When Game Of Thrones returns for its sixth season this spring, it will come imbued with a level of mystery unseen in any of its preceding five seasons. Now that D. B. Weiss and David Benioff’s award-winning drama is officially overtaking George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire novels, even people who have read the 4000-plus page collection multiple times will be forced watch the plot unfurl before their eyes, as though they were simple, unwashed small folk. So, it should come as no surprise that every iota of news from the set is being dissected and analyzed online in the hopes that fans can piece together the story before they’re forced to enjoy it in real time.
Well, it looks like Ian McShane—who we already know was cast in a one-time “key” role—may have just provided a major piece of information for those looking to intentionally ruin the surprise. While talking with Pop Goes the News at the Los Cabos International Film Festival, the Deadwood star offered this cryptic detail: “I’ll give you one hint. I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again. I’ll leave it at that. [It’s] a one-off episode. That’s why I did it. But I can’t reveal anything, otherwise I will never work again.”
If that hint doesn’t mean much, it’s probably because you don’t spend your time combing through Martin’s books looking for tiny acorns that will grow into mighty oaks of narrative in upcoming installments. If so, you should probably just stop reading right here, unless you want what is likely to be a big reveal to be ruined. Okay, here we go:
Remember Sandor “the Hound” Clegane? Remember how Arya left him for dead in the Riverlands after Brianne of Tarth handed him his ass at the end of season four? Well, according to one very popular and well-sourced fan theory, Sandor Clegane did not actually die from his wounds, but was taken in by a kindly man of the cloth named Septon Meribald, who nurses him back to health, helps him find some much-needed peace, and puts him to work digging graves for the many corpses left in the wake of the War of the Five Kings. McShane’s hint leads us to believe that he has been cast as Meribald, and that the “somebody… that you think you’re never going to see again” is Clegane.
What does this mean for the story overall? It’s hard to say. It might simply be an engine for showing that redemption is possible even the most damaged characters, or it could mean that the also popular, but way crazier fan theory known as Cleganebowl may be coming to pass. Gods help us all.