By Carrie Bell | Yahoo! TV – Mon, Mar 25, 2013 1:03 PM PDT
The cast dishes on Ciaran Hinds, Diana Rigg, and (spoiler!) a giant arriving in Westeros this season.
Helen Sloan/HBO - Mance Raydar (Ciaran Hinds) and Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) in "Game of Thrones" Season 3.
SPOILER ALERT: This post contains storyline and character spoilers for the third season of "Game of Thrones."
With 27 series regulars and hundreds of guest stars, day players, and extras wandering in and out of Westeros and points beyond, keeping track of who's who on "Game of Thrones" is almost as big a feat as planning the Battle of Blackwater Bay. That task isn't going to get any easier when Season 3, which was shot by three units across five countries and promises plenty of fresh faces, begins March 31 on HBO.
Arguably, the most major addition to the cast was Ciaran Hinds. One, his resumé is as respected as Tywin Lannister's and almost as long as the feared coming winter, with "Rome," "Harry Potter," "Political Animals," and "There Will Be Blood" among the highlights. Two, he is portraying Mance Rayder, the ex-Night's Watchman who united 90 clans into one Wildling army currently moving in on the Wall. Rose Leslie (Ygritte) admitted at the junket last week in Beverly Hills to being a tad starstruck as "we've been watching him from a young age. Phenomenal."
Kit Harington, whose Jon Snow is trying to infiltrate the camp and must get Rayder to trust him, was also in awe. "He's a wonderful, wonderful man, and for someone who hadn't read the books and hadn't even seen the show when he joined and did his first few scenes, he nailed the character. That's the mark of the man's genius and genius of the writing."