This season of Game of Thrones is going to run right up to the end of George R.R. Martin's published material, which means that the next one is going to be full of all sorts of spoilers for the heretofore unpublished Winds of Winter. And now, thanks to leaked casting documents obtained by Watchers on the Wall, we can read the tea leaves to try to figure out which plotlines will be most important to the Song of Ice and Fire endgame. There will be spoilers, so we'll place the roles being cast after the jump. Here we go!
Pirate, man in his 40s to late-50s. He's "an infamous pirate who has terrorized seas all around the world. Cunning, ruthless, with a touch of madness." He’s a dangerous-looking man. A very good part this season.
Father. Aged 50s to 60s, he’s one of the greatest soldiers in Westeros — a humorless martinet, severe and intimidating. He demands martial discipline in the field and in his home. It's described as "a very good part" for next year, which will be "centrally involved" in a protagonist’s story line.
Mother, in her 50s. She’s a sweet, plump, and adoring mother, and has a soft spot for one of her children who benefits from her decency.
Sister, in her early 20s. She’s a kind, friendly, and unpretentious woman.
Brother, in his early-to-mid-20s. Athletic, a good hunter, an excellent swordsman, manly, not particularly bright, but the favorite child of the father.
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 a salt-of-the-earth man who has weathered many battles.
Leading Actress, in her early 40s, she’s an elegant actress with a traveling theater company. Fun, charismatic, rum-drinking actress in the troupe.
Priestess. Mid-20s to early-30s. Any ethnicity — she’s beautiful, intense, and magnetic.
Fierce Warrior, a tall man in his 30s or 40s with a powerful physique. They’re looking for someone with “mixed ethnicity” for the role.
A large boy, for an actor who is 10 to 12, but playing 7 or 8. He’s described as “a clever boy” who seems too large for his age. He’s big and tall, but not fat. “Characterful squat features” are a plus for this part. It’s specified that this is a one-time appearance.
12-year-old boy, with brown hair and blue eyes. He needs to use a Northern accent. He has scenes where he has to spar with a wooden sword. The length of the role isn’t specified.
7-year-old boy, with dark brown hair, a narrow face, and green eyes. He has a Northern accent. He also spars with the wooden sword, so it’s safe to assume it’s the same scene. This role is similarly open-ended, the description only stating that the character is being "introduced."
As always, the possibility remains that there are more major roles to be cast, but we can roll with these for now. Let's go role-by-role to see what we can expect next season.
This is almost certainly Theon's uncle Euron Greyjoy, the sexy evil Mick Jagger of Westeros. His inclusion means we will get at least some version of A Feast for Crows' Iron Islands plotline, which many fans feared was lost completely after it went missing from season five. Though, of course, just looking at the way Feast's Dorne story line has been handled onscreen should be proof that we probably won't get the whole thing. Judging from the seeming absence of Victarion and Aeron Greyjoy, it's a safe bet that the Kingsmoot will be cut entirely, and we'll just skip straight to Euron invading the Reach. That plot hasn't quite paid off in the books yet, but this seems to be a sign that Euron will be a major antagonist in the last two books. Especially considering how close he is geographically to Sam ...
Father, Mother, Sister, Brother
Speaking of Sam, the next four roles being cast seem likely to be the Tarlys, a family that would be incredibly messed-up in the real world, but is generally only of average messed-up-ness in Westeros. Randyll Tarly's allegiances in the War of the Five Kings haven't been made clear, so he'll probably be staying home with the rest of the family at Horn Hill in the TV show, thus indicating that Sam, too, will make it to the Reach next year. Sam's Oldtown plot was the gun hanging on the mantelpiece throughout A Feast for Crows — after being set up beautifully in the prologue, it got all of one rushed chapter — but these castings combined with Euron's make it seem likely that something exciting will happen there. Will the Ironborn make it all the way up the Honeywine? (Also, we're probably getting Oldtown in the opening credits. So cool!) In the books, Sam's mother is cousins with Stannis's wife, thus making Sam and Shireen second-cousins, but since that didn't come up in this scene, the show will probably elide that tiny world-building detail.
This one sounded like Aeron at first, until it was pointed out that the youngest Greyjoy brother does very little ministering. It's safer to assume this character will be some mix of Septon Meribald and the Elder Brother, so any actor who wants to win an Emmy next year should bone up on this speech for their audition. Since Brienne's been taken so far afield from her book story line, we can't say whether or not Meribald's inclusion points to anything specific that will happen to her in Winds, but if a trip to the Quiet Isle is in store, that could be a sign that we haven't seen the last of the Hound. Could all the CleganeBowl hype be worth it after all?
Leading Actress, Fierce Priestess, Warrior
These characters are vague enough that they could show up anywhere. The actress could be from the part of Winds we've read already, while the priestess and the warrior sound like figures who might pop up in Daenerys's adventures to come. If so, the priestess would seem to confirm suspicion that Dany is going to have some sort of run-in with followers of R'hllor — fire and blood, indeed.
Large boy, 7-year-old boy, 12-year-old boy
Bran's plot in A Dance With Dragons climaxes with him witnessing generations of Stark history through the weirwood network. When he returns next year, it seems safe to assume we'll experience this greensight through copious flashbacks. This seems like it could be our introduction to a look back at younger versions of King Robert, Ned, and Ned's brother Brandon. (Sean Bean, WotW notes, has green eyes.) That alone doesn't point toward anything in Winds, but it could be a sign that the weirdwoods could be the way we finally get confirmation that R+L=J.