Game Of Thrones season 6 casts key figures for House Umber and Karstark and seemingly confirms a return to the Iron Islands

Theon’s family are back at the forefront and the show is returning to its Northern roots for Season Six

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The Independent Culture

Game of Thrones’ return to our screens is longer than Jon Snow’s (still) coiffed curls, but casting news is starting to trickle down as the show begins shooting preliminary scenes for its sixth season (SPOILS!).

And given the show is starting to overtake – and deviate – from the source material, book readers and viewers alike are scrambling to figure out what the latest casting means for the upcoming season.

From the looks of things, there will be a renewed focus on the North, as key characters from houses Umber and Karstark are introduced (or re-introduced and re-imagined for book readers), as well as the return of House Greyjoy, who have only been seen fleetingly in more recent seasons.

Game Of Thrones fan site Watchers On The Wall has confirmed that the previously reported casting news – for a Lord of Noble Northern House and Lord of Northern Stronghold respectively – are Smalljon Umber and Lord Karstark respectively.

Smalljon is the son of Greatjon Umber, whose house is loyal to the Starks. In the books, as part of the Northern army, he is killed at the Red Wedding, while his father manages to escape. Given Clive Mantle, who played Greatjon in Season One, was unable to return for scheduling conflicts, it’s likely the show will swap the characters round, implying Smalljon has taken over as head of House Umber following his father’s death at the brutal massacre.

As for the new Lord Karstark, while a name has not been confirmed, it can be assumed he is one of the sons of Rickard Karstark, who Robb had to execute in Season Three for killing two of their crucial (Lannister) hostages. Robb’s sentencing saw House Karstark withdraw support for Robb and ultimately thin out the Northern army, which led to their downfall.

The Karstarks appear in subsequent books, but it’s unclear whether the show will be interested in their small-scale storyline (which involves a certain ‘dead’ Northern bastard) or not. Given their bad blood with the Starks, it’s possible they have aligned with the Boltons, making the North even more hostile than usual for Sansa and Theon following their escape.

The third casting news doesn’t provide a name, but is looking for a ‘rugged pirate’ in his thirties. He’s described as a tough, short-tempered man who is needed to provide ‘forceful dialogue’ in a key scene.

Given the rumours of House Greyjoy returning in Season Six, after being curiously absent from Season Five, this character is likely part of the storyline on the island of Pyke. Book readers will know that, like House Martell last year, House Greyjoy are dragged into the on-going war in Westeros, but must face their own inner-power struggles as the extended Greyjoy family all vie for power.

The good news is that now filming has begun, and characters are being cast left and right, we’ll start to get a clearer picture of what Season Six will look like. Will House Umber help Sansa following her escape from the malicious Ramsay Bolton? Will the Karstarks be friends or foes? And will anyone figure out where little Rickon is? Time will tell.