Last year, actress Megan Parkinson was spotted on the set of Game of Thrones season 7 (opens in new tab) and we relayed some speculation that she could be playing a new love interest for Kit Harington’s stoic warrior Jon Snow (opens in new tab). But now the truth has come out, and it means sad news for Snow’s love life. GOT fan site Watchers on the Wall (opens in new tab) have discovered through a document from Parkinson’s agency that the actress will be playing the character of Alys Karstark in the new season of the show.
So who is Alys Karstark? Stick with me here, because if you’re not up on your Thrones lore, this could get complicated. Alys is the daughter of Lord Rickard Karstark, a bannerman of the Stark family who fought alongside Ned Stark and swore his loyalty to Robb Stark when Robb was declared King in the North. Early in the show, Jaime Lannister killed two of Rickard’s sons (Alys’s brothers) in battle, and when Catelyn Stark released Jaime from captivity, Rickard murdered Jaime’s cousin in retaliation. That pissed off Robb, who declared Rickard a traitor and beheaded him for not following orders. This was back in season 3, so you’d be forgiven if the details are a little fuzzy.
In the wake of all this, Alys’s only remaining brother, Harald, swore his allegiance to Ramsay Bolton, but it’s unclear whether he died in the Battle of the Bastards. We have not seen Alys herself on the show at all up until this point, but she’s important because of her family lineage and the possible claim she might be able to make on essential Northern lands. I won’t spoil anything, but in the books, she becomes a key factor in Jon Snow’s political maneuverings at the Wall.
We know Megan Parkinson was involved in “a high-stakes scene with leading cast members” because she was seen on the show’s Northern Ireland set alongside Harington and Gwendoline Christie. Now that we know she’s playing Alys, everything has come into focus. Currently, she’s only listed on IMDb as appearing in one episode of season 7, so we’ll see if the showrunners decide to follow the book’s path for this character, or if they’ll blaze their own trail and continue to go off-book to serve their own version of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy.
Game of Thrones season 7 will debut in summer 2017.