Here's our prediction about how the Golden Company hides a secret from Cersei, but first: who, or what, are they and how could they surprise us?
The story of the Golden Company is not featured in the show as much as it is talked about in its source material, the A Song of Ice and Fire saga. But as the show reaches its finale, the Company's role might be crucial in the final episodes. Who, or what, are they, and how could they surprise us?
Simply put, the Golden Company is an elite army of mercenaries whose “word is as good as gold,” meaning that they have never broken a contract before. The show has only referenced the Golden Company a handful of times (Stannis refuses to hire them and Daenerys mentions Jorah joined the company when he first fled to Essos). These forces are commanded by captain Harry Strickland, and their banner is made up of three white skulls on a golden field.
But the idea of this mercenary army didn’t materialize until Cersei Lannister saw herself surrounded by “enemies to the East, enemies to the West, enemies to the South, enemies to the North.” With her armies depleted, she tells an ambassador of the Iron Bank of Braavos about her intention of hiring the Golden Company. After meeting with Jon and Daenerys at the dragonpit, where she pledges to send her armies North, Cersei instead sends Euron Greyjoy to provide boats for the Golden Company to cross the narrow Sea.
And finally, in Season 8, Euron delivers the Golden Company and brings Harry Strickland, their Commander-in-Chief, to meet the Queen, who becomes disappointed when she’s informed that elephants couldn’t be brought to Westeros. Strickland did bring 20,000 men and 2,000 horses, so not bad.“The Last of the Starks” showed Westeros closer than ever to the “Last War”. Dany’s army is down to one dragon, virtually no Dothraki forces, half of the Unsullied, half of the wounded Northern army (together with Knights of the Vale). Cersei, on her side, has Lannister armies and the Golden Company, so it would appear she has the upper hand. However, viewers could be in for a surprise. So, first, a history lesson. In the books, they talk about older rebellions and uprisings against Targaryen kings. That being said, the Golden Company was founded by Aegor Rivers, known as Bittersteel, a legitimized bastard son of king Aegon IV Targaryen, who was on the losing side of one of Westeros’s civil wars. After the first Blackfyre rebellion, he was forced to leave the country, which made him bitter about the whole thing. Even though he first worked with the Second Sons, the subsequent rebellions, which were all brought down, gave Essos many more exiles that were seasoned in battle.
Realizing this potential, Aegor founded his own mercenary army, the Golden Company. His army was made up of any soldier or knight who had been exiled from Westeros, especially those who were part of House Blackfyre, descendants of House Targaryen. Their battle cry is “Beneath the gold, a bitter steel,” a reference to its founder, who promised to return one day and claim what was his.
And since their official motto is “Our word is as good as old,” it's safe to assume they are reliable. However, in the books, they have invaded Westeros for themselves and have already occupied parts of the country. In addition to that, there’s a subplot of a kid claiming to be Aegon Targaryen (Rhaegar’s alleged son) whom the Golden Company starts supporting as the true heir to the throne. Bearing in that in mind, what’s going to happen, both in the books and in the show, when Jon’s true identity is revealed to them?The Golden Company has never broken a contract, and their words are as good as gold. Gee, wouldn’t it be so Game of Thrones-y if this turns out to be the first time the Company breaks a contract? In other words, wouldn’t it be perfect if, upon realizing Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne, they would totally turn on Cersei? At least that’s what I think would happen.