- Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season eight, episode one, “Winterfell.”
- The new season premiere of the HBO series introduced Harry Strickland and the Golden Company.
- The history of the Golden Company is explained in George R.R. Martin’s novel, “A Dance With Dragons.”
- Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.
Harry Strickland and the Golden Company arrived in King’s Landing during Sunday’s premiere of “Game of Thrones.”
During the season seven finale of the HBO drama, Cersei revealed to Jaime that she lied about Euron Greyjoy going home to prepare for the battle against the Night King and instead sent him to retrieve the Golden Company from Essos. Cersei took out a loan with the Iron Bank of Braavos in order to hire the company to fight for the Lannister army.
Their arrival fortifies Cersei’s army, an army she doesn’t intend to use against the dead.
So what exactly is the Golden Company?
The Golden Company is a group of mercenaries from Essos.
After arriving in Westeros, Captain Harry Strickland meets with Cersei in the throne room and tells her about his crew.
There are 20,000 men and 2,000 horses who made the journey across the Narrow Sea, but when Cersei asks about elephants, Strickland tells her that none were able to make the journey.
“They are excellent beasts, your grace, but not well-suited to long sea voyages,” he says.
The Golden Company have been mentioned on the series before.
On season four, Davos recommends Stannis hire the company to fight for him, but he refuses. Davos then claims that the company has 10,000 soldiers that could fight. Cersei later claims on season seven that the company has 20,000 men and that’s the number that’s again mentioned on season eight, but the 10,000 is more accurate to that of the novels. In George R.R. Martin’s “A Dance With Dragons,” it’s said that Strickland has “10,000 swords at his command” – which includes “500 knights, each with three horses” and “500 squires, with one mount apiece” – as well as “two dozen elephants.”
Also on season four, Daenerys points out that Jorah fought for the Golden Company before pledging his sword to her brother, Viserys.
As for the history of the company, one can once again turn to “A Dance With Dragons.”
It’s said that the company was formed by Bittersteel, a bastard son of Aegon the Unworthy, who tried to revolt against the king during the First Blackfyre Rebellion. When the revolt failed, those who participated began to flee across the Narrow Sea, including House Blackfyre. Bittersteel formed the company to keep the exiled soldiers together.
As Martin wrote in the novel:
“From that day to this, the men of the Golden Company had lived and died in the Disputed Lands, fighting for Myr or Lys or Tyrosh in their pointless little wars, and dreaming of the land their fathers had lost. They were exiles and sons of exiles, dispossessed and unforgiving…yet formidable fighters still.”
Who’s Captain Harry Strickland?
In the novels, Strickland is referred to as Homeless Harry. He is described as “portly, with a big round head, mild grey eyes, and thinning hair,” which is markedly different from his appearance on the series, where he’s played by Marc Rissmann.
The Stricklands were part of the Golden Company from the very beginning when Harry’s great-grandfather joined the rebellion.
Harry eventually became the captain, but he was known in the novels to complain about blisters on his feet.
More information about Harry may be revealed as the final season progresses.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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