The ‘1883’ Actor You Didn’t Realize Starred in ‘Games of Thrones’

by Leanne Stahulak

“1883” boasts its fair share of big-name actors, from Sam Elliott to Tim McGraw to Faith Hill. But don’t be quick to discount Marc Rissman, either.

In “1883,” Rissman plays Josef, the leader of the immigrants. We see him struggle with the responsibility of becoming a leader to these people he’s only just met. He also played a role in taking down the bandits who hunted the wagon train in Episode 5.

But before we got to know him in “1883,” some might’ve recognized Rissman from his role on “Game of Thrones.” During the eighth and final season, Rissman made just two appearances on the show as Ser Harry Strickland, commander of the Golden Company.

The Golden Company, and Strickland, play a far larger role in the books than in the HBO series. They’re a group of mercenaries made up of experienced knights who were likely banished from Westeros. They sell their services to the highest bidder, who just so happens to be Cersei Lannister in the “Game of Thrones” show.

Rissman gets very few lines in the two moments that he appears on the hit HBO series. He pledges his allegiance to Cersei only to die very quickly at the start of the Battle for Kings Landing. Rissman says more in the first episode of “1883” than he does throughout his entire “Game of Thrones” appearance.

And while “Game of Thrones” fans wished to see more of Rissman as Strickland in the show, he ended up moving on to other projects. Including “The Man in the High Castle” and “1883.” Check out a post from Rissman himself as Harry Strickland below.

A Deep Dive into Marc Rissman’s Character Josef on ‘1883’

Last month, the official “1883” Instagram page highlighted Marc Rissman’s character, Josef. So far, we haven’t learned much about Josef’s past. We only know that he traveled here with his wife, Risa. But Rissman gave fans a deeper look at the German immigrant in a behind-the-scenes clip.

“Josef is a German immigrant,” Rissman began in the video. “He is an ex-soldier, and he wants to leave his demons behind and create a new home with his wife Risa.”

Sounds a lot like Tim McGraw’s character, James Dutton. But while James is just in charge of his family, Josef has to be responsible for the whole group of immigrants.

“I think the leadership role… he took it because I think he’s a natural leader,” Rissman explained. “And because he cares about his people. But it creates conflict for him. You do this journey with a certain image. I think they expected heaven and that image slowly fades.”

Reality can easily warp expectations of paradise. We’ll have to wait and see what else is in store for Josef and the immigrants in “1883.”