Make room for the new kids! Westeros is going to get even more crowded on Game of Thrones Season 2, which premieres April 1 on HBO. The spotlight is going to shine on several important new characters, so here’s a quickie guide to some of the major fresh faces we’ll meet.
Note: We won't spoil any big plot points, but we have read the books. If you want to go into the season knowing nothing about what's to come, turn away now.
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
Stannis is the middle Baratheon boy — younger brother of the late King Robert (Mark Addy) and older brother of the ambitious Renly (Gethin Anthony). Going by pure bloodlines, Stannis is Robert’s true heir, since the kid currently sitting on the Iron Throne, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), is not actually Robert’s biological son. Since Stannis knows this, he’s ready to fight and claim the throne for himself. Unfortunately, Stannis is dry and unforgiving and nobody likes him all that much — including his popular younger brother Renly, who is in the process of trying to claim the throne for himself.
Melisandre (Carice van Houten)
The Red Lady is a priestess from across the Narrow Sea in Asshai. She has copper hair and red eyes and worships the Lord of Light, R'hllor. She is Stannis Baratheon’s chief advisor and will do anything to help him take the throne, believing that he is prophesied to rule. She’s scary and ruthless and has a huge amount of influence over Stannis.
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham)
Davos, aka “The Onion Knight,” is loyal to Stannis and doesn’t trust Melisandre. Davos used to be a smuggler but Stannis gave him his knighthood during King Robert’s rebellion. However, Stannis also had a few of Davos’ fingers cut off for being a thief. Stannis is complicated like that. Davos is fan favorite from the books.
Jeyne Westerling (Oona Chaplin)
When Robb Stark isn’t busy fighting the Lannisters and anyone else who challenges his status as “The King in the North,” he meets a girl named Jeyne who…let’s say…complicates things.
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)
Another fan favorite in the books, Brienne is a tall, unattractive wannabe knight who serves Renly Baratheon as Renly attempts to take the throne. Although her love for Renly is unrequited (remember: he's gay), she is his loyal supporter and an accomplished fighter.
Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer)
Margaery is the sister of Ser Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones), Renly Baratheon’s secret lover. Beautiful Margaery is kind but shrewd and understands the benefits of aligning herself with the powerful House Baratheon...Even if it means a political marriage that will categorically not involve love.
Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide)
The lord of the Iron Islands, Balon is the father of Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), who has been a ward of the Stark family since he was 8. Theon gets to visit his family on the Iron Islands this season. Will he be welcomed with open arms?
Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)
Called Asha in the books, Yara is Theon Greyjoy’s sister. Fierce warrior Yara has basically been running the show at her father’s side, so don’t expect her to be happy to see her brother.
Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha)
The mysterious Jaqen was part of Yoren’s (Francis Magee) group of recruits taken from King's Landing to join the Night’s Watch. He’s traveling to The Wall along with Arya Stark, who is disguising herself as a boy.
Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton)
House Bolton is creepy as heck. Roose is cold and calculating and likes to be leeched for health purposes, earning himself the nickname “The Leech Lord.” He has a bastard son, Ramsay Snow, who is even more of a bad seed. Expect to see the Bolton crew at Harrenhal on Season 2, where they should meet up with Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) — who is currently on the lam.
Ygritte (Rose Leslie)
Another strong warrior, Ygritte is a wildling woman that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) meets beyond The Wall. She’s known for her red hair and for saying “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”