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‘Game of Thrones’ Character Guide: Season Three’s 9 New Faces

Your who’s who for the new season’s new faces

game of thrones kings landing

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When Game of Thrones returns for its third season Sunday, the game will have more players on the field than ever. Even as the adventures of Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Robb Stark and company continue, a slew of new enemies and allies – plus all those in-between types that this show specializes in – will be making their presence felt in a big way.

Before you catch the premiere, get the basics on the newcomers by clicking through our gallery. (WARNING: MILD SPOILERS. We're not really telling you anything you won't find out quickly upon meeting these people. To learn how they really play the game, you'll have to watch.)

By Sean T. Collins

Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

9

Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds)

All hail the King Beyond the Wall. This former member of the Night's Watch went rogue and declared himself ruler of the wildlings who roam the frozen north. But even wildlings don't stand a chance against the demonic White Walkers and their zombie minions. Now Mance has gathered all the wildlings' competing tribes together for an unknown purpose – a purpose that Jon Snow has either gone undercover to uncover, or has legitimately switched sides to help out with.

Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) game of thrones

HBO

8

Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju)

This fearsomely bearded wildling is Mance Rayder's right-hand man, his reputation for bravery exceeded only by his penchant for telling tall tales about it.

Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

7

Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg)

Game of Thrones' answer to Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess (just remember: the books that the show's based on came first), Lady Olenna is the real power behind the ambitious, super-rich Tyrell family. Known as the Queen of Thorns, her grandchildren include Lady Margaery, the up-and-comer who was married to slain pretender to the throne Renly Baratheon and is currently engaged to King Joffrey, and Ser Loras, a talented warrior who was secretly Renly's boyfriend.

Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

6

Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer)

Blink and you'll miss him, but the so-called Lightning Lord made a cameo way back in Season One, dispatched by Eddard Stark to bring justice to Tywin Lannister's towering mad-dog enforcer Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. Now he leads the so-called Brotherhood Without Banners, a band of citizen soldiers, in a guerrilla campaign against the marauding armies that have destroyed their lands – and the fight has clearly taken its toll.

Thoros (Paul Kaye) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

5

Thoros (Paul Kaye)

Thoros of Myr is a key member of Beric's rebel Brotherhood (you might remember that Lannister thugs were torturing civilians for information about them back in Season Two). Like the would-be king Stannis's red priestess Melisandre, Thoros is a foreign-born follower of the fire god called the Lord of Light, although he's a lot less hubba-hubba about it.

Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

4

Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster)

Wise beyond his years and gifted with psychic powers, Jojen and his sister Meera are the children of Howland Reed, a swamp-dwelling lord who once fought side by side with Ned Stark. He's out to guide Bran, who's got mysterious powers of his own.

Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

3

Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick)

Meera is Jojen's older sister, and his protector. Her upbringing in a crocodile-infested swamp has given her mad skill with weapons, which she uses to watch her visionary brother's back.

Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully (Clive Russell) game of thrones

Helen Sloan

2

Brynden ‘The Blackfish’ Tully (Clive Russell)

Catelyn Stark's family, House Tully, has a leaping fish as its symbol. So when her no-nonsense uncle Brynden had a falling out with her powerful father, instead of being the Tully family's black sheep, he declared himself its Blackfish. Self-imposed exile hasn't stopped him from becoming one of Westeros's deadliest warriors, though, so he'll be integral to his great-nephew Robb's plans for victory.

Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) game of thrones

HBO

1

Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel)

Sold into slavery at an early age, Missandei works as a translator for one of the so-called Great Masters of Astapor, a major slave-trade hub far to the east of Westeros. As Daenerys attempts to secure an army to supplement her own meager forces, Missandei's her go-between with the local bigwigs.

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