A 'Game of Thrones' actor just teased the return of a mysterious character

Ian McShaneFrancois Durand/GettyActor Ian McShane in 2011.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones,” including speculation of upcoming events.
“Game of Thrones” fans are desperate for hints about season six, filming of which has been underway since July of this year. Pouring over casting announcements and actors’ social media accounts has already provided some clues, but now we have a concrete teaser.

Back in August, Entertainment Weekly announced actor Ian McShane was cast for an unknown role in season six. Now McShane has told Pop Goes the News a juicy tidbit about his upcoming appearance: “I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again. I’ll leave it at that.”

Whoa. This sounds pretty huge.

The first obvious candidate for this returning “somebody” is Jon Snow. Fans were devastated during the season five finale when Jon was brutally attacked and left for dead. But we think we know who will get him out of that pickle, and it’s not a man.

Instead, there’s another likely candidate for the character McShane’s part will unveil: The Hound.

But wait, isn’t the Hound dead? Last time we saw him at the end of season four, the Hound was suffering dire wounds, and Arya refused to mercy-kill him.

Arya and the HoundHelen Sloan/HBOThe Hound was definitely looking close to death at the end of season four.

But if you’re 100% sure the Hound actually died, it means you haven’t been paying close enough attention to fan theories. One of the favourites passed around is known as “Cleganebowl.” For a full explainer, read the write up we did during season five.

The short version is this: Fans believe the Hound was rescued from his mortal wounds by a priest named the Elder Brother, and he’s living as a silent monk while he recovers. The conclusion of the theory states the Hound will eventually be called to fight against his brother, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, in a trial-by-combat.

The Mountain was also presumed dead, or at the very least grievously wounded, but the season five finale gave viewers a glimpse at what we’re sure is a zombified Mountain ready for battle against his brother.

The Mountain Gregor Clegane Game of ThronesHBO‘Ser Robert Strong’ is almost certainly an un-dead Mountain.

So what does this have to do with Ian McShane? Well, wealso know casting was done for a character who ties into the “Cleganebowl” theory. Vanity Fair reported a casting call for a priest “in his 40s or 50s. A gruff ex-soldier who found religion. Now a no-nonsense rural priest who ministers to the poor of the countryside. He’s salt-of-the-earth man who has weathered many battles.”

This description fits along with the idea of the Elder Brother (and might combine the Elder Brother with another priestly man named Septon Meribald). It’s not far-fetched to assume Ian McShane is playing this Elder Brother/Septon Meribald hybrid. And if that is the case, he could be the person who brings back the Hound.

“Cleganebowl” is sounding less and less far-fetched every day. Thanks for the latest clue, Ian McShane.

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