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One of the most engrossing facets of George R.R. Martin’s five-book A Song Of Ice And Fire saga is just how big the world is. The experience of reading the ASOIAF books is one of constantly checking the map inside the front jacket to orient yourself and checking the roster inside the back jacket to figure out who the hell these people are. The sprawl can be somewhat daunting, but once the narrative spreads out and touches all sorts of strange places and bloodlines, its that much richer for its ambition. (Did you ever think that little island off the southwest corner of Westeros would have any role in the fight for the kingdom? Of course it does.)

Game Of Thrones maintains ASOIAF’s grandeur as best it can, but there are some necessary compressions and alterations to GRRM’s expansive world. You don’t see how long it really took Tyrion to get to Meereen, for example, because that would take an entire season’s worth of television where he doesn’t hang with any other main characters.

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The geographic area the show has skirted around the most is perhaps the Riverlands, which makes sense given that nothing that’s been cut has a significant impact on the Throne qua Throne. But with Ian McShane confirming the type of character he’s playing (light spoilerage), fans of both ASOIAF and GOT have reason to be excited, for one of the most beloved book characters may at long last be making his show debut.

I’m talking, of course, about Dog.

Dog is a friend and confidante of a priest named Septon Meribald, who wanders the Riverlands preaching the Faith of the Seven. Meribald has some interactions with a few characters we’ve seen on the show, but that’s not of particular import. What matters is that if Meribald appears on the show, that might mean the debut of Dog.

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Dog makes his debut in A Feast For Crows, the fourth volume of ASOIAF. He is described as “A huge, shaggy creature, ten stone of dog at least, but friendly.” Going by that description, maybe Dog looks like this?

Or perhaps this is Dog?

Game Of Thrones has been known to go off-script a bit with casting now and again. If a big star wants in, perhaps the role of Dog could be manipulated to fit his talents.

Another good move would be to go rogue and cast a lady as Dog.

If casting directors are still looking around, this Deadspin dog is up for the role.

The new season starts next Sunday, and we’ll find out the answer to this burning question soon enough!

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