Game of Thrones just received the Television Critics Association award for outstanding new program, and deservedly so. The HBO fantasy adaptation of the George R.R. Martin best-selling series, A Song of Ice and Fire, offered the most compelling character drama of the year, all set against a beautiful and fantastical medieval-inspired backdrop. Now two more actors are joining the great series for Season 2, plus we have a behind-the-scenes look at the inspired special effects work in the first season.

First, the new additions of the GoT team are Roy Dotrice and Hannah Murray. In fact, I believe that Dotrice, who does voice work for the audio-books and has a close relationship with Martin, was originally sought after to play the role of Grand Maester Pycelle but had to drop out for health issues. However, now cleared to go, TV Guide confirmed that Dotrice "will play Pyromancer Hallyne, chief of the Guild of Alchemists. Murray, who appeared on the British version of Skins, will play Gilly, one of the many women living with Old Craster who wants to escape his oppression."

[Spoilers?] Hallyne's role is relatively small, but the products he produces will figure in majorly by season's end. Gilly becomes part of the Sam Tarly storyline as things get more and more uncertain north of the Wall.

On top of the casting news, this is a rad video from special effects team BlueBolt that gives you a better sense of how much effects work actually went into the series. If you recall, there aren't many fantastical creatures to construct, but the work they do on building the gorgeous locations is interesting enough. From the Wall to King's Landing to the Vale, it's some great stuff.

Other recent additions for Season 2 include: Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell, Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon, Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy and lastly, Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H'Ghar.

Game of Thrones will return to HBO Sundays in the spring of 2012.

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