Game of Thrones returns to HBO this week, and if you thought the first season had a lot of characters, look out: Season 2 ramps things up considerably, adding dozens more vivid, story-changing players to the mix. After devouring the books, here are a handful we’re most excited to see.
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) Robert Baratheon’s stone-cold brother, who lays claim to the throne. So does his younger brother Renly. Uh-oh.
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) She’s large and rather homely, but this warrior-maid is also fiercely devoted to those she serves (sometimes to a fault). Plus, she’s an awesome fighter. Go ahead, make fun of her looks. We dare you.
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) The “Onion Knight” is one of the most loyal guys you’ll meet in George R. R. Martin’s world of cutthroats and thieves. In this case, he’s loyal to Stannis.
Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) There’s not much we can tell you about this coin-dispensing, wish-granting mystery man, except this: If there’s one guy you want to save from a fire, this is him.
Lady Melisandre (Carice van Houten) A high priestess who allies herself with Stannis. This chick legitimately scares us. You don’t want to be in her crosshairs, and you don’t want to go with her into watery caves.