The new cast members introduce themselves, and gush about the show.
I'm rereading the books by George R. R. Martin right now, I just played the Game of Thrones board game, we were talking about the tabletop RPG from Green Ronin in the office today, and I just watched a couple of new video features on the upcoming season on HBO.com. I'm swimming in Game of Thrones material right now and loving every minute of it. Although season two departed from the books in a couple of small but significant ways - check our podcast on the show to see what we thought - I'm still very excited to see the third book A Storm of Swords dramatized on the small screen. The first video from HBO highlights what's to come in season three and, briefly, let me travel to faraway places like the Riverlands, Slaver's Bay and beyond the Wall.
Showrunners David Benihoff and D.B. Weiss agree season three is the core of the story, because A Storm of Swords has so much happen in it. The video is full of bombastic prattling about how great the show is, but there's a few glimpses of scenes I can't wait to see. Cersei and Margeary walking down the steps before the Iron Throne, Arya and Gendry watching the Hound fight - I assume - and the Queen of Thorns standing in court garb beside her granddaughter were highlights for me.
But there's a couple of things that give me pause about the next video introducing the new cast members - beware minor spoilers ahead. First off, I thought Mackenzie Crook - he of Pirates of the Carribbean fame - was set to play the sellsword Vargo Hoat. He would have been an excellent choice to play the lisping leader of the Brave Companions, but in this video he says he plays Orell. Orell is the wildling shapechanger that Jon Snow kills when he takes Ygritte. Orell's consciousness inhabits the eagle he had bonded, and that's why the eagle scratches Snow's face when he's traveling with Mance Rayder. Crook says he's playing Orell, but Orell is already dead ... unless the show will further deviate from the books.
The other thing that feels off is the new casting for Beric Dondarrion. Back in season one, we see Dondarrion ordered by the still-alive Eddard Stark to go chase down the Mountain. It's a brief scene, but memorable because fans of the books like me cheered the brief gander, knowing his role would be important later on. Now Richard Dormer is playing the Lightning Lord, and the continuity the show has built is diminished somehow.
That's not all. Jojen Reed is too old, Meera Reed is too young, but I'm glad at least they are now involved in the show. I don't know how they will retcon their introduction, but the rest of the story won't make sense without the involvement of the two children from Greywater Watch.
Picking of nits aside, I will be watching season 3 avidly when it premieres on March 31, 2013.