[This article contains potential SPOILERS for Game of Thrones season 6 and the Song of Ice and Fire series.]
During Game of Thrones season 5, the HBO series only briefly began delving into material that has yet to appear in any of George R.R. Martin's novels. For season 6 it will be quite the opposite, with a large chunk of the season's ten episodes covering brand new, never before read material and only a little of the events that remain from book five. This has put book readers in a interesting dilemma: continue watching the show, knowing it will spoil events from Martin's unpublished novels, or try and remain clear of spoilers while waiting for book six?
Avoiding any and all knowledge of what transpires during Game of Thrones season 6 will be a Herculean feat, but if that's truly your plan, turn back now. Much of the season 6 casting we've learned pertains to characters already known to book readers, as is the case with the recently cast Pilou Asbæk. This latest bit of casting, however, is for a character book readers haven't met and may never meet - that is, depending on how different the HBO series and Martin's novels truly become.
Earlier in the year, we learned of several casting breakdowns for Game of Thrones season 6, including listings for a family: father, mother, and two children. Book readers quickly guessed that these characters would be Samwell Tarly's family, who Sam speaks of often but - besides his father - never actually appear on the page. We didn't know for sure these characters would be the Tarly's (though Ian McShane's casting makes him a strong contender for the stern patriarch), but this latest casting update confirms that at least one other Tarly will appear.
Today, EW revealed that Game of Thrones has cast Freddie Stroma (UnREAL) as Sam's brother, Dickon. Unlike Sam, Dickon is described as athletic and a talented swordsman, making him their father's favorite even though he's the younger of the two Tarly sons. And compared to John Bradley, who plays Sam, Stroma embodies everything a high-ranking lord would look for in a son and heir. That's how Sam ended up at The Wall in the first place: in his father's eyes, he didn't fit the part.
Last we saw Sam, he and Gilly were off on their way to Oldtown where Sam will begin his training to become the Night's Watch new maester. It's along their journey we expect the two to make a stopover at Horn Hill, the Tarly homestead, and Sam will likely persuade Gilly to remain there. Yet, considering the already strained relations between Sam and his family, this will be one awkward homecoming for Sam.
How do you expect Sam's visit with his family will go, now that we know he'll at the very least be reunited with his younger and more favored brother? Let us hear your thought in the comments below!
Game of Thrones Season 6 will premiere on HBO in 2016.