Last summer, HBO rolled out the names of new cast members for "Game of Thrones" on a regular basis. But at Comic-Con International, "Game of Thrones" creator George R. R. Martin was on hand as the network announced 14 new performers at once!
Perhaps most well known among the additions is Diana Rigg ("The Avengers"), who will portray Lady Oleena Tyrel, the grandmother of Margaery and Loras Tyrell. The other new faces include Clive Russell as Bryndon “The Blackfish” Tully, Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully, Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon, Tara Fitzgerald as Selyse Baratheon, Ellie Kendirck as Meera Reed, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Jojen Reed, Nathalie Emannuel as Missandei, Mackenzie Crook as Orell, Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr, Anton Lesser as Qyburn, Philip McGinley as Anguy, Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion and Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane.
Joining Martin on stage was "Game of Thrones" executive producer Carolyn Strauss and several cast members, including Emilia Clarke, Alfie Allen, Michelle Fairley, Rose Leslie and Richard Madden; who was greeted by chants of "The King of the North!"
Fans expecting season 3 spoilers may have been disappointed, as the panel largely stayed on other issues. But "A Storm of Swords," the third novel in Martin's series of novels upon which the "Game of Thrones" TV series is based on has been out for many years if fans really want to know what's coming.
Madden and Clarke briefly spoke about playing off creatures that don't really exist. Clarke noted that she had life-sized dragons to stand in with her during Daenerys' scenes with the CGI dragons, while Madden said that the Direwolves were either stuffed animals or a wooden stick with a silver ball.
Martin and Strauss revealed that Allen was given a fake script last year in which Theon was killed by Bran as a practical joke by "Game of Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. It wasn't until the producers told Allen that Theon would be a naked zombie that he figured out it was a prank. But speaking of nudity, Fairley had a hilarious bit where she joked about being naked in Robb's war tent before slipping into character and saying "No... he is my son."
Regarding Theon's sexual escapades, Martin jokingly told Allen that he still hasn't gotten a box of chocolates as a thank you. Madden added that he prefers the action scenes to his single love sequence in season two.
Leslie briefly compared her character Ygritte to Gwen, a character she plays on "Downton Abbey." She said that Gwen wouldn't last long beyond the wall, but it would be entertaining to see Ygritte at the Abbey.
Responding to questions about Tolkien and allegory in fantasy, Martin reiterated that his "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the subsequent "Game of Thrones" TV series are not meant to be a comment on the present or the past. Instead, the story is about the human heart more than anything else.
"Game of Thrones" is expected to return to HBO for season 3 in April 2013.