Although Game of Thrones is only 6 episodes away from its conclusion, the Golden Company are being introduced for the first time within the show’s universe to fight with the Lannister and Greyjoy forces. Beware of spoilers below.
At the end of season 7, after agreeing to send her army North to support Jon and Daenerys’s fight against the Army of the Dead, Queen Cersei revealed to Jaime that her actual plan was to hire the Golden Company to fortify her army, so that she would be ready to conquer her enemies once they had weakened themselves fighting in the North. Now that Jon and Dany have defeated the Night King and his army in the North, Cersei needs the Golden Company on her side more than ever if she hopes to defend her place on the Iron Throne.
Here’s what we know about the Golden Company:
They Are Sellswords From Essos
The Golden Company is an organization of mercenaries based in Essos, consisting of tens of thousands of infantry and cavalrymen. In exchange for payment, the Golden Company contractually pledge that they will fight on the side of whoever has paid them. Cersei revealed to Jaime that after capturing Highgarden, they were able to use that new wealth to hire her army of Golden Company sellswords.
According to WinterIsComing.net, the Iron Bank has hired the Golden Company to collect their debts, and their willingness to partner with them adds to their credibility.
Davos Seaworth Wanted Stannis Baratheon to Hire the Golden Company Back in Season 4
Although this is the first time viewers will get to see the Golden Company, they have been referenced in past seasons by major characters. Davos Seaworth suggested to Stannis that he hire the sellswords, who have never broken a contract so long as they’re paid, saying “Westeros is not the world, your grace. We need to look east for ships and men. Ten thousand skilled soldiers fight for the Golden Company.” Stannis eventually took Davos’s suggestion and helped the Night’s Watch defeat the Wildlings in the North. This introduction proved that, with enough money, the Golden Company army can be bought by anyone for the benefit of their fighting cause. Daario Naharis was a sellsword for the Second Sons before he fell in love with Dany and joined her cause, and Jorah Mormont revealed that he, too, was once a part of the Golden Company.
Harry Strickland Is Their Leader
Harry Strickland, played by Marc Rissmann, will be introduced in season 8 as the head of the Golden Company. In a YouTube interview with DW Euromaxx, Marc Rissmann said “I’m playing Harry Strickland, who if you google a little bit and read the books – which is already there – is a leader of the Golden Company… I cannot tell too much, but if you have seen season 7, and especially the ending, Greyjoy goes to a place to get the Golden Company. So maybe you can assume what we’re about to do.”
In the books on which the series is based, Harry Strickland was introduced in the fifth and most recent novel, The Winds of Winter. In the novel, A Wiki of Ice and Fire points out that Harry Strickland is described as “genial” and an “old maid” by the other characters he interacts with, and his description includes the adjective portly and balding. Griff, another character in the books who has not been introduced on the show, said that Strickland “is afraid to fight. How could they have chosen him to take the Blackheart’s place? He would wait until all seven hells were frozen if he could rather than risk another bout of blisters.”