Game of Thrones Season 4: New Characters Primer
Winter is coming. The eagerly awaited 4th season of HBO drama Game of Thrones, based on author George R.R. Martin’s beloved fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, will not premier until April of 2014. But it’s never too early to start pining for our next fix of Westeros goodness. Game of Thrones has a famously gigantic cast of characters that has continued to expand since season 1. If you think season 4 will break this trend then, as Ygritte would say, you know nothing. For the convenience of Game of Thrones fans who haven’t read the books, here’s the lowdown on some of the key new players set to appear in the upcoming season.
We will do our best to avoid plot spoilers and stick to background info and casting (photos to come as they’re released), but if even the slightest details of the next season are enough to rile you up, you might want to think twice before reading on.
Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal)
Game of Thrones is loaded with references to Dorn. Dornishmen and Dornish wine are only the tip of iceberg. In addition, you may recall Cersei Lannister’s horror when she learned that her brother Tyrion was sending her daughter Myrcella to, you guessed it, Dorn. In season 4, you’ll finally have a chance to see a Dornishman in the flesh, and what a Dornishman he is. Oberyn Martell (aka, the Red Viper), brother of Oberon Martell, the Lord of Dorn, is known throughout Westeros for being a fierce warrior and womanizer. He makes no secret of his desire to avenge the death of his sister, Queen Elia of Dorn, the wife of the mad King Aerys Targaryen. Elia was murdered along with her infant children by Lannister soldiers (specifically Gregor Clegan, aka, the Mountain) in which Aerys Targaryen was killed and Robert Baratheon seized the Iron Throne. The people of Dorn, a fiercely independent Kingdom located in the arid south of Westeros, never forgave the Lannisters or the Baratheons for their crimes. Oberyn Martell has harbored a particularly strong and outspoken grievance, and will likely seize the first opportunity to get revenge, against the advice of his cautious, less compulsive and more farsighted brother, Lord Doran. At the start of Season 4, Oberyn has made his way to King’s Landing, ostensibly to represent his House at the royal wedding, but with the primary purpose of exacting revenge on the Lannisters for the murder of his sister Elia and her children.
Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma)
Oberyn Martell’s exotic and alluring paramour, Ellaria Sand, accompanies the Red Viper to King’s Landing in his quest to exact vengeance. Like all characters with last names pertaining to the geographical characteristics of their home (Snow, Rivers, Stone), Ellaria is a bastard, forced to live with all the baggage that comes along with the circumstances of her birth.
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Mace Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths)
In Season 3, Olenna Tyrell, the matriarch of House Martell, referred to her son and the Lord of Highgarden, Mace Tyrell, as a “ponderous oaf.” Tellingly, Mace’s children Maergery and Loras didn’t argue the point. Mace Tyrell has a reputation for extreme arrogance and self-importance, exaggerating a set of accomplishments that are, at best, modest. Lady Olenna is the true brains behind the Tyrell operation. After Stannis Baratheon murdered his brother Renly, whom House Tyrell supported, Mace Tyrell insisted in marrying his Margaery to King Joffrey against the wishes of his mother in order to increase the wealth and power of his House. As the father of the bride, Mace Tyrell will be present at the Royal Wedding in King’s landing.
Styr, Magnar of Thenn (Yuri Kolokolnikov)
Styr is among the most enigmatic characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. What we do know is that his people warship him as a God, making Thenns one of the most organized and capable forces beyond the Wall. Having rallied behind Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, with the objective of vanquishing the Night’s Watch and invading the Seven Kingdoms. George R.R. Martin has revealed very little about Thenn in A Song of Ice and Fire, so it will be interesting to see whether writers Benioff and Weiss will sprinkle in some juicy tidbits of new info, as they have in prior seasons.
Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss)
In the real world, there are few institutions more dangerous than big banks and few individuals more slippery than bankers. It turns out this is also the case in Westeros. Tycho Nestoris may not seem particularly intimidating, but as a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos (the home of Arya Stark’s MIA dancing master Syrio Forell), he is feared by even the most powerful men in Westeros. Astute viewers may recall such diverse figures as Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark and Tyrion Lannister fretting over the 7 Kingdoms’ considerable debt. Much of this debt is owed to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Tyrion in particular expresses a great deal of concern, warning his spendthrift sister Cersei that if the Lannsiters do not start to pay down their debt, the Iron Bank may fund their enemies.
The Three-Eyed Raven (Struan Rodger)
It’s difficult to reveal much about the three-eyed raven without major spoilers, but he’s such an awesome character that a little bit of background is called for, even if it’s mostly drawn from hints in previous season. Anyone who’s been paying the least bit of attention to Game of Thrones should have some idea what the three-eyed raven is referring to: the enigmatic bird that Bran Stark and Jojen Reed both see in their dreams. Prior to Eddard Stark’s execution at the hands of King Joffrey, the raven guides Bran to his father’s coffin in the crypts of Winterfell where he’s to be be buried. Bran experiences a similar vision about the ocean flooding Winterfell shortly before Theon Greyjoy and the Ironborn arrive to take it. In Season 3, Jojen Reed reveals that the three-eyed raven dispatched him to locate and assist in his journey. The three-eyed raven is obviously tied to Bran and Jojen’s powers, the exact nature of which are not yet apparent. Since a human actor has been cast to portray the three-eyed raven, it is fair to assume that the mysterious being must have some other form besides a bird. It seems that Game of Thrones’ 4th season will finally address this series-long mystery.