Season two of HBO’s award winning fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, will be drawing to a close this coming Sunday and fans are already turning their attention to season three.
As you likely already know, the Game of Thrones serial loosely follows the books by season, but it’s slightly adjusted to fit the structure of a television narrative.
We recently learned that the third season will break up the flow even further, as the series is expected to tell only half of the story of book three.
When Martin split one of the books, he did it by character, telling half of the characters’ stories in one volume, and the other half in the other.
However, this obviously makes little sense for television, unless HBO is simply worried about overloading the audience with too many new characters.
Fortunately for fans, producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss released the following list of the new characters who will be introduced in the upcoming season, along with brief descriptions:
- Mance Rayder: We’ve heard about him all season. A former member of the Night’s Watch who became the “King Beyond the Wall,” the leader of the Wildlings.
- Daario Naharis: A confident and seductive warrior.
- Jojen Reed; Meera Reed: A teenage brother and sister duo with special insights.
- Edmure Tully: A brash young member of the Tully family.
- Ser Brynden Tully (The Blackfish): Catelyn Stark’s uncle.
- Lady Selyse Florent: Stannis Baratheon’s wife.
- Shireen: Stannis’ daughter.
- Olenna Redwyne (The Queen of Thorns): Margaery Tyrell’s sharp-witted grandmother.
- Beric Dondarrion: A skilled knight who is the leader of the outlaw group Brotherhood Without Banners.
- Thoros of Myr: A red priest who follows the same religion as Melisandre.
- Tormund Giantsbane: A Wildling raider.
“Holy hell, that’s a lot of new faces," Benioff added when discussing the list with Entertainment Weekly.
Of course, the big news seems to be that the Reed siblings have not been written out. Indeed, an increasing number of minor characters are being eliminated to make room for more complex drama, prompting fans to worry that their favorite characters might never appear in the show. Keeping a proper balance between complexity and characters is likely a big part of the decision to split book three into two seasons.
"It’s important to point out that that we have the largest cast on television right now. We introduced dozens of new characters in season two. If you hurl 300 characters at an audience, the story collapses under the weight of too many faces, too many names, and too many subplots," said Benioff.
"We need to be just as mindful of the audience members who have never read the books as we are of the readers; the series will fail if we only appeal to those who already know the characters. So we try to be parsimonious about how many new roles we introduce to the story and when we introduce them."
The final episode of the second season of Game of Thrones airs Sunday June 3rd, 2013. The third season kicks off in spring 2013 and runs another ten episodes.