arya or Sansa (needing contacts). But, as a Skye lover, that would be the best casting of all. My heart leapt to see a pic of the Quiraing.

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    2. Sandor promised him nothing of the sort, if anything his words make the whole option of Cleganebowl less likely. 🙂

      Ms. Elphinstone does look very elvish indeed!

      The Isle of Skye has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. ❤

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    3. As if Skye isnt already a tourist destination. Was just there in June and it lives up to the billing.

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    4. That’s a difficult casting to predict. Like others, I would assume she’ll play a citizen in KL to give them a face, or perhaps someone in the North for the same reason, though we kind of already have a lot of established characters in the North, so I’ll go with KL for now.

      Lol, thanks to the Mountain for a molehill sized spoiler 🙂

      We can’t even get through the last season without the focus already shifting to the next shiny new toy, uh prequel. Game of Thrones is a once-in-a-lifetime show. Prequels, however, are a dime-a-dozen. For me, any interest in the prequel can wait until Game of Thrones is over.

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    5. Great filming location (option)!! Great and beautiful locations/scenery have been a major aspect of GoT so I look forward to that continuing.

      I’m still holding out hope that “you know who is coming” meant Death and that ASNAWP will be the tool. 😉

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    6. Mr Derp: We can’t even get through the last season without the focus already shifting to the next shiny new toy, uh prequel. Game of Thrones is a once-in-a-lifetime show. Prequels, however, are a dime-a-dozen. For me, any interest in the prequel can wait until Game of Thrones is over.

      I know you and I are looking at the prequel(s) in a different way, but I’m happy to hear and discuss any related news, especially when GoT-specific news is going to be very limited from now on. At this point I’m seeing this new series as a continuation of GoT even if it’s completely separate from our current story.

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    7. Agreed that ‘You know who’s coming for you’ in no way confirms that Sandor meant himself. Cleganebowl as a mere grudge match holds no allure for me. Sandor giving his irredeemably awful brother the Gift of Mercy, just because he has become a better man and a True Knight, might be okay, though.

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    8. Clob,

      I do have an interest in the prequel(s), though my interest is admittedly mild compared to others. It’s simply based on the history of prequels in general. They’re rarely ever successful and rarely ever have a purpose other than to just give fans more of the same. GoT means a lot to me. I would hate to see HBO do to GoT what Disney has done to Star Wars, though, I tend to trust HBO more than Disney.

      One of the big questions for me is if the prequel is going to lead us somewhere we haven’t been before? Or are we going to just get more of the same, just in a different time? To me, the Long Night idea sounds like more of the same, but I’ll try to reserve ultimate judgement until further information is available.

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    9. Well, she’s been in ‘Vera’ and that has had a whole host of Game of thrones alumni including Liam Cunningham👍

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    10. That’s a nice looking location. Thrones always has the best scenery, so I’m not surprised.

      As to Cleganebowl… I kinda think it’s almost a definite that this happens. They’ve been hyping it up for so long (even setting it up in the books), and D&D must know that it’s a long-awaited fight by so many fans. Just for the fan-service alone, and the epic-ness of the fight… it has to happen. And I would love to see it. There have been so many one-on-one fights throughout this series that it’s a big part of GoT, and the only other one that I can see happening before it ends (that we’d all be invested in) is Jon and the Night King.

      Now that isn’t to say that either one will kill the other. Who knows, D&D could definitely throw a twist at us and have something interrupt the fight after a while. Sandor could even be fighting his brother for completely different reasons set-up by future season 8 events, like maybe something to do with Cersei ordering a hit on one of Sandor’s favorite kids (as opposed to just revenge fueled by his brother burning his face). Who knows why or what could happen… lots of possibilities and I can definitely see some sort of twist to make this fight happen. But it has been foreshadowed so strongly to not happen.

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    11. I just hope his favourite scene isn’t The Mountain pulverizing one of our beloved characters next season..

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    12. Jaehaerys: As to Cleganebowl….. and the epic-ness of the fight

      I actually prefer watching the Hound beat the living shit out of littler guys, smashing their faces with growling grunt punches rather than a more even, sword-clashing battle of equally matched (such as his fight with Brienne). Of course I haven’t been one of those clamoring for Cleganebowl all these years. 🙂

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    13. Skye is just breathtaking and the Old man of Storr (where this photos is taken from) is hauntingly beautiful- it’d make a perfect shooting location for Westeros and was used in the opening scenes of Prometheus.

      As for Thor’s comment- I think anyone reading into this are jumping to conclusions of ridiculous proportions 😶

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    14. Clob,

      I still say that instead of prequels or sequels, they should’ve backed up a Brink’s truck with $1 million cash to Maisie’s front door, and airlifted another $1 million to Rory McGann wherever he is on his boat, to provide the voices for a Saturday morning children’s cartoon: “The Adventures of Arya and the Hound.” Toss in another $1/2 million for Richard Dormer to voice the conscience of Sandor (“You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane. It’s not too late for you.”) Arya could communicate telepathically with her trusty sidekick Nymeria. For the hell of it, throw in a talking white pony for Arya too.*

      Each week, the duo comes across some injustice they have to rectify. Sandor’s impulse is to use brute force to neutralize the wrongdoers, but Arya uses her wits to come up with a solution that avoids resorting to violence. (In cartoonland, they could still engage bad guys in sword fights and fist fights without actually killing anyone.) As they ride from one village to the next at the beginning and end of each episode, they playfully trade insults and goof on each other.

      The characters are so popular, there’d already be a built-in audience for the cartoon. The biggest challenge would be writing “child-friendly”, expletive-free dialogue for the Hound.

      I’d rather watch an Arya & Sandor cartoon than a live action show about Targaryens and dragons in Old Valyria. Or a retread of humankind vs. White Walkers and ice zombies during the supposed Long Night.

      * Better yet, In Episode 1, after chasing off bandits raiding a farm, they discover that a frightened hen inadvertently left behind one of her hatchlings.🐣Sandor picks it up – and the chick imprints on Sandor, thinking he’s its mother. (“You’re alright, little bird.”) Sandor’s inner conflict is played for laughs, as his appetite for chicken is overcome by his grudging, growing affection for the baby bird 🐥who crawls inside his armor to nap.

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    15. Do we think it’s a given or too much of an assumption to believe they’ll ‘base’ at Titanic Studios again (when a series does get greenlit)? If they do film in Scotland does it make the chances greater that they use a film studio there?

      With the building of the massive King’s Landing set at Titanic one would have initially thought it could be used for a prequel. Since then the only news we’ve had are for stories that take place before King’s Landing existed. One of my 1a/1b choices has been Dance of the Dragons which would, but there’s no word about doing that option.

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    16. Jaehaerys: As to Cleganebowl… I kinda think it’s almost a definite that this happens. They’ve been hyping it up for so long (even setting it up in the books), and D&D must know that it’s a long-awaited fight by so many fans. Just for the fan-service alone, and the epic-ness of the fight… it has to happen… But it has been foreshadowed so strongly to not happen.

      The fact that we’ve had our noses rubbed in so much foreshadowing is precisely why it should NOT happen. Predictable. Clichéd. Two big guys whaling away at each other with big swords, ho-hum. And what a waste of Sandor’s character development.

      Gregor’s end should come entirely out of left field. Something ironically pleasing that he and we and Cersei didn’t anticipate.

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    17. Ten Bears:
      Clob,

      “The Adventures of Arya and the Hound.”

      Each week, the duo comes across some injustice they have to rectify. Sandor’s impulse is to use brute force to neutralize the wrongdoers, but Arya uses her wits to come up with a solution that avoids resorting to violence. (In cartoonland, they could still engage bad guys in sword fights and fist fights without actually killing anyone.) As they ride from one village to the next at the beginning and end of each episode, they playfully trade insults and goof on each other.

      This concept is pretty darn close to Dunk & Egg, except with Egg as a girl.

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    18. Viz,

      Yeah, Oberyn was bad enough. It would be great to see an epic fight involving The Mountain.. as long as he doesn’t win. 🙂

      As far as Cleganebowl is concerned, I’m also not a huge fan of it. I would love to see Gregor go down in some rather unexpected way. Or if we must have Cleganebowl, I hope they can find a way to make it more interesting or add some kind of twist to it so it’s not just “Sandor gets his revenge”.

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    19. With the name Nora I always think about Nora of the show “leftovers”. What do I miss that wonderful show.

      Jaehaerys,

      I hope Arya or Brienne is in on this fight, the mountain is a very strong man and I think the hound would fail on his own. It should be team work between him and Arya at least.

      Firannion,

      Depends, they could have the hound lose, and Arya finishing the job.

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    20. To me, when the hound told his bro “you’ve always known what’s coming for you” that indicated the hound could see the future in the flames.
      His first “sight” was when the mountain held his face to the flames and the visions he witnessed is why he, houndie, is fearful of fire. Aside from burning half his face off of course

      Also, Amazon is the worst

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    21. I spent three days on Skye, the most otherworldly and beautiful landscape I’ve ever gazed upon. I had absolutely no depth perception when there (except in Porttree), like the place existed outside time and space.

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    22. Clob,

      FWIW, I thought the distinctive voices and popularity of Maisie Williams as Arya and Rory McGann as Sandor would translate well to a children’s cartoon because of John de Lancie.

      John de Lancie has established a successful second career as a voice actor, most prominently as the voice of “Discord” in 17 episodes of the children’s cartoon “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” (2011 – present).

      You may remember John de Lancie as “Q” in some of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation”, including the S1 two-part series premiere, “Encounter at Farpoint”‘ in 1987 and the S7 two-part series finale “All Good Things” in 1994, along with “Q Who” (S2e16) and “Deja Q” (S3e13). Later, he was also in three episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager”, and I think one episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” (He also guest-starred in four episodes of “Breaking Bad” in 2009 – 2010.)

      “Discord” is essentially (and intentionally) “Q” as a cartoon creature. I heard the TV on in another room one morning, thought a Star Trek TNG re-run was on, looked in and saw the cartoon. Apparently, “My Little Pony” is a very popular children’s show, and Discord – like Q – is a fan favorite.

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    23. Ten Bears: Is that a good thing?

      Decidedly so, in my view. I’ve been arguing for a while that the Dunk & Egg novellas are the right family-friendly vector for introducing Westeros to a broader audience.

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    24. Idk why and it’s obviously wishful thinking but I could kinda see this lady playing Quaithe. Would be cool for some characters to return this last season.

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    25. kevin1989:
      With the name Nora I always think about Nora of the show “leftovers”. What do I miss that wonderful show.

      Jaehaerys,

      I hope Arya or Brienne is in on this fight, the mountain is a very strong man and I think the hound would fail on his own. It should be team work between him and Arya at least.

      Firannion,

      Depends, they could have the hound lose, and Arya finishing the job.

      Love to see a barely 5′ Arya actually defeat the mountain by herself. He is on her list.
      Actually now that I think about it, she should come to Sandor’s aid and then defeat the mountain herself. That would have some extra meaning.

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    26. Tron79: Love to see a barely 5′ Arya actually defeat the mountain by herself.He is on her list.
      Actually now that I think about it, she should come to Sandor’s aid and then defeat the mountain herself. That would have some extra meaning.

      Well there’s always the option of being quick enough to stick him with the pointy end in the joints of his armor, like back of the knees, armpits, etc. Do it right and he’d go down at least, even if he is already not really human.

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    27. Pigeon: Well there’s always the option of being quick enough to stick him with the pointy end in the joints of his armor, like back of the knees, armpits, etc. Do it right and he’d go down at least, even if he is already not really human.

      1. That’s some serious ASNAWP fantasy scenario. 👸🏻

      2. I was thinking that Qyburn accomplished through science what the NK and WWs are able to do with magic: reanimate and program freshly dead people. Which could also mean that NK will hack into Mountain’s Internal Operating System and convert him into an AotD soldier.

      3. Or, let’s assume Arya gets wind that Qybirn’s intervention enabled Gregor to cheat death.
      Though Arya was a Murder School dropout and never got her diploma, might she remember what Jaqen told her in S2e5 about paying debts owed to the Red God?

      The Red God takes what is his, lovely girl. And only death may pay for life. You saved me and the two I was with. You stole three deaths from the Red God. We have to give them back.”

      Plus…if VS can disintegrate WWs and kill wights, then why not a scientifically reanimated specimen like Gregor?

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    28. I think this is how cleganbowl will go down in broad strokes: fight begins, the hound and the audience soon realize the mountain is stronger. The hound gets injured and realizes he can’t harm his brother as he can’t be killed because he is a zombie. When all hope is lost he understands he needs fire to kill ungregor. Don’t know the context of this fight but I’m pretty sure dragonglass won’t be an option: he needs fire and he needs to overcome his fears of being close to it in order to defeat his brother. It would be the chance for him to say something along the lines “the roles are reversed now”

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    29. Enharmony1625,

      You need to give the writers more credit. After so much adaptation and then improvisation which yielded some decent story layering, I can’t see them doing Cleganebowl just for entertainment value. If it happens, they will certainly set it up so there are multiple story angles served by the event.

      I can see them making it happen like it was said above, where outside stimuli is required to force the confrontation for some other reason important to the overall story.

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    30. Random morning thought…

      For some reason I had the idea planted in my head that The Mountain could turn on Cersei and kill her, but it makes no narrative sense and he’s the older brother of the two. Does anyone think that the Hound could be the Valonqar? I was thinking about it last night, and it fits, but I don’t think he has nearly as much of a reason to kill Cersei as others do, particularly Jaime, Tyrion, and Arya. Strangulation also isn’t really the Hound’s style. Strangulation is one of the most personal ways to kill someone since it requires time and staring them in the face the whole time. I’m still sticking with the idea that Jaime will be the one to do it.

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    31. Mr Derp,

      Sandor has always been in the top two in my Valonqar candidates handicapping. Current odds: 4-1.

      He fits the prophecy in all respects, especially if you assume Maggy the Frog was referring to someone young Cersei knew at the time.

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    32. Ten Bears,

      Lol, of course you’d be the one to assume Sandor is the Valonqar. How could I have ever figured that one?!? 🙂 If it was up to you he’d also the PTWP, Azor Ahai, and Santa Claus rolled into one! (Hmmm, Sandor Claus actually sounds like it would be worth exploring.)

      The only thing keeping me from actually believing that Sandor is the Valonqar is that he really has no reason to kill Cersei and, if he did, I doubt he’d do it by strangulation, but I suppose ya never know. Narratively speaking, Cersei is Jaime’s to kill IMO.

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    33. Ten Bears,
      It would be nice to know if D&D have brought him back as they have simply because they like the character, just assume he’ll be back or if George told them he’d be back and be a prominent character. Either way, his story has been pretty much all D&D since the “chicken inn” fight, with a broad expansion of what is believed to be him in the books observed digging graves on the Quiet Isle.

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    34. Mr Derp,

      Ha! You are right. In my confirmation-bias-world view, Sandor is Azor Ahai aka the Warrior of Light, the Lord’s Chosen, the Last Hero, and the Valonqar. (“Sandor Claus”? Good one. I hadn’t thought of that.) I will concede though that he’s not the PWWP.

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    35. Clob,

      Interestingly, D&D have previously said that the only reason why they brought Sandor back was simply because they like the character. If anyone other than Rory was playing him they probably never would’ve brought him back, which leads me to believe that whatever role he has left is not really all that critical to the endgame unless D&D make some major changes.

      Here’s a quote from D&D:

      “So much of this comes down to the casting. I doubt we would have cared nearly as much for The Hound if anyone but Rory McCann was playing the part. What’s been exciting is seeing the glimmers of humanity behind The Hound’s scarred exterior. And then seeing him shove aside those glimmers, when necessary, and murk motherfuckers that need to be murked.”

      https://www.cinemablend.com/television/1548049/why-game-of-thrones-brought-the-hound-back

      They apparently like the word murk(ed) for whatever reason, but I thought it was an interesting read nevertheless.

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    36. Jaehaerys,

      Ok, this is my prediction….. Arya goes into battle with Mountain…. The Hound comes to her rescue and then… we have a version of Clegane Bowl! Not a formal fight, but a spontaneous one for the fans. No time to drag out a ceremonious battle… just time for swiping the mountain to ashes!!

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    37. Mr Derp,

      PS When I was younger, my much older brother used to drag me to the racetrack. I never liked horse racing or gambling, so I’d spend the whole time scarfing ice cream and reading the Daily Racing Form and prognostications from “expert” handicappers on the local newspaper’s sports page. For “big” races like the Kentucky Derby, the pros in Las Vegas would issue and frequently update the latest odds.

      Anyway, the handicappers would include a synopsis explaining the pros and cons of each horse, their calculation of each entrant’s odds of winning, and why they selected one as their front runner and another as a long shot (eg, last stop before the glue factory). I inadvertently picked up on their lingo.

      That’s why my Valonqar Sweepstakes odds chart reads like a horse racing handicapper’s ranking – as written by Grammar Nazi King Stannis.

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    38. Viz,

      True. I am optimistic that if it does come down to Cleganebowl that it would have more layers to it than just being a fan-service fight. I think the tricky thing with this though, is that Cleganebowl has been built up and hyped for so long that if they don’t pay it off, they would have to find something equally as epic. Otherwise it might feel like a big let-down.

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    39. Mr Derp,

      Where do the showrunners say “the only reason why they brought Sandor back was simply because they like the character. If anyone other than Rory was playing him they probably never would’ve brought him back”?

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    40. Mr Derp: The only thing keeping me from actually believing that Sandor is the Valonqar is that he really has no reason to kill Cersei and, if he did, I doubt he’d do it by strangulation, but I suppose ya never know. Narratively speaking, Cersei is Jaime’s to kill IMO.

      Not sure why exactly (other than me being a bit of a Shakespeare geek), but for me, thoughts of a Cleganebowl have always led to associations with the big multiple-death scene that culminates Hamlet, with Cersei as Queen Gertrude. I could see her death as a spectator being rather ironical ‘collateral damage’ from a final brawl between those two, if it is to happen.

      It doesn’t satisfy all the terms of the Valonqar prophecy, especially the strangulation detail; but the TV version never mentioned the Valonqar part of Maggy the Frog’s prediction in any case. There would certainly be some poetic justice in Cersei dying as an indirect result of her ill-considered actions (in this case, sponsoring Qyburn’s laboratory R & D), continuing the pattern of her children’s deaths all being traceable to her own past choices.

      But yeah, the strongest bet is probably still on Jaime.

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    41. Please no Cleganebowl. This is Game of Thrones not Game of Coincidences where every showdown and revenge fantasy comes true.

      I loved that it wasn’t Arya or Sansa or Tyrion who killed Joffrey, it was Olenna/Littlefinger. And I love that Robb didn’t die gloriously in battle, he got punked by the Freys and Boltons.

      Arya getting revenge on everybody is…boring and predictable. The Clegane brothers fighting is…boring and predictable.

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    42. Mr Derp,

      Now with your reminder I do recall having read that. It is an unknown what George has done and will do with Sandor in his unpublished story. Other than the description of the gravedigger that everyone believes 100% is Sandor he has been absent from the books since the moment Arya left him (not including reports of him that are actually other men wearing his helm). It may sound silly and not likely but it is possible that George has ‘released’ Sandor from the story and the Quiet Isle tidbit was the way to show he’s found his peace.

      The Cleganebowl had been almost entirely reader-fueled, and now with some viewer-only fans as well. What I mean is that most casual readers and viewers that don’t dig into the internet aren’t likely to desire such a thing or expect it. I know that none of my friends that watch have ever mentioned anything related to Cleganebowl.

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    43. I’d really like to see the nod to “Cleganebowl” turn out to be the two brothers fighting back-to-back, wielding Valyrian steel, trying to slow down an overwhelming sea of WWs and ice zombies.

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    44. Mr Derp,

      I read the CinemaBlend article you linked. The showrunners did NOT say “the only reason why they brought Sandor back was simply because they like the character. If anyone other than Rory was playing him they probably never would’ve brought him back.”

      The author of the article misinterpreted or inartfully described the quoted statements of Benioff and Weiss. The article states:

      “So, why did the series ultimately decide to bring The Hound back? Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff openly admit that it was the actor who plays the character, Rory McCann, who is basically responsible for his own comeback. Here’s what they had to say:…”

      Did I miss something? I didn’t read anything that suggested if anyone other than Rory were playing Sandor they probably never would’ve brought him back.

      Further, it’s my understanding that the show simply vindicated the “gravedigger theory” from the books, and even paid homage to Sandor = Gravedigger by having him dig graves for Rabbit Stew Sally and her father in S7e1.

      There are quotes from GRRM and Rory McCann indicating that all along, they had planned to transform Sandor from a minor character to a major player. I’ll see if I can find those interviews.

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    45. I’m not as emotionally invested into dissecting these quotes as you are, but the quote that I already provided makes it sound like the actor playing the Hound made D&D care much more about the character than they would have otherwise. That leads me to believe that the Hound originally had a much less significant role in the endgame, but the actor’s portrayal made them change their minds at some point. It doesn’t mean he won’t have a significant role to play, especially since Beric kept telling him for the past 2 seasons that he serves a greater purpose, but I think his original purpose wasn’t quite so significant. Read into it what you will, but that’s my take.

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    46. Mr Derp: Beric kept telling him for the past 2 seasons

      All the Beric stuff too though is made up for a character/actor they apparently like and kept around. None of it is going to happen in the books, in the exact way or between those characters anyway. I could say they’re simply making the characters more “juicy” so the show hasn’t dwindled down to just a handful of mains and tons of extras.

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    47. Shane snow:
      Idk why and it’s obviously wishful thinking but I could kinda see this lady playing Quaithe. Would be cool for some characters to return this last season.

      I thought of Quaithe too, but doubt they’ll bring her back. Maybe so. But I’d wager that the actress will play a leader of the Children of the Forest, presumably in flashbacks. Her facial features are rather elven. So I checked what Luka said. He had called her the “excellently named Elphinstone”. I don’t know if he was hinting, but perhaps he got the same vibe I did.

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    48. Firannion,

      “But yeah, the strongest bet is probably still on Jaime.”

      ___________
      First of all, I am making the assumption that the identity of Cersei’s strangler is too big a detail for the show to diverge from the books, even though the show did not include the “Valonqar” part of Maggy’s prophecies in the S5 cold open with young Cersei. Maggy has been batting 1.000 so far, including the forecast that Cersei’s three golden crowned/haired children would predecease her. (The show’s S1 injection of a black-haired baby boy who died in infancy, as described by Cersei in a show-only conversation with Catelyn after Bran’s fall and mentioned again in Cersei’s commiseration with Robert about their unhappy marriage, doesn’t square with the books’ 3-children for you, 16 for Robert projection. I don’t know what to make of that. )

      Getting back to Jaime: I am also assuming GRRM chose his words deliberately in phrasing the Valonqar prophecy. I’ll have to retrieve my hypothetical Grammar Nazi King Stannis parses the prophecy analysis, but the use of the plural “hands” (the V will wrap his hands around Cersei’s pale white throat) would seem to eliminate Jaime. He only has one hand. His golden hand is a prosthetic, and can’t “wrap” around a throat or squeeze it.

      Also, the use of the definite article “the” in “the [little brother]” means there’s only one. (Sort of like when LF asked Marg if she still wanted to be a queen, and she replied: “No. I want to be the queen.”) As applied to the Lannister boys, that could only mean Tyrion.

      Admittedly, GRRM could have been trying to be cute and misdirect Cersei as well as the reader. Still. Maggy did not describe Cersei’s future strangler as “your” little brother or “a” little brother (or “any” little brother, for that matter).

      Those are a few of the reasons why I downgraded Jaime from 3:1 odds-on favorite before S7, to his present position in the middle of the field at 6:1.

      Despite all of my linguistic gymnastics, I’ll probably be wrong. 🤯

      P.S. Guess who wasn’t even considered a candidate before S7 and will now in the #1 post position entering S8?

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    49. Clob,

      The Hound’s ultimate purpose is to call Cersei a dumb cunt to her face. If not, D&D missed a huge opportunity.

      Or, maybe the Night King will raise a bunch of wight chickens and it’ll be up to Sandor to eat every fookin chicken before calling the Night King a dumb cunt as well, which will make the Night King burst into flames, thus saving Westeros?

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    50. Mr Derp,

      Hey, let’s just agree: Rory McCann has been fabulous as The Hound. With a different actor, the show might very well have Manced him, ie, given him a premature exit.

        Quote  Reply

    51. Ten Bears,

      I posted this a few minutes ago to Clob, but it got stuck in moderation purgatory, so pelase forgive me if this post ends up being a duplicate at some point.

      I think the Hound’s ultimate purpose is to call Cersei a dumb cunt to her face. If not, D&D missed a huge opportunity.

      Or, maybe the Night King will raise a bunch of wight chickens and it’ll be up to Sandor to eat every fookin chicken before calling the Night King a dumb cunt as well, which will make the Night King burst into flames, thus saving Westeros?

        Quote  Reply

    52. i’m not even sure i really want to see The Mountain dead. but if he has to die it will most probably not be the result of a fan-service. and besides fans, no one ever hyped Cleganebowl into the orbit.

      both of them had epic fight scenes which i think are tv-classics by now. The Mountain vs Oberyn was sheer power against agility, and The Hound vs Brienne featured more nasty moves of both than an average Mick Foley vs Terry Funk match.

      both of them also had their 20 seconds of ugh-bowl, and it was ended by the words of the king: “stop boring me to death you damn posers!” or something like that… i cannot think of any reason D&D would have to make us go through just another 20 seconds of huge men swinging steel beams at each other in another tectonic event.

      Sandor did not confront his brother saying “i can’t wait to kill you”. no need for him to go face to face risking a fight when he actually had other things to do, and then retreat, if the message was just what everyone expected.

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    53. death by chickenfire: i’m not even sure i really want to see The Mountain dead.

      Ser Robert Strong appears to be little more than a robot that understands and obeys commands. It’s a question whether or not he even remembers his life prior to his fight with Oberyn. Still, remember that book!Mountain is a much worse fellow than even the awful person the show has conveyed. Characters have mentioned terrible things he’s done but there’s so much more that the books describe he’s done. He’s essentially a raping and killing machine of anybody in his path. So while viewers are probably suppose to believe there is no possible redemption path for that character, perhaps there are a few more thoughts about that considering the few things that were actually shown him doing as the Mountain. I believe there’s zero chance he won’t be destroyed on the show. The manner is the only question.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Inga,

      I still think the fates of Cersei and Jaime are tied together, but it really could go a number of different ways at this point.

      I find Tyrion killing the Mountain more believable simply because of the foreshadowing back in season 4 during a conversation between Tyrion and Bronn.

      Tyrion: I suppose I’ll have to kill the Mountain myself. Won’t that make for a great song.

      Bronn: I hope to hear them sing it one day.

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    55. Mr Derp,

      Tinfoil Time – about the Mountain:

      Even though Sandor said [paraphrasing] “Every lord I’ve ever known has been a c*nt. Can’t see why the Lord of Light should be any different”…..

      Somehow, for some reason, the Lord of Light chose to broadcast crystal clear high-def visions to Sandor (e.g. of the AotD marching past an arrow head shaped mountain towards Eastwatch). Even devoted disciples like Meliisandre seem to get lousy reception.

      When Sandor confronted Gregor in S7e7, Sandor was confident he knew “who” was coming for Gregor. I wonder if the Lord of Light broadcast a preview trailer to Sandor, showing him how Gregor is vanquished.

      It would be “divine justice” if the Fire God torches Gregor. Maybe that’s “who” Sandor was referring to when he told Gregor (paraphrasing): “You’ve always known who’s coming for you,”

      S8. Spontaneous combustion. Adios FrankenGregor?

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    56. Mr Derp,

      Tyrion: I suppose I’ll have to kill the Mountain myself. Won’t that make for a great song.

      Bronn: I hope to hear them sing it one day.

      We’ll see if this hung gun is fired; hope so

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    57. ash:
      Mr Derp,

      We’ll see if this hung gun is fired; hope so

      Tyrion: I suppose I’ll have to kill the Mountain myself. Won’t that make for a great song.

      Bronn: I hope to hear them sing it one day.

      • I thought that exchange was just a little dark humor among friends; and after both Jaime and Bronn declined, it was the setup for Oberyn’s “I will be your champion” speech. In that sense, the “gun” was hung and already fired.

      Besides. there hasn’t been any real history or animus between Tyrion and Gregor. Unless I missed something.

      • By the way,,, . I think I’m suffering from brain freeze or something. I know The Mountain is on Arya’s kill list. For the life of me, I can’t remember why. Was it because Gregor was in charge of the torturers at Harrenhal?

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    58. I thought that exchange was just a little dark humor among friends; and after both Jaime and Bronn declined, it was the setup for Oberyn’s “I will be your champion” speech. In that sense, the “gun” was hung and already fired.

      Yeah it was. But when you put that quote in the context of who might kill the mountain, well, you can read it the other way. Whatever, fun idea to think about.

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    59. Ten Bears:
      • By the way,,, . I think I’m suffering from brain freeze or something. I know The Mountain is on Arya’s kill list. For the life of me, I can’t remember why. Was it because Gregor was in charge of the torturers at Harrenhal?

      Yes, it was. I’m actually in the process of rewatching the series now, and I watched that episode yesterday where she first starts reciting her list.

      I’m also watching some of the episodes again with the commentary tracks on, and the directors, writers, and actors don’t waste any time praising Maisie’s performance. In the episode where she has that long conversation with Yoren, Bryan Cogman gushes over how skillfully she conveys Arya getting the idea of her death list when she hears Yoren’s story about his brother.

      Also, very subtle detail I picked up in the introduction to Brienne — Catelyn calls her “Lady” Brienne, and Brienne responds with, “And as you please, Brienne is enough. I’m no Lady.” At that, Catelyn smiles just a little, which to me says she’s thinking of Arya.

      Still after so many rewatches, I notice small details like this that I hadn’t before!

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    60. Enharmony1625,

      Then in S7e4, you probably picked up on the callback to – or inversion of – Arya’s customary retort “I’m not a lady” when someone calls her “My Lady,” First, Brienne stops herself from saying “I’m not a lady” when Pod calls her “My Lady,” Then later, I think we see the first time ever that Arya didn’t come back with “I’m not a lady” when someone called her “My Lady,”

      (Brienne and Pod watching Arya, Sansa and Bran together)

      Pod: “Catelyn Stark would be proud. You kept your vow.”
      Brienne: “I did next to nothing.”
      Pod: “You’re too hard on yourself, my lady.”
      Brienne: “I’m not a….Thank you, Podrick.”

      (Then later, when Arya shows up and asks to train with Brienne)

      ***
      Arya: “It’s been a while since I trained.”
      Brienne. “I can go and find the master of arms for you, my lady.”
      Arya: “He didn’t beat the Hound. You did. I want to train with you. You swore to serve both my mother’s daughters, didn’t you?
      Brienne: “Move aside, Podrick.”
      (Arya draws Needle)
      Brienne: “You can’t use that, my lady. It’s too small.”
      Arya: “I won’t cut you. Don’t worry.”
      Brienne. “I’ll try not to.”

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    61. Firannion,

      Sorry, I have been away for a couple days. The whole character development for Sandor part is why I’m thinking along the lines of Sandor not fighting his brother for revenge, but for another reason entirely that will be set up in season 8. Like Cersei ordering a hit on the Starks or something drastic like that…

      And as to Gregor’s exact death, I am imagining this will come out of left-field as well. But that’s not to say that Cleganebowl doesn’t happen… I was thinking it would happen, pretty much to a stalemate, and then something crazy happens to kill Gregor. Maybe Gregor is about to beat Sandor (because, I mean, look at the guy), but Brienne steps in at the last second and they have a two-on-one fight to beat the zombie.

      I don’t know, I’m expecting something crazy like that to happen.

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    62. Olli,

      This is right along the lines of what I was thinking. Except I was thinking Brienne would help instead of Arya, since she did try to kill him in their last one-on-one. And maybe come in after it has already started to help out.

      But definitely an impromptu fight instead of a formal one, mostly because I can’t really think of a reason for a formal fight this late in the game (I’m guessing it’ll take place in King’s Landing, which would most certainly be at the tail end of the season). In my personal fanfic scenario, I see this fight taking place in the middle of the Battle for Dawn, and Gregor and Sandor will also be taking out wights left and right on the battlefield while also dueling each other.

      Probably won’t happen but it’d be freakin’ cool to see.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Jaehaerys,

      A while back, another commenter (sorry; I forgot who) made the incisive observation that during Arya’s time at the House of Black and White, she learned that things aren’t always black and white: there are shades of grey.

      In particular, during Arya’s time in Braavos, the show went out of its way – twice – to demonstrate first that she was lying to herself when she insisted she hated the Hound (S5 game of faces with Jaqen 2.0), and then ultimately, admitting she had taken the Hound off her list because she had been confused and did … and did not want him dead anymore (S6 game of faces with the Waif).

      I think she’s going to acknowledge that he was far from the “Worst Sh*t in the Seven Kingdoms”; that he really was watching over her; and that he had been willing to sacrifice his own life – more than once – to keep her out of harm’s way.

      And that is how Sandor will go out – in a blaze of glory: conquering his fear of fire to save Arya’s life at the expense of his own.* If he’s got to fight FrankenGregor to stop him from carrying out a hit on either of the Stark girls, I’d be fine with that. So long as it’s not a revenge kill or a hate kill.

      * (I’ve already ordered a crate of Kleenex tissues and a bag of decoy onions.)

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    64. Just catching up on this article as I missed it originally and have to say some of those Scottish Isles would have some fantastic and unique scenery if they want to portray the North of Westeros in particular.

      Not sure I find much cause for excitement from the Mountains tease though, it could be anything:-)

        Quote  Reply

    65. Clob: Clob

      I think I read somewhere that D&D confirmed GRRM told them that the Hound returns but hadn’t figured out his individual end game as such so they had to create a lot.

        Quote  Reply

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