We’re nearly half way through the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones and the new characters are starting to pile up! As if the monstrous cast of Season 1 wasn’t enough to wrap our minds around, there are a whopping 22 new characters (worth mentioning) introduced over the first four episodes of Season 2. The following list gives some brief background information about each new character, who they are and how they fit into the story.
Hopefully this will help to eliminate any confusion you might have when you yell at your TV: “Wait! Who the hell was that guy again?”
King Stannis Baratheon
Played by: Stephen Dillane
Stannis is the late King Robert’s younger brother and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and Westeros. Since Robert’s Rebellion, he has held the island fortress of Dragonstone, which lies northeast of King’s Landing. Stannis is a hard, pragmatic man, with little patience for ‘friends’. Though an experienced military commander, his current forces are not large enough to march on King’s Landing.
Played by: Carive van Houten
The mysterious Red Priest is devoted to R’hllor, the Lord of Light, and according to her, the one true God. This religion comes from the eastern continent (Essos) and the Free Cities and is not well known in the Seven Kingdoms. Melisandre serves as Stannis’ close advisor and she proclaims to have seen his victory in the fire. Fire prophecies are just one of the mysterious powers of the Red Priests. She believes Stannis is the prophesised warrior promised by her faith, the one who will lead the armies of R’hllor and defeat the coming darkness.
Ser Davos Seaworth
Played by: Liam Cunningham
Davos is a former smuggler who saved Stannis’ life during Robert’s Rebellion. When Stannis was besieged and starving in Storm’s End, Davos smuggled in onions, which they survived on until Eddard Stark lifted the siege. Since then, Stannis has taken Davos into his service as an anointed knight, known as “the Onion Knight” because of his heroics. As punishment for his life as a smuggler, Stannis cut off part of the fingers of his left hand. Due to his low birth, many other knights and lords do not respect him.
Played by: Ker Logan
Matthos is the third son of Davos and is a devout follower of the Lord of Light. He fights for Stannis alongside his father. The two often disagree in matters of theology.
Played by: Lucian Msamati
Saan is a flamboyant pirate-lord from the Free City of Lys. He is the self-styled “Prince of the Narrow Sea”, commanding some thirty warships. When he isn’t pirating, Salladhor Saan has no qualms about selling his services as a mercenary fleet to the highest bidder. As and old friend of Davos, he agrees to join Stannis’ campaign against King’s Landing… for a price.
Played by: Oliver Ford Davies
The long serving Maester of the House Baratheon only appears briefly in the first episode of Season 2. He sees danger in Melisandre and her Red God and tries to warn Davos. In a last desperate attempt to save his master, Cressen tries to trick Melisandre into drinking poison, but her unknown powers protect her and Cressen dies.
North of the Wall:
Played by: Robert Pugh
Craster is a particularly unsavoury wildling that lives north of the wall with his many wives. His wives are also his daughters. Craster’s Keep sits just north of the wall and is the first stop on the Night’s Watch expedition. Despite his vile habits, Craster has been a friend to the Night’s Watch and his hospitality has often meant the difference between life and death for many a wandering ranger. Craster dislikes Jon Snow, who discovers why Craster has no sons.
Played by: Hannah Murray
Gilly is one of Craster’s daughter/wives who lives with him beyond the wall. Gilly is herself pregnant and fears what will happen to her baby if it is a boy. In her desperation, she turns to Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow for help, but Jon refuses her, knowing full well what Craster would do to them if they interfered in his affairs.
Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollett
Played by: Ben Crompton
Tollett is one of the brother’s of the Night’s Watch who joins Jon and co. on the expedition north of the Wall. His nickname derives from his penchant for sarcasm and pessimistic sense of humour.
At Renly’s Camp:
Played by: Natalie Dormer
Margaery is the only daughter of the vastly wealthy Tyrell family. Her father Mace Tyrell is the lord of Highgarden and Warden of the South. Her brother is Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers. Margaery is said to be as intelligent as she is beautiful. Renly marries Margaery despite his romantic engagement with her brother Loras. The marriage is a political match so that Renly can hold the support of the Tyrell’s, their money, and their army. Margaery is a shrewd player and knows the game her husband and father are playing but she appears more than happy to do her part for her family and King.
Brienne of Tarth
Played by Gwendoline Christie
Mockingly known as “Brienne the Beauty” for her unfortunate looks, Brienne is a lordless soldier who wins the tourney melee against Loras Tyrell at Renly’s camp. As her champion’s reward, Renly grants her a place in his Kingsguard. Expect her role to increase as the season moves on.
Played by: Tom Wlaschiha
Jaqen H’ghar is one of the prisoner’s in the cage that is travelling north with Arya and co. to the Wall. It is unknown what crime he committed to earn his shackles. We haven’t seen much of him yet, but his role should increase substantially in Episode Five and he will become one of the most influential characters in Arya’s story arc.
Ser Amory Lorch
Played by: Fintan McKeown
Ser Amory is a Lannister knight who is hunting down Yoren and his band of Night’s Watch recruits. After overtaking them and slaying Yoren, Lorch captures Arya and co. and brings them to Harrenhall, a famously haunted castle.
Across the Narrow Sea:
Played by: Nicholas Blane
When Daenerys arrives at the ancient, majestic city of Qarth she is greeted by the Thirteen, one of the ruling factions of the city. The man who greets her first is a Spice trader, whose name is “quite long and quite impossible for foreigners to pronounce”.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos
Played by: Nonso Anozie
When the Thirteen deny Daenerys welcome passage into the city, Xaro stands forward to personally vouch for her. Out of the kindness of his heart? Most likely not, but you’ll have to keep watching to see. He will become Daenerys host in the city and a powerful ally, but don’t expect him to offer her an army and some ships to sail them to Westeros.
Played by: Ian Hanmore
Pyat Pree is an alleged warlock of Qarth. He is present when the Thirteen greet Daenerys at the gates of Qarth and it should become clearer who he is later on in the season.
With the Young Wolf:
Ser Alton Lannister
Played by: Karl Davies
Alton Lannister is the cousin to Jaime, Tyrion and Cersei who is taken prisoner by Robb Stark’s army after the battle of the Whispering Wood (end of Season 1). He gets the unfortunate task of running back and forth between King’s Landing and Robb’s Camp to deliver peace terms which both sides know neither will accept.
Lord Roose Bolton
Played by: Michael McElhatton
Roose is the Lord of House Bolton and one of Robb Stark’s bannermen. A hard man, his family has a saying: “A naked man holds few secrets, a flayed man holds none.” He fights with Robb in the victory at Oxcross and will have more of a role in the later half of the season.
Played by Oona Chaplin
Talisa is introduced as a field nurse after Robb’s victory at Oxcross. She trades words with the Young Wolf before leaving. There’s some confusion over who she actually is because originally, Chaplin was cast as Jeyne Westerling, a daughter of a minor noble house who becomes Robb’s romantic interest. It’s possible that this role has been changed or that Jeyne is simply hiding her true identity for the moment.
At King’s Landing:
Ser Dontos Hollard
Played by Tony Way
The drunken knight is made a fool of at the tourney on Joffrey’s name day. Sansa saves him from execution and he is made the new court jester. He may seem like nobody at the moment, but he should become a bigger character in Sansa’s story arc later in the season.
The Iron Islanders:
King Balon Greyjoy
Played by: Patrick Malahide
Balon is the Lord Reaper of Pyke and self-styled “King of the Iron Islands”. Several years previously, he lead a failed rebellion against King Robert for his crown and independence. The short war took the lives of his two eldest sons, and saw his youngest son Theon (then a boy) taken as hostage and ward to Eddard Stark. Theon returns with terms of an alliance with Robb Stark, offering a crown and independence in exchange for aid against the Lannisters. Balon refuses, using his favourite quote: “I pay the Iron price,” meaning he isn’t given a crown, he will take one. Balon has his eyes on the north, which has been left relatively weakened by the departure of Robb’s army to the Riverlands.
Played by: Gemma Whelan
Yara is Theon’s elder sister and a fierce warrior in her own right. After the death of her brothers and departure of Theon, Yara bonded closely to her father and became the ‘son’ he no longer had. She commands her own warship in the Iron Fleet and aspires to succeed her father as ruler of the Iron Islands instead of Theon. The Islanders do not always hold to the traditions of the line of succession, where Theon is technically the next heir.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights on HBO in the US and on Monday nights on Sky Atlantic in the UK. If you like, leave us a comment below about your favourite new character in Season 2 and who you are most looking forward to watching in the second half of the season.