Game of Thrones is not lacking for characters. Even though the series has such a high body count that there are scores of characters who died well before the upcoming eighth and final season (shout-out to Ser Waymar Royce, the very first character to die on the show), there are still dozens of characters who will play a part in the battle between the living and the Night King's undead forces.
However, there are also some characters who are seemingly missing from the series despite not having died. These characters all were fairly important when they were first introduced, only to seemingly drop off the face of Planetos.
It's possible that they will reappear in Season 8, but that's hardly a given. More importantly, it's not necessary. With only six episodes to wrap everything up, do we really want Game of Thrones to come to a halt just so it can explain what happened to that character who appeared three times back in Season 2? No, we'd rather spend time with Arya and Tyrion and all our favorite characters, not waste limited airtime on the C-tier characters.
Still, blog posts aren't constrained by a six-episode season or the need for a logical, satisfying narrative, so let's just remember some of these forgotten faces before Season 8 begins.
Edmure Tully and Robin Arryn
Let's begin the list with two characters who are rumored to reappear in Season 8. Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark's brother and heir to the Riverlands, was taken prisoner by the Freys during the Red Wedding back in Season 3. He reappeared in Season 6 where he ordered Riverrun's forces to surrender to the Lannisters before being thrown back into the Frey's jails. After Arya killed all the Freys, though, there was no mention of Edmure. Is he still down there, wasting away in jail?
There's a little less mystery with Robin Arryn, the nominal ruler of the Vale and noted breastmilk fan. He was last seen in Season 6 when Littlefinger manipulates him into sending the Vale's armies to the North. Presumably, he's still failing at learning archery.
Neither character is essential to the main plot of Game of Thrones, but they are the supposed rulers of two of the Seven Kingdoms, which might be why the show could bring them back. According to the noted Game of Thrones fansite Watchers on the Wall, actors Tobias Menzies (Edmure) and Lino Facioli (Robin) were included on a cast list for the Season 8 premiere that had been hidden on HBO’s website. Though it's not official confirmation, this would seem to indicate that GoT isn't quite done with these two characters yet.
Despite having only appeared in two episodes of the first season of Game of Thrones, Illyrio Mopatis is probably the most important missing character in the entire series. It was Illyrio, you'll recall, who arranged for Daenerys' marriage to Khal Drogo. It was Illyrio who gifted Dany the dragon eggs that would later hatch into her children. It was Illyrio who briefly hosted Tyrion and Varys when they fled Westeros of Essos. And it was Illyrio who, along with Varys, was orchestrating a Targaryen reclamation of the Iron Throne, albeit with Viserys as the intended monarch rather than Daenerys.
Illyrio is directly responsible for a great deal of the plot of Game of Thrones, and yet he's been missing for the vast majority of the series. It's unclear why, exactly, he wanted to get the Targaryens back on the throne and why he helped Dany so much in the process. Given all the loose ends that Season 8 has to tie up, it doesn't seem as essential to take time to revisit a character who's been missing for 60 episodes, even if he was responsible for getting the plot in motion. That plot has progressed so much since then that Illyrio has likely been left behind.
Still, can't help but wonder whatever happened to that guy, especially now that he appears to be getting what he wanted.
Meera hasn't been missing for that long, at least compared to some of the other characters on this list who have gone MIA. She last appeared in Season 7, where she parted ways with an ungrateful Bran Stark after delivering him back to Winterfell. Meera then said she was going to her family's castle, Greywater Watch.
Meera's role on Game of Thrones has largely been to keep Bran safe and help him traverse the lands Beyond the Wall, and there's no longer any need for her to chaperone him. However, there are ways she could still be a player in the story. Eventually, if the Night King's armies keep going south, they'll reach the region of the North known as the Neck, and perhaps attack Greywater Watch, where Meera is.
There's a more interesting option, though. Meera is the daughter of Howland Reed, one of Ned Stark's best friends and the only other survivor of the fight at the Tower of Joy. This means that Howland likely knows the truth about Jon Snow's parentage. Howland has not appeared in the present day of Game of Thrones, but it's possible that he'll be able to confirm what Sam and Bran discovered, because he was actually there. Meera, as the only surviving Reed that we have encountered on the series, could make a reappearance alongside Howland should the show go in this direction.
Ilyn Payne, the mute executioner who beheaded Ned Stark, hasn't appeared on Game of Thrones since Season 2, though he was mentioned briefly in Season 4. Wilko Johnson, the actor who played Ilyn, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2013, and he understandably couldn't appear on the show (it was easy enough to retire Ilyn Payne, since he was hardly a major character).
Unlike many stories on Game of Thrones, though, Johnson's story has a happy ending. Though initially given just 10 months to live, Johnson underwent radical surgery in 2014 that completely cured him of cancer, which also happened to be a less virulent variety than doctors initially thought.
There's no indication that Johnson will return for Season 8. If he were to come back, it would likely be just to die. Ilyn Payne was initially one of the names on Arya Stark's list of people she wanted to kill, but she omitted his name by the time she was in Bravos. From a storytelling perspective, cutting the dead-ends from Arya's list makes economical narrative sense, but it's also probably good that HBO didn't have Arya chanting that she wanted to kill a character while their actor thought they were dying of terminal cancer.
Quaithe, the enigmatic masked woman who hails from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai, appeared back in Season 2 to give Jorah Mormont cryptic hints while he and Daenerys Targaryen were in Qarth. Game of Thrones never really explained who Quaithe was, what she wanted, or how she knew things, and it's unlikely that she will reappear in Season 8. Quaithe, like Qarth, is so far behind us at this point.
However, Quaithe is a much bigger player in the A Song of Ice and Fire books that the HBO series is based on. Whereas in the show she appears in two episodes to tell Jorah to keep an eye out for people who want to steal Daenerys' dragons, in the books she frequently reappears in Dany's dreams to issue eerier prophecies. While Quaithe's cryptic warnings are major plot points and motivators for Dany on the page, the most important of them were never even uttered in the show. With just six episodes left, it seems like they never will be.
Davos' sex-lovin' pirate buddy Salladhor Saan made a couple of memorable appearances in the first half of Game of Thrones, rescuing Davos after the Battle of the Blackwater and agreeing to lends his ships to Stannis' cause in Season 4. However, he hasn't appeared since Davos left him in that Braavosi hot tub.
Davos hasn't really kept in touch with anyone from his past since teaming up with Jon Snow (see the next entry for the ultimate example), but with Daenerys no longer having an Ironborn fleet at her disposal and with the Golden Company sailing for Westeros on Cersei's command, his side sure could use some naval power. Enter Salladhor Saan, perhaps?
To be fair, we haven't ever seen this character on the show before, just heard mention of her. So technically she would be making her first appearance rather than returning after long absence. Even so, it's wild that Davos Seaworth — by all accounts a pretty good man — appears to have completely forgotten that he has a wife, Marya Seaworth.
When we first meet Davos in Season 2, he has a conversation with Melisandre about Marya, and we meet their son Matthos before he's blown up by wildfire. Marya comes up again briefly in Season 3 when Salladhor Saan mentions her, but there's been no indication that she exists since.
Davos, it would seem, is just too busy to remember that he has a wife. He's busy preparing to fight the Army of the Dead. He's busy being Jon's Hand of the King. He's busy hitting on Missandei. He's just busy, is the point, and so is Game of Thrones. Marya was an unseen casualty, quietly erased from Davos' life because Game of Thrones didn't have time to spend on Davos' personal life, what with everything else that's going on. At this point, don't expect to see her in Season 8.