'Game of Thrones': 5 possibilities for Jim Broadbent's mystery role

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When winter returns next summer, it will come equipped with a new Oscar-winning force in the mix: Jim Broadbent, entering the realm of Game of Thrones in an unknown but "significant" role.

In previous years, divining the specifics behind Broadbent's role wouldn't take too much mental gymnastics, thanks to the steady presence of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin's novel series on which Thrones is based. But beginning with season six, the show has more or less moved beyond the scope of the currently published books, in virtually every single major storyline — and the suddenly unpredictable nature of the show is only becoming more difficult as it heads toward the end game.

With that in mind, the list of suspects for Broadbent's new arrival in Westeros is thinner than in years past. Here are five possible scenarios:

Read more: 'Game of Thrones' Enlists Jim Broadbent for Season 7

Maester Marwyn

Also known as "Marwyn the Mage," he's one of the archmaesters of the Citadel in Oldtown. Though he boasts a rougher physical description than Broadbent, Marwyn enters Martin's novels in a brief but pivotal moment at the end of the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, interacting with the Citadel's newest arrival, Samwell Tarly, and seemingly on a collision course with Daenerys Targaryen as well. Sounds like an important enough figure for someone of Broadbent's capabilities.

Maester Yandel

In what would be a fun Easter egg for the deepest cut fans of the series, Broadbent could be tapped for Yandel, the fictional author of the actual The World of Ice and Fire, a coffee table book that serves as an in-universe encyclopedia about Westeros history, cultures in Essos, and everything else known about the lands beyond. He does not appear with an active role in A Song of Ice and Fire, at least not yet, but adding him to Thrones would certainly fuel fan theories about the Citadel's role in the show's meta story.

A Maester of a Different Color

Maybe he's Marwyn, maybe he's Yandel, or maybe he's a show-only invention. In any case, the likeliest possibility sees Broadbent interacting with Sam's story at the Citadel, given the increasing importance of that corner of Westeros, and Broadbent's innate ability to lend gravitas to the role of a studious authority figure. Plus, Broadbent arriving late in the story with game-changing information about how to defeat the White Walkers would make for a curious echo of his similar role in the Harry Potter franchise as Professor Slughorn, the man who reveals the secret behind Voldemort's hidden weakness.

The Mad King

Stepping far away from the Oldtown of it all, and peering deeper into the past, could we see Broadbent in the role of Mad King Aerys? The legendary villain appeared in brief flashbacks during season six, played by David Rintoul. But if Bran digs deeper into Westeros history, requiring further screen time for the Mad King, perhaps the production wants to bring in someone of Broadbent's caliber to heighten the role. It certainly wouldn't be the first time Game of Thrones recast a pivotal character midstream.

Another King Entirely

The secret's out: Jon Snow is a Targaryen, the hidden son of Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark. Now that the audience knows more about his true history, the show might pull the curtain back even further, plunging Bran and viewers alike deep into Targaryen lore in order to find out more about Jon's roots. This is where Broadbent could come in: he's a perfect pick for Jaehaerys the Wise, the fourth Targaryen king who may or may not be the person Jon Snow was named after.

Watch our season seven predictions in the video below:

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Game of Thrones Season 6 episode stills
(Photo courtesy Helen Sloan via HBO)
(Photo courtesy Macall B. Polay via HBO)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)
(Photo courtesy Macall B. Polay via HBO)
(Photo courtesy Helen Sloan via HBO)
(Photo courtesy Macall B. Polay via HBO)
(Photo courtesy Helen Sloan via HBO)
(Photo courtesy Macall B. Polay via HBO)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)

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