Less than two months before the "Game of Thrones" season 3 premiere, HBO introduces some of the new faces through a batch of photos. The pictures give first look at Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder and Clive Russell as Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully among others.
Also unveiled in the photos are Richard Dormer's Beric Dondarrion, Dianna Rigg's Olenna Tyrell a.k.a. the Queen of Thorns, Thomas Brodie Sangster's Jojen Reed, Ellie Kendrick's Meera Reed, and Paul Kaye's Thoros. Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister are among familiar faces who get the highlights in the images, one of which offers a glimpse at new couple Margaery Tyrell and Joffrey Baratheon.
More new characters will be featured in the third season, which is based roughly on the first half of "A Storm of Swords", the third installment of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels. Showrunner David Benioff once explained why they didn't introduce too many characters at a time, "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."
He went on reasoning, "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."
The third season of "Game of Thrones" will kick off Sunday, March 31 at 9 P.M. on HBO. Each of the episodes will be extended with additional four to five minutes.