Ian McShane
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Ian McShane has dropped a big hint about his mysterious “Game of Thrones” character, who will appear for one episode in season six of the HBO drama.

“My character really is like an ex-warrior who has become a peacenik,” the actor said during an interview with BBC Breakfast. “So I have this group of peaceful… sort of like a cult, a peaceful tribe. I bring back a much-loved character everybody thinks is dead.”

McShane has previously mentioned that he’ll be resurrecting a character, telling a reporter, “I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again.” But the new information about his still-unnamed character could offer fans a clue about both his role and that of his much-loved friend.

SPOILER WARNING: Details about George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels follow.

McShane’s hint that his character will be bringing back someone dearly departed may lead many fans to assume he’s talking about Jon Snow, who died in the season-five finale (although most fans do think we’ll see him again, given that Kit Harington has been spotted on set), but readers of George R.R. Martin’s novels may be more inclined to believe the character in question is none other than Arya Stark’s old traveling companion the Hound.

In the books, while looking for Sansa on the Quiet Isle, Brienne of Tarth meets a man called the Elder Brother, a former warrior who fought for House Targaryen at the Battle of the Trident before renouncing his past and embracing the Faith of the Seven. He explains to her that the Hound is dead and buried. However, readers of Martin’s “A Feast for Crows” have noted a Gravedigger in the background of the scene, described as an enormous man with a scarf covering his face and sporting injuries similar to those inflicted on the Hound, although the books have yet to confirm the Gravedigger’s true identity. Adding fuel to this theory is the fact that Hound actor Rory McCann has been spotted on set for the upcoming season. If you want to fall down the Gravedigger/Hound theory rabbit hole you can do it here.

Last year, the first four episodes of season five leaked online before the season premiere, leading HBO to decide that no press screeners will be distributed for the hotly anticipated season six in order to maintain secrecy. Since the show has now overtaken the majority of what’s been adapted from Martin’s novels, the plot for the new season is a mystery to fans of the books and the show alike, and we’ll have to wait until April 24 to know anything for sure.

“Thrones” won’t be the only fantasy book adaptation in which McShane will be appearing during the upcoming year; it was recently announced that McShane has been cast as Mr. Wednesday in the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods,” exec produced by McShane’s former “Kings” creator Michael Green and Bryan Fuller.

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