Buried in a Hollywood Reporter article about a Hollywood biopic is the interesting news that Lost’s Adewale Akkinuoye-Abgaje is joining Game of Thrones season 5 as a character not found in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The only thing we know right now is his character’s name, “Malko.”
There’s not much else to go on, though several outlets have suggested that Malko could hail from one of the nations or city-states of Essos—Braavos or Meereen, for starters. Or perhaps he’s from the house of Dorne, since we’ll be seeing much more of that next season. There’s also the chance that he’ll exist solely in next season’s new flashbacks (something Mr. Eko is doubtless very used to).
More important than Malko’s origin is what his creation means for Game of Thrones as a whole. We’ve long known that the HBO series would eventually and necessarily diverge from George R.R. Martin’s books, and we’ve already seen certain canon characters not make it to the TV adaptation. (Oh Coldhands, we never knew ye…at any point.) But by adding an entirely new character, the show markedly sets itself apart from its source material, fracturing the plot into new possibilities that could make season 5 (and later seasons) deviate even more drastically from the books.