As 1883 fans know, the Duttons weren’t the only vital characters on the journey – just as important was an immigrant named Josef, who served as the group’s translator and leader. But before Mark Rissman was Josef, he played a role on another popular series set in an entirely different time and place.
What We Know
- Mark Rissman played Josef on 1883 and Ser Harry Strickland on Game of Thrones
- Rissman was a huge part of 1883 storyline, but not so much in GoT
- Rissman’s characters were completely different in personality and significance
‘1883’s Josef Was an Army Leader Before He Was a Caravan Leader
Think back to the final season of Game of Thrones when the series was winding down for a final time. Cersei Lannister had her back against the wall at King’s Landing. With few allies left, the controversial queen hired the Golden Company, an independent army of mercenaries led by none other than Ser Harry Strickland, otherwise known as Rissman.
Unfortunately for Rissman, his role was short-lived. He had some big moments on camera with the actress behind Cersei, Lena Headey, as well as a big battle scene, but, just like so many Game of Throne characters, Ser Harry Strickland died swiftly and anticlimactically.
According to Pop Culture, this was one of the deaths of the series that rubbed fans the wrong way. In the books, Rissman’s character was a much bigger part of the plan at Westeros and even claimed Storm’s End for a different sponsor altogether.
Thankfully, though, Rissman got to live out perhaps some of those missed opportunities as Josef in 1883. Not only was he a part of multiple run-ins with bandits and Comanche Indians, but he also had some intense dialogue with huge stars like Sam Elliott and Tim McGraw. And who could forget that horrific scene in the final episode when they had to amputate his leg?
Josef, while sometimes stubborn, played a vital role in 1883 because he expressed the concerns of the caravan and represented the hopes they had when they came to America. And as they continued through the wild and dangerous parts of free land, we saw how his vision of paradise shifted.
Why It’s Hard to Picture Josef as Ser Harry Strickland
If you weren’t a Game of Thrones fanatic, likely, you’re having a hard time picturing the same person who played Josef also portraying an army leader. That’s because as Josef, Rissman had to represent a man that didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge outside of his German village. Without the help of their Pinkerton guides and the Duttons, there would be no chance that Josef made it to Oregon.
Meanwhile, on Game of Thrones, we first met Rissman as this formidable man in a suit of honor. It’s jarring how different the two characters are. That said, this is also an example of just how talented an actor Rissman is as both Josef and Strickland. Whether a fearless leader or a terrified traveler, he nailed both roles with ease.