Watch the Throne, Charge it to the Game: Getting to Know Game of Thrones 3.0

Posted by Kells, March 30, 2013 04:10pm | Post a Comment

Whether you're a fan of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series or just a nighttime TV junkie jonesing for HBO's explicit tits, violence, and wine approach to adapting Martin's opus into their small screen "prestige" drama, you're likely as fired up as I am for the season three premier of Game of Thrones this Easter Sunday night. Having enjoyed reading the books immensely, I'm itching with anticipation for the faces, places, and expirations, however abrupt, yet to receive HBO's patent sexpository book-to-show treatment. For those interested in getting to know the new additions to the series this season, I've compiled my own top ten anticipated new faces set to appear in Game of Thrones 3.0 (expect mild spoilers at best), including a smattering of other related hopes and fears I have concerning the page-to-performance transition (e.g. I'm beginning to think that we're not gonna hear anyone say "R'hllor").

Also, NERD ALERT! if you're in San Francisco on Sunday and you're looking for some Throner-related nightlife I urge you to check out the Game of Thrones viewing party presented at Stage Werx beginning at 8pm with a screening of GoT season two, episode ten to get everyone up to speed. Episode one season three will screen at 9pm immediately followed by a live recording of Boars, Gore and Swords (the "third greatest," and my favorite, Game of Thrones podcast) by Red Scott and Ivan Hernandez so stick around, mingle with ye bannermen, and partake in some top-shelf insightful and opinionated infotainment.

And now, as if you won't be scrambling to figure out who's who on during the show anyway, here is my top ten fresh faces of GoTs3:

The Queen of Thorns
“That Varys creature seemed to think we should be grateful for the information. I’ve never been quite sure what the point of a eunuch is, if truth be told. It seems to me they’re only men with the useful bits cut off.”

— The Queen of Thorns, from A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book III) - George R. R. Martin

Game of Thrones gets its equivalent to Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) this season with the entrance of Lady Olenna Redwyne, grandmother of queen-to-be Margaery Tyrell, aka the Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg, perhaps best known for her Avengers and James Bond years). Sure to be throwing shade and reading friend and foe alike to absolute filth like any queen mum worth her barbs, I have no doubt the Queen of Thorns will have just as many zingers to deliver as Violet Grantham, but be warned that this Game of Thrones' newbie is one scheming meemaw.

Mance Rayder
“Free folk don’t follow names, or little cloth animals sewn on a tunic. They won’t dance for coins, they don’t care how your style yourself or what that chain of office means or who your grandsire was. They follow strength. They follow the man.”

— Mance Rayder, from A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book III) - George R. R. Martin

Aside from having one of the most bas-ass monickers in the series, Mance Rayder, the "King-Beyond-the-Wall" (played by Irish actor Ciarán Hinds of Excalibur and Rome fame), seems to be already one of the most bitched about portrayals. Come on guys, I know there's no signature cape, but did anyone out there get there panties in a twist when Renley's "Rainbow cloaks" were nixed? Besdies, with a man like Mance it's not so much how he looks, but rather what he does. And who he rolls with.

For example:

Tormund Giantsbane

See, lad, that’s why he’s king and I’m not. I can outdrink, outfight, and outsing him, and my member’s thrice the size o’ his, but Mance has cunning.’

— Tormund Giantsbane, from A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book III) - George R. R. Martin

While we're on the topic of bold names and hard aliases, a bushy new face making the scene by means of Mance's entourage is Tormund, better known as Tormund Giantsbane or Tormund Thunderfist, the self-styled Tall-talker, Horn-blower and Breaker of Ice, Husband to Bears, the Mead-king of Ruddy Hall, Speaker to Gods and Father of Hosts (played by Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju). I refuse to believe any casting quibbles exist concerning Mance's right hand man, especially given his rather stunning, ice-climbing introduction in the season three trailer. I look forward to lusty feats of violence punctuated with wild-eyed recollections copulating with bears from this braggart.

Blue grey feathers filled his eyes, as sharp talons buried themselves in his face… Can a bird hate?

—  from A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book III) - George R. R. Martin

I think I slapped myself with giddyness when I learned that Mackenzie Crook (of the original UK inception of The Office as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean boxoffice juggernauts) had been cast to play, well, anyone in Game of Thrones. I mean, look at this guy! He just needs to be a part of this. In the role of warg, or skinchanger or beastmaster Orell (think Bran and how he has the ability to inhabit the body of his direwolf except swap that spirit animal out for an eagle), Crook takes on on of the freakier roles among Rayder's wildling brigade. I'm excited to see him in the mix no matter how annoying his character promises to be.

Daario Naheris
That night Daario had her every way a man can have a woman, and she gave herself to him willingly.

—  from A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book V) - George R. R. Martin

Oh Daario, Daario Naheris (played by English rapper Ed Skrein). You know, I don't even care that your made-for-TV looks do not include a three prong forked blue beard or that your costume is suspiciously bereft of shiny things. You look just like a slightly sleazy, ready to teaze n' pleaze Miss Dany like late 80's Hollywood rocker on the prowl. Expect hot hot "swordsmanship" from this Tyroshi captain of the Stormcrows mercenary company.

Dany had grown very fond of Missandei. The little scribe with the big golden eyes was wise beyond her years. She is brave as well. She had to be, to survive the life she’s lived.

—  from A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book III) - George R. R. Martin

Now, Nathalie Emmanuel cast in the role of a ten-year-old Missandei isn't so startling when you consider that Daenerys Targaryen was supposed to be about fourteen when she married Khal Drogo in season one. I, for one, am thankful that many of Martin's children were aged-up for HBO. Anyway, former child slave Missandei is a welcome addition to Dany's crew in that her role as translator and go-bewteen with local honchos dealing in armies-for-hire in the slave-trade armpit called Astaphor is integral to Dany's prerogative (i.e. claim to total domination of the seven kingdoms by birthright). Do I smell come-uppance?

Beric Dondarrion
"He's here, he's there, he's everywhere, but when you send men after him, he melts away like dew. One day you hear the man is dead, the next they're saying how he can't be killed."

— Ser Daven Lannister,  from A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book IV) - George R. R. Martin

I don't know much about Australian actor David Michael Scott aside from the fact that I'm dead excited (pun intended) to see him light up the night as "Lightning Lord" Beric Dondarrion in Game of Thrones this season. You may remember him from season one, if you're a total geek like me, when Ned Stark ordered a knight to go capture Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, who had won a bit of infamy for raping and pillaging and things. Welp, Dondarrion (I just love that name, it sounds like he and Robin Hood could be total bros) is back and guess what kids?! He has found religion in the Red God (you know, R'hllor) and dispenses justice with none other than his very own, very special, flaming sword! Speaking of R'hllor, keep an eye out for another new face in Dondarrion's eclectic "Brotherhood Without Banners" entourage, the red priest Thoros of Myr played by Paul Kaye. There's an epic showdown brewing here that's gonna be as intense and raw as the Bear and the Maiden Fair, I'm talkin' popcorn missing-your-face-for-flying-over-your-head moments, people.

The Reeds
“You are the winged wolf, Bran. I wasn’t sure when we first came, but now I am. The crow sent us here to break your chains.”
— Jojen Reed,  from A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book II) - George R. R. Martin

For the record, the Reeds should have been introduced last season as they were integral to the Bran and co.'s  clandestine escape from Winterfell, but I'm not gonna nit-pick because frankly I'm a little surprised they're joining the show at all. The Reeds are the children of Ned Stark's best friend and they live way out in the sticks in what is essentially a swamp settlement. Derided as "frogeaters," the Reeds supposedly have green eyes and mysterious powers possibly related to their off the grid way of living. Meera (Ellie Kendrick, above right) is a skilled hunter, and Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) can see the future: handy!

Ser Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully

“You must be blind as well as maimed, ser. Lift your eyes, and you will see that the direwolf still flies above our walls.”
—  Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, from A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book IV) - George R. R. Martin

First off, Game of Thrones costumers deserve an A++ for that fish scale inspired leather armor (Catelyn Stark's family, House Tully, has a leaping fish as its symbol). Catlyn's no-nonsense uncle Brynden, having had a falling out with her powerful father Hoster, declared himself the Tully family's black sheep by way of adopting the alias Blackfish. Self-imposed exile hasn't stopped this hard-as-nails warrior from becoming one of Westeros's deadliest, even if he is a sweetheart compared to his nephew Edmure. The Blackfish will, of course, be integral to his great-nephew Robb's King-in-the-North status.


“He smiles less often now, I may have broken some of his pretty white teeth.” 

—  Lord Ramsay Bolton, from A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice & Fire, Book V) - George R. R. Martin

Reek. Reek. Rhymes with... I'm not going to talk about Reek. Just like I'm not going to talk about Whitebeard or any other character joining the cast that deserves their own true and proper dramatic introduction. This show is one of the best shows currently airing due in part to it's acrobatic plot points and shocking revelations. So why the picture of Reek? Well, for one, he's one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-him characters from the GoTs3 trailers and, secondly, it'll do for the show's Easter premier, no?

Happy Game of Thrones Easter 2013 everybody!

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