"Game of Thrones" returned to HBO on Sunday night, introducing a host of new characters, and -- as a surprise to those who are sticking to the screen (and not the page) version of the story - the return of at least one character who seemingly perished in the Battle of Blackwater.
With the battle for the Iron Throne continuing, AccessHollywood.com shares our handy cheat sheet on how to keep Season 3, Episode 301's emerging and surprise returning characters straight.
Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds):
How He Was Introduced: Mance was first revealed as he laughed at Kit Harington's Jon Snow after the young man kneeled before Tormund Giantsbane, a redheaded, bearded wildling he mistook for the King Beyond the Wall. Ciaran's Mance then put Jon to a test of loyalty, asking the young man why he left the Night's Watch to join the wildlings. Mance clearly liked Jon's second answer - "I want to fight for the side that fights for the living" - because he suggested they give him a new cloak.
Characters He's Tied To: Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Ygritte (Rose Leslie), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) a Wildling who was also introduced in the scene, and all the wildlings.
Where You've Seen Ciaran Before: In many, many films and television shows over the years. Most recently, Ciaran was starring as the powerful man with a weakness for a pretty face - Bud Hammond, alongside Sigourney Weaver's Elaine Parrish - in USA's "Political Animals." HBO fans will also remember Ciaran playing Julius Caesar in "Rome."
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham):
How He Was Introduced: Superfans and book readers know full well that Liam's Davos, aka The Onion Knight, was introduced in Season 2 as the right hand man of Stannis Baratheon (the late King Robert's younger brother). But, he looked rather differently when he made his Season 3 debut - stranded on an island with a sunburnt face, torn up clothing and unruly hair.
For those who haven't read the books, Davos' return may come as a surprise. He was last seen in Season 2, Episode 209, during the Battle of Blackwater. He was blown off his ship as the wildfire exploded in the waters outside King's Landing. Sadly, his son, Matthos, did not survive the explosion.
Liam himself kept his return a secret, and in this Access video, dodged questions about Davos' fate at the Season 3 premiere in LA earlier this month - despite our own Laura Saltman pointing out his character's name is "Sea-Worth."
Characters He's Tied To: Another refresher - Davos serves Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), the lone surviving Baratheon brother (King Robert died in Season 1 and that creepy shadow baby birthed by the Red Priestess, Melisandre, killed Stannis' baby brother, Renly, in Season 2).
Where You've Seen Liam Before: Everywhere. Liam has a lengthy film and television pedigree, but a few of his recent credits include "Safe House," alongside Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, as well as Stephen Spielberg's "War Horse." He was also a big part of the Encore import miniseries, "Titanic: Blood and Steel."
Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel):
How She Was Introduced: Translating between her master, Kraznys mo Nakloz (newcomer Dan Hildebrand), and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in the city of Astapor, as the Mother of Dragons attempted to gain more information about the Unsullied, an 8,000 strong army she has an interest in buying in her quest to take the Iron Throne.
Characters She's Tied To: Her master and now, Daenerys.
Where You've Seen Nathalie Before: Nathalie starred on British soap "Hollyoaks" in her native UK, but stateside fans may have caught her in the LogoTV import series, also available on Hulu - "Misfits."
Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney):
How He Was Introduced: Not a new character, Ser Barristan was last spotted in Season 1, during the June 5, 2011 episode, when he stormed out in disgust after Cersei Lannister told him to retire from the King's Guard, and announced her twin brother, Jaime Lannister, would replace him as Lord Commander of the King's Guard. In disgust, Ser Barristan tossed his sword on the ground and told King Joffrey to melt his sword down "and add it to the others" that make up the Iron Throne. In the Season 3 premiere episode, he saved Dany from the creepy Warlock child.
Characters He's Tied To: He used to serve under Daenerys Targaryen's father, Aerys II Targaryen, before serving King Robert Baratheon. After Season 3's premiere episode, expect to see him tied to Dany as well as Ser Jorah Mormont.
Where You've Seen Ian Before: Like Liam Cunningham (see above) Ian was also in the Encore miniseries, "Titanic: Blood and Steel." He also appeared as a guest star in the recent BBC America series "Ripper Street," alongside Matthew Macfadyen and another "GOT" actor - Jerome Flynn (Bronn of the Blackwater).
-- Jolie Lash
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