Fans of Game of Thrones can rejoice with some small casting details that have been revealed, that can at least whet the appetite before the next season rolls around next Summer. Yesterday it was revealed that English actor Jim Broadbent, 67, from Harry Potter and Hot Fuzz fame, will be joining the ensemble cast of the hit HBO series for the upcoming seventh season, and will be playing a “significant role”.

Details for the particular character, and in fact any details from the next season of the hugely popular fantasy series, are being kept closely under wraps. But that won’t stop fan speculation for the meantime, with many believing that the Oscar-winning Broadbent will be playing Howland Reed, Ned Stark’s loyal friend and Jojen and Meera’s father, who is possibly the only man alive in Westeros who knows the truth of Jon’s parentage. The only time we have seen Howland Reed in the series was in Bran’s vision of Robert’s Rebellion in the last season, and so it would make perfect sense to introduce an older, more world weary man in the present this time around.

Of course it is possible that it may be a much smaller role than that, with other fans speculating that Broadbent could possibly be playing the head of the Alchemist’s guild in the citadel, and could be acting as a mentor figure to Samwell in order to teach him how to be a maester. Or from his on screen persona it’s easy to imagine him playing a Tyrell, perhaps vengeful after the events that transpired in the season 6 finale. It is very possible however that he will be serving a similar function to Ian McShane in the last season, where he was brutally dispatched of after only one episode.

Broadbent is known for his Oscar winning turn in drama film Iris, and his Golden Globe and BAFTA award winning role in the musical Moulin Rouge. For many film fans however he is probably best known for his role as Professor Slughorn in the final three Harry Potter films, the character who accidentally inspired Voldemort to make horcruxes, the seven pieces of his soul and the major MacGuffin’s of the later films.

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With his upcoming role in the next season, this will make Broadbent one of many Potter actors to make an appearance in Westeros. David Bradley, who played the grotesque cat-obsessed caretaker Filch in Harry Potter, played recurring villain Walder Frey, a role that made even Filch look positively lovely. Ciaran Hinds, who played Albus Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth in the Potter series, also had a recurring role in Game of Thrones as Mance Rayder, the leader of the Wildlings.

Filming in Northern Ireland is expected to start imminently, with the shorter 7 episode season expected to premiere sometime next Summer. Maisie Williams, 19, who plays Arya Stark on the show, has already teased towards the bloody nature of the upcoming season on Twitter, telling fans that “nothing will prepare” them for the shocking narrative twists that will be coming up as she reads through her scripts.

She tweeted last month; “Holy BALLS. Just finished reading season 7. I’d start preparing yourselves now. Scratch that, nothing will prepare you for this. S*** gets REAL.”

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Only time will tell whether Broadbent will play a quickly murdered one episode character or a series regular, but the real question is will he have the one thing Nicholas Angel doesn’t have?

A GREAT BIG BUSHY BEARD!

Game of Thrones Seasons 1-5 are available on DVD and Blu-Ray now.