Inishowen actor Art Parkinson has returned to Game of Thrones for the first time in three years.
(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)
Art’s resumption of the role of Rickon Stark- the youngest member of the most popular of the dynasties featured in the show- has sparked an internet frenzy among fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books and the hit TV show based on the books.
Since he was last seen on GoT, 15-year-old Art from Moville has been busy making a name for himself on the big screen with starring roles in various productions, including the blockbuster action movie San Andreas last year, and the vampire flick, Dracula Untold.
On the Game of Thrones TV show, which is now in its sixth series, Art’s character was last appeared in Series 3 parting company with his brother Bran and gentle giant Hodor, and headed off north in search of safety with Wilding Osha and his unruly direwolf, Shaggydog.
Rickon has not yet reappeared in the books, with two of the seven planned instalments in the epic fantasy series yet to be released.
His long absence and his marked him out as the only Stark not have had a major storyline of his own - until now - and has also sparked widespread speculation over his future.
Interest was sparked after his character was discussed towards the end of the last published novel, ‘A Dance With Dragons’, released in 2011.
For years fans have theorized that he will return in book six, ‘The Winds of Winter’, and last night’s episode of the TV series, which has now overtaken some storylines in the books, seem to have confirmed that this will be the case.
Last night’s episode saw a captive Rickon and Osha being brought as a ‘gift’ for patricidal sadist Ramsay Bolton.
Fans have been going online to express their hope that Rickon survives the usurper Bolton, now Lord of Winterfell, while theories abound as to Rickon and Osha’s real purpose on returning to the castle and household once held by Rickon’s father Lord Eddard Stark.
Some fans have pitched the idea that Rickon may replace Theon (Reek) and be tortured by Ramsay, while others have suggested the young Stark has not been betrayed at all and may be part of a ruse to trick Ramsay into a false sense of security.
Hopefully all will be revealed over the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is an interview the Journal did last year with young Art Parkinson: