What Is the Golden Company? 'Game of Thrones' Mercenaries Could Dominate S8

The Golden Company is a force to be reckoned with in the world of Game of Thrones, but will these mercenaries be the key to Cersei’s victory in Season 8? After getting a glimpse of this army-for-hire in the GoT trailer, you might be wondering what the deal is with the Golden Company. Here’s a refresher as we prepare for this army’s arrival.

Light spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 below.

What Is the Golden Company?

The Golden Company has only been mentioned a few times on the HBO series, but we can look to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series for more information.

Before this army was “the most powerful … in Essos” (according to Cersei), King Aegon IV Targaryen’s legitimized bastard son, Aegor Rivers (“Bittersteel”), left Westeros with Daemon I Blackfyre’s sons. He founded the sellsword company —made up of soldiers who work for the highest bidder — after watching exiled lords and knights joining other similar organizations.

The Golden Company has been mentioned four times prior to Season 8 on Game of Thrones.

In Season 4 Episode 3, Davos Seaworth suggests that Stannis Baratheon hire “10,000 skilled soldiers” in order to secure his claim to the Iron Throne. However, Stannis refuses to do so because “they’re sellswords.”

“They’ve never broken a contract,” Davos replies. “Soldiers win wars.”

In Season 4 Episode 7, Jorah Mormont doesn’t think Daenerys should trust Daario because he’s a sellsword, but Daenerys reminds him of his own past. “Didn’t you fight for the Golden Company before pledging your sword to my brother?”

In Season 7 Episode 4, Cersei states her plan to enlist the Golden Company “to recover some things that belong to me.” That’s something the army has successfully done in the past (recovery), according to Tycho Nestoris.

Finally, in the Season 7 finale, we learn that Cersei has sent Euron Greyjoy to “ferry the Golden Company back … to help us win the war for Westeros.” According to her, “the most powerful army in Essos” consists of “20,000 men, horses, [and] elephants.”

That number doesn’t line up with what Davos gives in Season 4, but it’s possible Cersei could be overestimating the size of the Golden Company. Either way, they should be a powerful source in Game of Thrones’ final season.

Why This Matters for Game of Thrones Season 8

While we may not know much about what’s coming in Game of Thrones Season 8, we do have a bit of information regarding what to expect from this army.

'Game of Thrones' Season 8 trailer
The Golden Company in the 'Game of Thrones' Season 8 trailer.

The trailer shows that Euron Greyjoy accomplishes what Cersei sent him to do in the Season 7 finale. We see the army on one of his ships, and there’s someone standing in front of them in command. It’s likely that person is Harry Strickland, the Company’s leader played by Marc Rissmann.

It’s possible that we won’t see the Golden Company in action until after the battle against the Army of the Dead. Cersei may wait to deploy them until she sees who survives in the battle against the Night King and his Army of the Dead.

That battle is expected to happen halfway through Season 8, leaving plenty of room for another confrontation between Cersei and Daenerys/Jon Snow. In that scenario, Davos’ earlier comment that “soldiers win wars” could turn out to be some serious foreshadowing, though we’re obviously rooting against Cersei in the final episodes of *Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. on HBO.


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