Actors will be lining up to sit on the 'Throne' (Nels Israelson/HBO)
First, it was announced that Natalie Dormer, formerly of "The Tudors," would be popping up in Westeros as Margaery Tyrell, whose hand in marriage becomes a prize in the ongoing game of thrones. And then rumors began to spread that one-time "Doctor Who" Christopher Eccleston was poised to join the program as well. While the specific role he's up for hasn't been confirmed, it's been widely speculated that he'd play Stannis Baratheon, the elder of dead King Robert's younger brothers and a major player in the second book, "A Clash of Kings."
These pieces of casting news made us reach for our tattered copy of "Clash" in search of other new characters that will likely be introduced on HBO. Here are some of the people you may meet when the show returns and who we think should play them. (Warning: Some minor spoilers may lurk within.)
Our Pick: Anna Friel
As Stannis enters the competition for the Iron Throne, one of the most powerful weapons in his arsenal is the priestess/consultant Melisandre, who lends her magical talents to his campaign against the other surviving Baratheon brother, Renley (Gethin Anthony). Ex-"Pushing Daisies" star Anna Friel has the right combination of striking beauty and inner strength to bewitch us in this role.
Our Pick: David Thewlis
"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin describes Davos Seaworth -- a former smuggler turned Stannis's most trusted knight -- as "a slight man… [with] a common face [and] thin shoulders." That description fits ultra-trim British actor David Thewlis, perhaps known for playing Remus Lupin in the "Harry Potter" movies. Besides his physical appearance, the actor also naturally possesses Davos's air of restrained nobility.
Brienne of Tarth
Our Pick: Abbie Cornish
One of the strongest female characters in a series filled with memorable women, aspiring knight and skilled warrior Brienne of Tarth initially fights in Renley's army before switching her allegiance to Catelyn Stark. Abbie Cornish proved herself a solid ass-kicker in "Sucker Punch," but there is the not-inconsiderable matter of her appearance -- specifically that she's gorgeous, while Brienne… has a really great personality. But that's where the magic of movie makeup comes in. In fact, this could turn out to be her "Monster" moment. Charlize Theron won an Oscar for playing ugly, and doing the same might put Cornish on the road to an Emmy.
Our Pick: Brendan Gleeson
The father of the aforementioned highly prized bride Margaery, Mace Tyrell intends to leverage his lovely little bargaining chip into a good position for himself and his house. Irish character actor Brendan Gleeson seems a natural fit for this role, which requires a performer who possesses a jovial attitude, a healthy beer gut, and the ability to grow a prodigious beard.
Our Pick: Rebecca Hall
Another warrior woman that doesn't let her gender get in the way of her ability to cause some serious damage, Asha is the super-bad sister of Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), who helps her sibling strike at the very heart of his former guardians, the Starks. While we haven't seen Rebecca Hall in this kind of role before, she's proven herself to be one of the most versatile actresses around in movies like "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "The Town." It doesn't hurt that she's easy on the eyes and would seriously rock Asha's short hair.
Our Pick: Alan Rickman
The "Harry Potter" franchise may be wrapped up, but Alan Rickman doesn't have to put his Severus Snape outfit back in his closet just yet. That all-black ensemble, not to mention Snape's blindingly pale skin, would come in handy were Rickman to be cast as Roose Bolton, the stern, somber lord of the Dreadfort who unwittingly takes a disguised Arya Stark into his company as a cupbearer.
Our Pick: Sebastian Stan
Yes, Sebastian Stan co-stars as the titular hero's virtuous sidekick, Bucky Barnes, in the big-screen "Captain America." But somehow this young actor has always looked vaguely villainous to us (blame those piercing eyes and his stint on "Gossip Girl"), which makes him perfect for the part of Roose Bolton's sadistic bastard son Ramsay Snow. No matter how ugly the job, Ramsay performs it with a scary smile.
Our Pick: Rachel Hurd-Wood
One of the big storylines for Season 2 will likely involve Jon Snow heading over the Wall to find the mysterious Mance Rayder, a former Night's Watch man who is now allied with the wildings that inhabit the frozen North. While hunting Mance, Jon captures a wilding girl name Ygritte, who has red hair so bright that those around her often say she's been "kissed by fire." A natural redhead, Rachel Hurd-Wood wouldn't have to undergo any Kirsten Dunst-like dye jobs to play Ygritte, and she also knows a few things about how to handle lost boys like Jon after playing Wendy Darling in the 2003 version of "Peter Pan."
Our Pick: Will Shadley
Orphaned at a young age, 12-year-old Podrick Payne eventually follows his deceased father into the squiring business, serving as the squire to Tyrion Lannister. While generally meek and quiet, Podrick rises to the occasion in a crucial moment to aid his new master. Cherubic child actor Will Shadley previously worked with Jackie Chan in "The Spy Next Door," so one imagines he picked up some moves that could come in handy here.
Belwas The Strong
Our Pick: Michael Chiklis
Bald, muscular enforcer Belwas becomes the bodyguard of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) while she attempts to raise the funds to make the journey to Westeros from the eastern city of Qarth. When you're a target for assassination, who would you want protecting you besides the guy that played former LAPD bad boy Vic Mackey? Not only is Michael Chiklis physically intimidating and impressively bald, he also recently outed himself as a Shakespeare scholar, so he could probably master an English accent.
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