HBO's Game of Thrones might have set the record for the largest casting announcement in the history of Comic-Con, which is fitting because the show was not only one of the premiere venues of the event but also already boasts one of the largest ensembles on television. It's not only a large cast but a great one and this long list of additions looks to continue the trend. You may not know their names or even recognize their faces but hey, you probably didn't know most of the players before their now almost iconic roles.
I waited seven hours to not get into the Game of Thrones panel but thankfully Kelly was present for the festivities and you can read her live blog here. Although most of the panel was devoted to a discussion with the current characters, they did open with a brief video to introduce some, but not all, of the new faces. Take a look and then I'll fill you in on the actors and their parts on the show.
Well, they certainly all look the part, no? Some of the casting news had been previously announced or at least speculated about but I might as well round up all the names in one post. Clive Russell (Sherlock Holmes) will play Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, the estranged uncle of Cat and renown knight vital to Robb's cause.
A lot of fans have been eagerly awaiting the casting got the next character and Tobias Menzies has been brought in to play Edmure Tully. Edmure is Cat's younger brother as well as the new Lord of Riverrun and Menzies is a great actor probably best known for his role of Brutus on Rome. He was my favourite character on the previous HBO series and I'm excited to see him in the cast. Will need to find some red hair though.
Another exciting announcement, even though most fans were pushing for Maggie Smith, is Diana Rigg being hired to portray Lady Olenna Tyrell, perhaps better known by her nickname, “The Queen of Thorns.” Thorns is Margaery and Loras Tyrell's grandmother and a strong matriarch for the House of Flowers.
Mackenzie Crook, who is probably best known for being comic relief in Pirates of the Carribean but to me he'll always be Gareth from BBC's The Office. A great character actor, Crook has been brought in to play a wildling character named Orell. But more than just a wildling raider, Orell is also a warg (or skin-changer) which means he's able to enter the mind of other creatures much like Bran can with Summer.
And speaking of Bran, Season 3 will finally see the appearance of the Reeds, a pair of teenaged 'Crannogmen' whose father fought alongside Eddard Stark back during Robert's Rebellion. Unwaveringly devoted to the Starks, Ellie Kendrick (Anne Frank in the 2010 Masterpiece production of The Diary of Anne Frank) has been cast as Meera with Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually) playing her younger brother Jojen.
Next come a pair of Baratheon ladies. As previously reported, Kerry Ingram will be playing the role of Shireen Baratheon, Stannis' sickly but very smart daughter (but no mention of who will be Patchface). However, her mother, Selyse Baratheon (Florent) has also joined the ensemble with Tara Fitzgerald set to play the part. Stannis' wife is a devout believer in the Lord of Light and is often left behind or shut away from the world. How else can Stannis get his groove on with Melissandre.
Three members of the Brotherhood Without Banners have also found their actors with Paul Kaye playing Thoros of Myr, Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion and Philip McGinley as Anguy. Thoros of Myr is a Red Priest (yes, for the Lord of Light) and I know Kaye from his role as Frankie Wilde in It's All Gone Pete Tong. The leader of the Brotherhood - the group sent by Eddard to apprehend the Mountain, Gregor Clegane - is Beric Dondarrion, a great warrior known as the Lightning Lord who will be played by Richard Dormer. Beric made a brief appearance in Season 1 but it wasn't Dormer playing the role. Anguy is the Brotherhood's skilled archer and McGinely had a small part in Prometheus.
It's been long rumored that Kristofer Hivju, from the remake of The Thing would be playing role in Game of Thrones but, because of his red hair, I always assumed he'd end up a Tully. Nope, Hivju has been cast as Tormund Giantsbane, the number two wildling behind Mance Rayder. He's a great warrior, known for his imposing stature and giant beard.
The final two characters to join the cast are similar in that they both serve their powerful Queens. Nathalie Emannuel (Hollyoaks) has been added to the ensemble as Missandei, as a young slave she was educated by her masters before ending up in the service of Daenerys. The other addition is Anton Lesser as Qyburn, a Maester of the Citadel who was stripped of his chains and ends up being very important to Queen Cersei Lannister. Sorry, Queen Regent Cersei.
Game of Thrones returns for Season 3 in April, 2013.