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Goodbye Harry Strickland, You Tremendous Waste of Space

The Golden Company, and especially its milquetoast leader, was extremely overrated

HBO/Ringer illustration

The Golden Company was introduced with an impressive reputation, from its origins in the Blackfyre Rebellion to its employment of war elephants to its reputation for honoring contracts. Cersei thought so highly of the sellswords that she took out a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos to employ Captain Harry Strickland and his merry men, some 20,000 of them—though sadly, none of their elephants. She believed the Golden Company was capable of turning the tide of the war, and we were led to believe the same.

Here’s what we know about the leaders of armies-for-hire in Essos: They’re ass-kickers. Daario Naharis of the Second Sons is as deadly as he is dashing, and (if you want to stretch the definition of army-for-hire a little) the Unsullied are a formidable fighting force, their leader Grey Worm an imperturbable commander. So it’s faintly hilarious that when we meet Harry Strickland—well, first of all, he’s named Harry Strickland. I’m pretty sure Huddersfield Town got relegated from the Premier League this year playing a midfield trio of Harry Strickland, Brandon Stark, and Ramsay Bolton. But also, after showing the Second Sons and the Unsullied, Game of Thrones built up the expectation that Essosi military units, and their leaders, had personality. They can be austere, like Grey Worm, or flamboyant, like Daario, but if nothing else you could know where you stood by looking the man in the face.

Harry Strickland, on the other hand, looked like a private school weenie James McAvoy and Dominic Cooper beat up in the first half hour of Starter for 10. He looked like a Tory MP trying and failing to sell the public on a hard Brexit. He looked like an investment banker who thought his wife didn’t know about his mistress. This guy was worth taking out a second mortgage for? He was gonna save Cersei from dragons and Unsullied and Dothraki? Elephants or no elephants, I think not.

Particularly next to Euron Greyjoy, Harry was singularly uncharismatic and forgettable. Euron comes from the Iron Islands, a forbidding, seawater-drenched landscape full of mold and people with strange values; Westeros’s Maine. He swaggered around like an extremely horny man who sins abundantly and grossly. But he was also a leader; Harry Strickland’s a Hufflepuff.

When the Battle of King’s Landing commenced, Captain Strickland—who by that point had been talked up for what seemed like forever—rode out on a white horse at the head of 20,000 soldiers. He cantered out in front of his army, made a smug face, and stared across the field of battle at Jon, Davos, and Grey Worm like he could take all of them at once. Then the wall behind him exploded. Daenerys—and for all her other faults in this episode, the Mother of Dragons turned into an expert combat pilot extremely quickly—conducted the quietest strategic bombing campaign in military history. Dragonfire knocked Captain Strickland off his literal and figurative high horse and annihilated his army, and within seconds of the battle starting, Grey Worm impaled the captain of the Golden Company, then moved on to more challenging and important matters. Cersei would’ve been better off using that loan from the Iron Bank to remodel her bathroom or go to law school.

So let us remember—or forget, who cares—Harry Strickland, a phony who spent less time on screen than Ed Sheeran and then got stabbed in the back while running away.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.