'Game of Thrones:' A Look at Season 3's New Faces and Characters
'Game of Thrones:' A look at Season 3's new faces and characters
SPOILER ALERT: This post contains storyline and character spoilers for the third season of "Game of Thrones."
With 27 series regulars and hundreds of guest stars, day players, and extras wandering in and out of Westeros and points beyond, keeping track of who's who on "Game of Thrones" is almost as big a feat as planning the Battle of Blackwater Bay. That task isn't going to get any easier when Season 3, which was shot by three units across five countries and promises plenty of fresh faces, begins March 31 on HBO.
Arguably, the most major addition to the cast was Ciaran Hinds. One, his resumé is as respected as Tywin Lannister's and almost as long as the feared coming winter, with "Rome," "Harry Potter," "Political Animals," and "There Will Be Blood" among the highlights. Two, he is portraying Mance Rayder, the ex-Night's Watchman who united 90 clans into one Wildling army currently moving in on the Wall. Rose Leslie (Ygritte) admitted at the junket last week in Beverly Hills to being a tad starstruck as "we've been watching him from a young age. Phenomenal."
Kit Harington, whose Jon Snow is trying to infiltrate the camp and must get Rayder to trust him, was also in awe. "He's a wonderful, wonderful man, and for someone who hadn't read the books and hadn't even seen the show when he joined and did his first few scenes, he nailed the character. That's the mark of the man's genius and genius of the writing."
Rayder isn't the only new force Jon Snow has to reckon with. When he walks into their camp in the season premiere, Jon comes face-to-knee with a bona fide giant. Harington and Leslie, however, were greeted instead by a long bar with an orange ball at the end being jogged across the set to establish a common sightline for the captive and his ginger captor. They were quick to remind that it wasn't all CG trickery. "Don't be fooled. That was a 7-foot-1 tall man, Ian, in a costume and massive boots. He was quite impressive in it. If they just filmed that, it would look like a giant," Harington explained. Leslie added, "[It took] four hours to get into prosthetics."
Fellow brother in black John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) recalled his meeting with the giant, who we have surmised -- HBO wouldn't confirm -- is played by Ian Whyte, an ex-professional basketball player who was already seen in past seasons as a White Walker and Lannister disciple Ser Gregor Clegane. "It looks kind of surprisingly realistic in real life," Bradley recounted. "We were all at the same hotel. I came down to breakfast, was getting my toast, and thought this is the only project in the world where this thing can appear next to you at breakfast and you just go, 'Morning, Ian.'"
Viewers will also say hello to a new face at court, Margaery Tyrell's sarcastic and scheming grandmother, Lady Olenna, who will be brought to the screen by Diana Rigg (TV's "The Avengers"). "Dame Diana Rigg. Let's give her her full title," gushed Natalie Dormer who admitted it was "pretty cool" to be even faux related to the Bond Girl. The minute Olenna appears on screen, one gets the sense that she is also playing the game of thrones to win. "[Margeary] has been trained to be cool, calm, and practical by her grandmother."