Many fans of HBO’s hugely popular historical fantasy show Game of Thrones are both eagerly anticipating and dreading the start of season 4. Eagerly anticipating it because of the show’s consistent high quality and gripping plots keep viewers coming back; dreading it because of promises from star Kit Harington that season 4 will get even more bloody and merciless.

Game of Thrones proved by the end of its first season that no character was safe from getting the chop and the death toll has been rising quite steadily since then. Luckily, each season has also ushered in a new wave of characters for us to fall in love with… so that it can hurt all the more when they’re killed off as well.

There’s still quite a wait for Game of Thrones fans, since season 4 won’t air until next spring, but news regarding the addition of new cast members has been coming in steadily. EW now reports that young British actor Joel Fry (10,000 B.C.) has been given the role of Hizadahr zo Loraq, one of the upcoming new additions to the Essos storyline.

Hizdahr is a wealthy nobleman of Meereen, another slave city that Daenerys Targaryen comes across during her conquest, who plays a significant role in Daenerys’ life during the fifth novel in the Game of Thrones series, “A Dance With Dragons.” By the end of Games of Thrones‘ third season, Daenerys’ story was partway through the events of the third book, “A Storm of Swords,” but since “A Dance of Dragons” runs concurrently with the fourth book, “A Feast for Crows,” it makes sense that the showrunners would want to mix up elements from both books.

Casting director Nina Gold has given Game of Thrones fans plenty of reasons to have faith in new announcements, even for relatively unknown actors, as Game of Thrones boasts a particularly excellent ensemble cast with very few weak links. Fry’s biggest international role to date was a supporting part in Roland Emmerich’s prehistoric action movie 10,000 B.C., but since then he’s been steadily working his way through British comedy series like White Van Man and Plebs.

The addition of Hizdahr gives us an idea of just how far along in the books’ plot season 4 of Game of Thrones will go. For fans of the show who haven’t yet read the source material, are you considering picking up Martin’s novels and reading ahead before season 4 begins? Or do you like being surprised by the show?

Game of Thrones will return to HBO in spring 2014.

Source: EW