It may be a blessing that keeps things fresh or a frustrating curse that inhibits your ability to be invested in the ancillary characters on the show, but Game of Thrones‘ cast is both massive and seemingly ever-changing, save for a few staples that the show wouldn’t dare remove… right?
Because of this, we thought it might be advantageous to look through the resumes of a few cast-members who either made an impact last season or could make an impact this season. With that said, this is by no means a comprehensive list. Notable omissions include Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, and Sophia Turner because they mostly got their first big break with Game of Thrones, and Diana Rigg and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, whose past roles you likely know well (Emma Peel in The Avengers and Mr. Eko on Lost). Where’s the fun in talking about that when we can instead recall Peter Dinklage’s time as a drunken Lothario and mathematician working to understand aliens? Exactly.
You probably know Headey from her performance as Queen Gorgo in 300 and as Ma-Ma in Dredd, but she also played Kitty Brydon — Mowgli’s love interest — in the Jason Scott Lee/Cary Elwes starring Jungle Book adaptation that Disney released in 1994.
Dinklage played Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past long after he established himself with performances in 2003’s The Station Agent and 2007’s Death at a Funeral, but a lot of people forget that Game of Thrones isn’t the first TV work for the 2011’s Emmy Award winner. Launched in 2005 from the pen of David Goyer and Brannon Braga, Threshold told the story of a task force that was responsible for handling humanity’s first contact with extra terrestrials. The show starred Carla Gugino, Charles S. Dutton, Brent Spiner (Data!), and Dinklage as a hard-partying mathematician. He also had a lengthy arc on Nip/Tuck, the show that put creator Ryan Murphy on the map prior to Glee and American Horror Story. In case you’re wondering, the image atop the article is from Little Bit of Heaven, one of Dinklage’s lesser-known roles, albeit one with a major mustache.
Before he played the Kingslayer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau starred in New Amsterdam, a short-lived Fox series from that could be described as being similar to ABC’s Forever, but with an immortal character who was a cop instead of a medical examiner. Coster-Waldau has also had supporting roles in Wimbledon and Firewall to name a few.
Iain Glen has starred in six Jack Taylor TV movies in Ireland (it’s his Jesse Stone chronicles!), but before he landed that role and his role as Jorah on Game of Thrones, he played the villainous Dr. Isaacs in the Resident Evil franchise and Octavian in two Season 5 Doctor Who episodes among, of course, a plethora of other roles during a lengthy career that got started in the ’80s.
The man they call Littlefinger played Mayor Tommy Carcetti in The Wire, Stuart Jones in the original Queer as Folk, a CIA operative in The Dark Knight Rises, and a villain in Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Knights before he schemed his way up the ladder in King’s Landing.
Indira Varma debuted last season as Ellaria Sand and will return as a regular cast member this season. Prior to her work on Game of Thrones, Varma played played Idris Elba’s ex on Luther, Christopher Chance’s benefactor on Human Target, and Suzie on Torchwood. Poor, misguided Suzie.
Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) is on the rise, nabbing the role of Cressida in The Hunger Games series and starring roles in upcoming films The Forest and Patient Zero. Prior to working as the woman who would be Queen on Game of Thrones, Dormer appeared on one season of the UK series The Fades and co-starred in The Tudors as Anne Boleyn.
The second Daario, Huisman replaced new Deadpool villain Ed Skrein in the role prior to last season, and he had a few palpably intense moments beside the Mother of Dragons and a memorable tush reveal. Prior to Game of Thrones, he co-starred in David Simon’s Treme, flirted hard with Tammy Taylor on Nashville, and got familiar with the clone club on Orphan Black.
Before he developed a lust for the throne as Stannis Baratheon, Stephen Dillane co-starred as a UK corespondent in Welcome to Sarajevo and played Merlin and Thomas Jefferson, respectively, in King Arthur and the HBO John Adams miniseries.
Prior to playing Stannis’ right-hand man Davos on Game of Thrones, Liam Cunningham most notably co-starred in The Wind that Shakes the Barley and had supporting roles in the Clash of Titans remake and in First Knight, where he played a Knight of the Round opposite Richard Gere and Sean Connery.
Jodhi May will debut this season as Maggy the Frog. Previously, she popped up on Strike Back and burst onto the scene almost 30 years ago in A World Apart, as well as The Last of the Mohicans.
You’ve basically seen new cast member Jonathan Pryce in everything over the last 40 years. He co-starred with Al Pacino and Jack Lemon in Glengarry Glen Ross as a nervous investor, played Madonna’s husband in Evita, Elizabeth Swan’s father in Pirates of the Caribbean, the president in the G.I. Joe films, a Bond villain, and he has also appeared in Terry Gilliam films like Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Pryce will play High Sparrow this season on Game of Thrones.
Castle-Hughes will debut as Obara Sand, one of the Sand Snakes — Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters — this season. Thirteen years ago, she played Pai in Whale Rider, a performance that earned her an Academy Award nomination. She also played the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story and the Queen of Naboo in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.