The Game of Thrones season eight trailer is filled with familiar faces (even if they don’t feel familiar anymore, considering how long the show has been away). There’s Arya, Sansa, Cersei, Jon, Daenerys, Missandei, Greyworm, some dragons, my dude Davos, etc. But there’s one new face (faces) in the trailer that probably brought a Cersei-like smile to the faces of book readers.
The Golden Company were first mentioned back in season four, when Davos suggested to out-of-his-league leader Stannis Baratheon that he should hire them to help win the Iron Throne, but they didn’t play an important role until season seven. If you’ll recall, Cersei informs Braavos banker Tycho Nestoris that she, too, intends to hire the Golden Company; but unlike Stannis, she follows through in her promise. “No one walks away from me,” the queen tells her brother Jaime in the season finale, adding that Euron Greyjoy is “sailing with his fleet to Essos. He’s going to ferry the Golden Company back here to help us win the war for Westeros.” This is how Jaime reacts to this news.
Before returning to Jaime’s undisguised disgust, a brief explainer on the Golden Company is worth exploring. Based in the Free City of Essos, the Golden Company is a 20,000-strong army of sellswords that’s known for never breaking a contract. When you hire the Golden Company, the job gets done (or so they say; more on that later). The company is led by Harry Strickland (played by Marc Rissmann), whose head and back we see in the trailer, commanding his troops. Considering all the kraken sigils on the ships, it looks like Euron was successful in his mission. Now Cersei has a contractually-obligated army that can compete against Jon and Daenerys’ alliance, assuming everyone doesn’t get killed by the Night King and his undead troops beforehand. Remember: Cersei’s priorities aren’t with the invaders to the north; she still has her eyes on the Iron Throne. It’s almost like she’s playing a game… a game of royal seats.
Which brings us back to Jaime. He finally abandoned his sister in “The Dragon and the Wolf” to ride north, where, as he says in the season eight trailer, “I promised to fight for the living, I intend to keep that promise.” Jaime was Cersei’s only link left to her family: her kids (Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen) are dead; her father (Tywin) is dead; one brother (Tyrion) is fighting alongside her enemies; and her other brother (Jaime), the commander of her armies, has also left. All she has left is that pirate nutjob Euron Greyjoy and the Golden Company… which was founded by a Targaryen (a bastard half-Targaryen who fled Westeros, but still!). Plus, as Mashable points out, “The Golden Company’s motto that ‘our word is as good as gold’ should be taken literally. They are not the type to stick around once the gold runs out, and we’re not sure the Lannisters will be able to pay all the debts they keep racking up.” Might the Company jump ship to the Targaryens’ (Dany AND Jon) cause, once the money is gone? It should be interesting to see how this plays out in the final season.
Also, in the books, the Golden Company has war elephants. That’s just cool.