While viewers of "Game of Thrones" are still reacting to last Sunday's penultimate episode of the season, executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss are already looking to the upcoming third season of HBO's blockbuster fantasy.
Based upon George R. R. Martin’s "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, the third season will adapt approximately half of the third book, "A Storm of Swords;" while a potential fourth season would cover the remainder of that book. The current season of "Game of Thrones" featured 25 actors in leading roles as well as several guest stars in each episode. And the third season will only get bigger, according to Benioff and Weiss.
“It’s important to point out that that we have the largest cast on television right now," noted Benioff during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "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. 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.”
Benioff and Weiss also released a partial list of new characters coming next season:
The King Beyond the Wall and former Night's Watch member who has apparently united the Wilding tribes under his banner.
"A confident and seductive warrior."
Jojen Reed and Meera Reed
"A teenage brother and sister duo with special insights."
"A brash young member of the Tully family."
Ser Brynden Tully (The Blackfish)
"Catelyn Stark’s uncle."
Lady Selyse Florent
Stannis Baratheon’s wife, who was briefly mentioned earlier this season.
Olenna Redwyne (The Queen of Thorns)
Margaery and Loras Tyrell’s sharp-witted grandmother.
The leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners, the order to which the mysterious order which counts Jaqen H'ghar among its number.
Thoros of Myr
A priest who worships R'hllor the Red God, much like the Lady Melisandre.
"A Wildling raider."
Benioff also noted that there will be "a few others" before adding "holy hell that’s a lot of new faces.”
"Game of Thrones" season three will begin production later this year and it is expected to premiere on HBO in Spring 2013.