Mark Gatiss will not appear in season eight! But will the Iron Bank still play a role?

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It appears the war of the living against the dead (and of the living against other living) will have to do without the backing of the Iron Bank of Braavos, or at least without Tycho Nestoris as its figurehead: contrary to earlier insinuations by the actor, Mark Gatiss has confirmed he will not return to Game of Thrones for its final season!

In an interview with ShortList, mostly about League of Gentlemen and Sherlock, the British actor is candid when asked about his chances of survival in season eight:

“I’m not in it, so I guess I survive,” he surmises. “Although they might just mention offhand that I’ve had my head bitten off by a dragon off-screen or something.”

Back in 2017, after filming season seven, Gatiss indicated he still had two more episodes left, or that’s what the producers thought at the time, at least. If so, plans have obviously changed since then. Though the showrunners have come through often in terms of promising a cast member they would eventually return (Joe Dempsie as Gendry being the prime example), this isn’t the first time a minor role is cut when the scripts for next season are written and they realize there wasn’t a place for them after all.

Though we shouldn’t expect Gatiss to act as the face of the Iron Bank of Braavos anymore, it seems unavoidable for them to be at least mentioned, considering where things were left off with Cersei and Euron last season. The bank will probably have an off-screen presence, as they often do despite their representative Tycho only appearing a handful of times. Remember what Tywin said: “One stone crumbles and another takes its place, and the temple holds its form for a thousand years or more. And that’s what the Iron Bank is: a temple. We all live in its shadow and almost none of us know it; you can’t run from them, you can’t cheat them, you can’t sway them with excuses; if you owe them money and you don’t want to crumble yourself, you pay it back.”

35 responses

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    1. Thank you, Luka. I hope the IB has a way of pressuring Cersei anyway. It would be one more factor in her inevitably going loco.

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    2. With six episodes left, there simply isn’t enough time to devote to all of the third- and fourth-tier characters, unless you want to give them a 15-second Benjenified sendoff.

      Cheese Boy: “We’ll be serving cheese…Later!”
      Hot Pie: “Take this bread and go… Now!”
      Bernadette: “Look at my new androgynous ‘do!”
      Captured Wight: “I’m not dead yet…I’m getting better!”
      Volantis Red Priestess: “From Wolverine’s ninja sidekick…to this?”
      Septa Unella: “I coulda been on the beach, earning 15% interest.” *

      * Nod to Hans Gruber (the late great Alan Rickman) in “Die Hard.”

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    3. HelloThere,

      Yeah, that was my thought as well as I read the article. The Iron Bank will be “present” in a way through the Golden Company, so it will play a role next season, but perhaps they didn’t see the need to bring Tycho Nestoris back. He probably served his purpose last season as being a supporter of Cersei.

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    4. I think it’s good they’re not having him in a scene again. There are really only two things to do with him and neither of them are necessary. One would be to simply chat with Cersei again about payments (more loan talk) and the other would be for her to have him killed (which wouldn’t benefit her). We don’t need any of that nor do I care to watch it.

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    5. Oh darn, I have to say that I harbored a small hope that we’d see Cersei foiled because she’s not as smart as she thinks she is. In her S7 conversation with Tycho she made what I’m sure she thought was a clever observation, that the Iron Bank’s business in Slavers’ Bay was disrupted by Daenerys. At the time he didn’t correct her, and I thought that perhaps that was going to come back to haunt her, e.g. if the GC turned up to fight on Daenerys’s side instead of with Cersei. In the books the anti-slavery sentiment of Braavos is very clear, so only a ignoramus (hi, Cersei!) would think that the Iron Bank was invested in the economic activity of Slavers’ Bay. Perhaps that’s not true in the show. Anyway, not gonna happen.

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    6. Gwidhiel,

      I was also holding out hope that he would return, especially with Cersei’s dealings with the Iron Bank being a plot point in AFfC (?), and the fact that she wasn’t as smart and cunning as Tywin would have been, despite her believing that to be true. But I’m holding onto my theory, as you also mention, that the GC could still potentially switch sides and join Dany.

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    7. I’m hoping that the last two books will reveal the Iron Bank to be playing a much more complex and pervasive role in transcontinental politics than most of the players suspect – just as in real life, wars are mostly fought for economic reasons rather than the stated ideologies, once you dig down a little deeper. But the TV show isn’t going to deal in such subtleties because TV.

      PS: Kindly spare me the knee-jerk snarky remarks about the last two books never happening. That ceased to be clever long ago.

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    8. Dark Sister: But I’m holding onto my theory, as you also mention, that the GC could still potentially switch sides and join Dany.

      Yes, I agree that seems like a real possibility – either because of the Iron Bank, or because Euron is a self-serving wild card (I found it hard to believe that Cersei would trust him to serve as her emissary to the GC, but that was pretty minor in comparison to other things S7 asked me to accept without question).

      But I really would have enjoyed Mark Gatiss breaking into a sneer at Cersei if there had been a confrontation between them in S8. Or even if they didn’t put the two in the same room again, to just have Tycho smile contemptuously while remarking on Cersei’s stupidity would have been satisfying. Oh well.

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    9. Firannion: I’m hoping that the last two books will reveal the Iron Bank to be playing a much more complex and pervasive role in transcontinental politics than most of the players suspect – just as in real life, wars are mostly fought for economic reasons rather than the stated ideologies, once you dig down a little deeper.

      Me too.

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    10. Somewhat off-topic, but just thinking about Cersei’s alliance with Euron, which is supposed to be a marriage alliance, and two thoughts come to mind: First, why didn’t she actually marry him prior to sending him off with Iron Bank gold to contract with the GC? Second, if they do end up getting married, wouldn’t it be weirdly fitting for Euron to be the one to kill Cersei? He meets the valonqar criterion. And since she had her first husband killed, there’d be some poetic justice to her being killed by her second husband.

      I actually rather doubt that’ll happen, but it would be an interesting end to Cersei’s story.

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    11. My prediction:
      Theon will defeat Euron (and saving his sister), which result Theon having the gold from the Iron Bank. Theon and Yara will use this money to buy the GC for Dany. My prediction is that Daario will be part of that deal.

      Cercei being Cercei will need to blame somebody she can hurt right away, so she blame the Iron Bank which result in the death of Tycho. His death will happen of screen,or they just use a model for his head on a spike.

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    12. Gwidhiel: In the books the anti-slavery sentiment of Braavos is very clear, so only a ignoramus (hi, Cersei!) would think that the Iron Bank was invested in the economic activity of Slavers’ Bay.

      I never understood this criticism (whether one believes it’s Cersei or the show making the mistake). Braavos is anti-slavery, as it was founded by former slaves, but I fail to see how that means the most powerful bank in the world wouldn’t be involved in one of the most profitable ventures there is. It’s a bank. They’re not exactly known for their morality, or for keeping to the letter of the law, if it means making more money. This reminds me of some book readers’ obsession with the rules of succession, as if that really mattered, when in reality whoever wins by force will find a way to legitimize their rule.

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    13. Luka Nieto: I never understood this criticism (whether one believes it’s Cersei or the show making the mistake). Braavos is anti-slavery, as it was founded by former slaves, but I fail to see how that means the most powerful bank in the world wouldn’t be involved in one of the most profitable ventures there is.

      Well, it’s certainly an open question, but it’s a bit hard to reconcile the possibility of The Iron Bank turning a blind eye towards slavery when:

      the Sealords of Braavos have opposed slavery in all its forms and have fought many a war against slavers and their allies. (The World of Ice & Fire, p. 272)

      It’s possible that one of Braavos’s oldest institutions is playing by a different rulebook than what’s enshrined in the city’s founding laws and the principles pursued overseas by its military leaders. But it does seem like that could lead to the Iron Bank betting against its own financial interests at times. Since I don’t believe we have a definitive answer one way or another, my guess is that the Iron Bank probably doesn’t invest with slavers.

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    14. kevin1989: Theon and Yara will use this money to buy the GC for Dany.

      I can’t see why the Greyjoys would have any particular loyalty to Dany in Season 8.

      Unless she’s provided some assistance to Theon that we’re as yet unaware of, then their alliance is surely dead in the water. Part of the agreement was that Dany help them “murder an uncle or two”, reclaim the Iron Islands and allow them their independence.

      As of S7E3 she’s not been upholding her side of the bargain and if Theon kills Euron on his own, then I’m not sure why he and Yara would choose to come riding to Dany’s rescue.

      As things stand, I’d say Theon in particular would be far more likely to rally to the side of Jon / the Starks (“you’re a Greyjoy and you’re a Stark”, “so why are you still talking to me”, “I can never make amends to your family for the things I’ve done”, “I had a choice. And I chose wrong”) and fulfil his original promise to Robb.

      Unless there’s some development in the relationship between Dany and the Greyjoys in Season 8, it’d feel downright bizarre if they showed any overt loyalty to her cause after the events of Season 7.

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    15. Tono,

      Half of this show has been about how tenuous and self-serving oaths can be.

      All the way back to Jaime questioning which of his contradictory oaths he’s supposed to honour, through Jon’s apparent betrayal of his oaths (“people work together when it suits them… they’re loyal when it suits them”), all the way up to the Tarlys choosing to honour their oath to the Crown over their liege lords, at the expense of their lives (“there are no easy choices in war”).

      The Greyjoys pledged their support for Dany’s claim to the throne, along with their fleet, in return for her helping them kill Euron, reclaim the Iron Islands and recognising their independence, at the expense of their “way of life” (reaving, raiding Westeros etc).

      So far, the Greyjoys have been true to their side of the bargain. They provided their fleet, they followed Dany’s invasion plans… and they sacrificed almost their entire fleet and Yara has been a hostage for months(?), with no apparent overtures made to recover her.

      If Theon manages to defeat Euron, rescue Yara and effectively claim the Iron Islands without any help from Dany, then I’m not sure what would compel them to go rushing to her aid.

      The fact that she might recognise their independence, if she succeeds in winning the Iron Throne, at the potential expense of their lives and their way of life? Not exactly compelling considering that so far she’s failed to live up to her side of the bargain.

      I just can’t envisage, especially after Jon and Theon’s scene in the finale, a scenario in which Theon defeats Euron, rescues Yara (or not) and the first thought is, “Quick, now! To Westeros! The noble dragon queen needs us!”.

      I could, however, envisage a scenario in which Theon is faced with the same sort of dilemma he faced previously, to round off his story arc.

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    16. kevin1989:
      My prediction:
      Theon will defeat Euron (and saving his sister), which result Theon having the gold from the Iron Bank. Theon and Yara will use this money to buy the GC for Dany. My prediction is that Daario will be part of that deal.

      I doubt it will have much to do with the Iron bank other than it’s called “Iron”. I don’t think gold will be that important when fighting the WWs. I don’t think Theon will get involved with the bank and the gold won’t matter much anyway. I do see it’s definitely in Theon’s arc path to rescue Yara. I am hoping to see that scene in Season 8. It will be tough in hand to hand combat. Euron is pretty psycho and wild in up close combat. Perhaps Theon will have a bow. However a sea death would be great justice. Theon really has to come through. That’s one of my check off must sees for Season 8.

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    17. Luka Nieto: I never understood this criticism (whether one believes it’s Cersei or the show making the mistake). Braavos is anti-slavery, as it was founded by former slaves, but I fail to see how that means the most powerful bank in the world wouldn’t be involved in one of the most profitable ventures there is. It’s a bank. They’re not exactly known for their morality, or for keeping to the letter of the law, if it means making more money. This reminds me of some book readers’ obsession with the rules of succession, as if that really mattered, when in reality whoever wins by force will find a way to legitimize their rule.

      Yes, but if someone with zero claim to the throne seizes power (like Cersei, Ellaria, and others), you’d think people would have a problem with it. It didn’t make sense for Dorne to fall in line with the bastard lover of Oberyn (who wasn’t even the ruler) who murdered the last remaining members of the Martell family.

      Obviously power hungry individuals will ignore rules of succession, but there’s no reason why powerful lords should be willing to go along with that.

      Fact of the matter is that people like Olenna and Ellaria came to be the rulers of their respective regions in a way that doesn’t really make sense. At least Olenna was a highly respected and intelligent woman, so it’s a little easier to swallow (even though the idea that misogynist medieval lords would accept an old dowager who isn’t a Tyrell by birth seems slightly far fetched).

      But Ellaria and Cersei just have zero claim, so there should have been much more uproar.

      I agree with you about the Iron Bank though, and in any case I believe it is implied either in the books or in the world book that they are invested in the slave trade.

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    18. I was sure regular commenter Ser Not Appearing in this Series would respond to an article headlined, “Mark Gattis will not appear in season eight!”

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    19. Nick20: I agree with you about the Iron Bank though, and in any case I believe it is implied either in the books or in the world book that they are invested in the slave trade.

      And there are some theories & speculation that they could be involved with the Faceless Men as well. I don’t remember whether there are any concrete clues in the books to support this, but it’s an interesting idea that does make some logical sense. The FM charge based on the target, so assassinating someone like a king would be incredibly expensive, so it’s quite plausible that the IB could/have been involved in this either directly or indirectly.

      I have been curious about whether this might have been a reason to bring the FM and the IB back in season 8, but that looks a little less likely now.

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    20. Nick20,

      “Power resides where man believes it resides.” If you remember that quote you would realize that it makes perfect sense for Dorne and House Tyrell to fall behind Ellaria and Olenna. Besides, all the heirs were dead, so who else would they follow?

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    21. So one fewer person for Cersei to interact with next season, I really do wonder what she will be doing in the first few episodes assuming all the action is in the North. The only people in Kings Landing are Cersei, Mountain, Qyburn and maybe Bronn/Pod. Perhaps Euron and the Golden company will arrive in episode 2 or 3?

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    22. Dark Sister:
      Gwidhiel,

      I was also holding out hope that he would return, especially with Cersei’s dealings with the Iron Bank being a plot point in AFfC (?), and the fact that she wasn’t as smart and cunning as Tywin would have been, despite her believing that to be true. But I’m holding onto my theory, as you also mention, that the GC could still potentially switch sides and join Dany.

      But this wouldn’t really achieve anything of note, it could happen but why bring in some mercenaries just to switch sides and why would they follow Dany, she doesn’t have any money of note. They may switch and support Euron against Cersei or Dany if they did go down that route I suppose.

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    23. kevin1989:
      My prediction:
      Theon will defeat Euron (and saving his sister), which result Theon having the gold from the Iron Bank. Theon and Yara will use this money to buy the GC for Dany. My prediction is that Daario will be part of that deal.

      Cercei being Cercei will need to blame somebody she can hurt right away, so she blame the Iron Bank which result in the death of Tycho. His death will happen of screen,or they just use a model for his head on a spike.

      But logically how would Theon (with a small band of Iron born and one ship) defeat Euron who has an army and an Armada? The story does seem to indicate that may be coming but it feels widely far fetched in my opinion.

      Also I still don’t see any logical reason for the GC to come in and switch sides. In the books I believe they are supporting fAegon, my guess is they are just a force which Dany defeats when she arrives in Westeros before she zones in on Cersei. The show simply skipped this part and had Dany fight the Lannisters.

      Also why would Daario comeback, he’s hardly going to be happy Dany has fallen for Jon…

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    24. Jon Snowed: I really do wonder what she will be doing in the first few episodes assuming all the action is in the North. The only people in Kings Landing are Cersei, Mountain, Qyburn and maybe Bronn/Pod.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of intrigue with Varys somehow undermining Qyburn – perhaps by reclaiming the allegiance of his little birds.

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    25. Jon Snowed,

      It may be a good thing for her to have nobody to interact with, as far as I’m concerned.

      With only 6 episodes left, they don’t need to pad the episodes out with unnecessary updates on every character. With Cersei now so isolated we may need only to see her a few times in the first few episodes, basically to update us on her pregnancy, her mental state and the politics of King’s Landing, and leave most of the episodes to focus on what’s happening in The North.

      Cersei can then come back to the fore once everybody heads back down south. Her isolation could even be used to dramatic effect, to highlight a descent into madness or similar.

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    26. Hopefully they won’t end as loose thread even if Mark Gatiss isn’t involved. They have been major political player in show from season from and mentioned as important before that.

      Braavos has antislavery history, but most of all I believe they will newer support reinstatement dynasty of dragon lords -Daenerys even though she is supporting some of same ideas .

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