‘Game of Thrones’ lands Diana Rigg, Mackenzie Crook and more

HBO made a slew of Season 3 casting announcements as part of the “Game of Thrones” panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con on Friday (July 13) afternoon, filling out fan-favorite roles and landing some big name stars.
Certainly the biggest name to join the “Game of Thrones” cast is Diana Rigg, who will be playing Lady Olenna, grandmother of Margaery and Loras Tyrell. The character, dubbed The Queen of Thorns, is the political powerhouse of the Tyrell family, because anything less would be a waste of Rigg, a five-time Emmy nominee (and winner for the 1997 production of “Rebecca) best known for her iconic role in “The Avengers.”
Also coming into “Game of Thrones” with an established fan base is Mackenzie Crook, who will play Orell, a wildling whose status as a warg gives him rather particular powers. One of the stars of the original “The Office,” Crook had been linked with another Season 3 role, that of Vargo Hoat, a rumor that was apparently just misdirection.
When it comes to fan-favorite characters, few changes from book-to-TV attracted more attention than the absence of Meera and Jojen Reed in the second season. Both characters, who become involved with Bran Stark, have now been cast. Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who you’ll certainly recognize from “Love Actually,” will play Jojen, while Ellie Kendrick (“Upstairs Downstairs”) will play Meera.
Fans have also wondered about the arrival of Catelyn Stark’s uncle Brydon Tully, best known as The Blackfish. Clive Russell has officially landed that key role. Tobias Menzies, meanwhile, as been cast as Catelyn’s brother Edmure. 
We’re going to be learning more about Stephen Dillane’s Stannis Baratheon, with Tara Fitzgerald landing the role as his wife, Selyse, with Kerry Ingram playing his daughter Shireen.
Newly added for Season 3 are Nathalie Emannuel as Missadei, Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr, Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, Philip McGinley as Anguy, Anton Lesser as Qyburn and Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion. [Some of those names will excite fans of the book, while others may draw variably blank stares.]
One name that’s missing is the casting of King Beyond the Wall Mance Rayder. Stay tuned.
Season 3 of “Game of Thrones” will premiere on March 31, 2013 on HBO.

Read full coverage of the “Game of Thrones” Comic-Con Panel.