Exciting news for fans of House Greyjoy—it seems that Game of Thrones will be returning to the Iron Islands, after all. In an interesting bit of casting news, HBO has confirmed that Danish actor Pilou Asbæk will be playing Euron Greyjoy in the upcoming sixth season. Best known for his appearances in the sci-fi action thriller Lucy, Showtime’s decadent historical fever dream The Borgias, and the hugely popular Danish political drama Borgen, Asbæk joins Max von Sydow and Ian McShane as one of the major new additions to the series’ cast.
So, what does that mean for the show? (Spoilers follow for those who have not read the Song of Ice and Fire books….)
Until now, it was unclear whether the series would be picking up with the events that unfold in A Feast for Crows, in which various Greyjoys and a handful of ironmen lay claim to the Seastone Chair, resulting in the first kingsmoot in thousands of years. Key players include Aeron Damphair (always the life of the party), Asha (renamed Yara on the show), Euron Crow’s Eye, as well as Victarion Greyjoy. HBO has yet to announce who will have the pleasure of playing Victarion, a character that George R.R. Martin has described as “a dullard and a brute” as well as “dumb as a stump.” Fun!
In the books, much of the kingsmoot-y drama initially centers around whether the ironmen would accept a female ruler (Asha certainly has her supporters), but eventually boils down to the power struggle between Euron and his younger brother Victarion, who (along with Aeron Damphair) are simultaneously locked in a solid three-way tie for Westeros’ Creepiest Uncle (and that’s a tough category—poor Asha. And Theon, I guess, but he’s got his own thing going these days…) It certainly doesn’t help that Euron and Victarion have been estranged for years after a deeply disturbing and violent falling out that led to murder and exile…
Of course, there’s a chance that the HBO showrunners might completely change or truncate the plot to suit their needs; and frankly, I already find myself hoping that they find a way to keep things moving right along, in terms of pace. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the way the Dorne plotline was handled in the most recent season of the show, and a little exposure to the ironborn goes a long way. Properly deployed, the continuing adventures of the Greyjoy clan could be great—just as long as we’re not spending massive chunks of the ten new episodes wallowing in the gritty, grizzled, drizzly, oppressive dampness of life in the Iron Islands, buffeted by repeated mutterings about paying the iron price and He Who Dwells Beneath the Waves…
But that’s just me—I’m sure there are plenty of Greyjoy fans out there who’ll be delighted to spend more quality time with the Lord Reaper of Pyke and company, so feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know what you’re hoping to see in the coming season! And while we’re at it, who should play Victarion?
Bridget McGovern is the managing editor of Tor.com and still wants to know who Al Swearengen will be playing this season.