Casting rumors about the third season of "Game of Thrones" have been swirling for weeks, and HBO finally put fans out of their speculation misery at Comic-Con by confirming the identities of more than a dozen actors who'll be joining the series in Season 3.
Diana Rigg of the classic British series "The Avengers" joins "Game of Thrones" as Lady Olenna Tyrell, "The Queen of Thorns." She is the grandmother of the aristocrats Loras and Margaery Tyrell and the matriarch of the powerful Tyrell clan. (Nerds may already be aware that Rigg and her daughter are appearing in the upcoming season of "Doctor Who.")
Mackenzie Crook, best known for his roles on the U.K. version of "The Office" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," will play the wildling raider Orell, who, according to HBO, "is a 'warg' or 'skinchanger,' with the ability to enter the mind of an animal and control its actions."
Fans have been eagerly awaiting casting news about Bryndon Tully, a.k.a. The Blackfish, and now, Clive Russell has been confirmed to play the much-anticipated character. The Blackfish is Catelyn Tully's famously valiant uncle, who was estranged from her father, Lord Hoster Tully, for years.
And if you're dying to know when "Game of Thrones" will return, HuffPost TV's Laura Prudom attended the San Diego Comic-Con panel for the show and has the Season 3 premiere date as well as lots more scoop on the HBO drama.
Back to casting: The following names and character descriptions for "Game of Thrones" Season 3 come from HBO's Friday press release:
- Nathalie Emannuel will play Missandei. "Originally from the peaceful island of Naath, Missandei was sold into slavery as a child, along with her brother. She received education in various languages and became a translator to the slave trader Kraznys in Astapor."
- Kerry Ingram will play Shireen Baratheon. Shireen is "the only child of Stannis Baratheon. An avid reader, she escapes her lonely life through myths and stories –- her books are her most treasured possessions."
- Paul Kaye will play Thoros of Myr. "A key member of the outlaw band known as the Brotherhood Without Banners, he is a Red Priest, in service of the Lord of Light, and originally hails from the Free City of Myr, in Essos."
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster will play Jojen Reed, "a mysterious and enigmatic young man who becomes an important ally to Bran Stark."
- Ellie Kendrick will play Meera Reed. "The eldest daughter of Howland Reed and a staunch Stark loyalist, Meera and her younger brother Jojen seek out Bran Stark to protect him on his hard journey north."
- Richard Dormer will play Beric Dondarrion. "Once the lord of Blackhaven and a celebrated warrior, Lord Beric has now become the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners, a band of vigilante outlaws."
- Kristofer Hivju will play Tormund Giantsbane. "A famed wildling warrior and chief lieutenant of the 'King Beyond the Wall,' Mance Rayder, Tormund is fearsome and strong, with a large build and a beard to match."
- Philip McGinley will play Anguy, "an extremely skilled archer and key member of the outlaw band known as the Brotherhood Without Banners."
- Tara Fitzgerald will play Selyse Baratheon. "The wife of Stannis Baratheon, Selyse spends much of her life in seclusion, shut away in a gloomy tower."
- Tobias Menzies will play Edmure Tully. "The younger brother of Catelyn Stark, Edmure has recently become Lord of Riverrun in the wake of his father’s death."
- Anton Lesser will play Qyburn, "a former maester of the Citadel, who was stripped of his chain many years ago."
Check out the video released Friday at San Diego Comic-Con, which highlights many of the new cast members: