Fresh off three major Emmy nominations for Game Of Thrones, HBO has announced a trio of new cast members. Carice van Houten, Stephen Dillane and Liam Cunningham will join the cast for Season 2.

Easily the biggest player as far as the larger Game of Thrones story is concerned is Dillane, who’ll take the role of Stannis Baratheon. Stannis is the late King Robert’s younger brother (but older than “King” Renly), the true successor that Eddard Stark tried to set on the throne instead of Prince Joffrey.

[Mild SPOILERS Below]

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Stannis rules Dragonstone, where he stews and plots his conquest with the help of his primary adviser, Davos Seaworth, played by Cunningham. Davos is a former smuggler who joined Stannis’ court after breaking a blockade and saving his life.

Easily the most incendiary element at Dragonstone is Houten’s role, the foreign priestess Melisandre. The sorceress is highly influential with Stannis’ wife, and eventually convinces him to enter the game, creating a four-way war for the Iron Throne.

Stephen Dillane and Carice van Houten. Above: Liam Cunningham

Carice van Houten is a Dutch-born actress best know for female leads in dramas such as Valkyrie and Black Book. Readers will know Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson from the HBO miniseries John Adams, and Irish actor Liam Cunningham will be comfortable as a warrior after working on Clash of the Titans and Showtime’s recently-cancelled Camelot. Cunningham won an Irish Television and Film Award for his performance in The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

As with previous additions Gwendoline Christie and Natalie Dormer,  the cast additions have given strong performances without breaking out into more recognizable star territory, a la Sean Bean. Considering the generally positive reaction of novel fans to the cast thus far, viewers should have nothing to worry about for Season 2. The five new characters cast represent the most important additions from the source material’s second book.

If you’d like to get a recap of the events of George R. R. Martin’s second Game of Thrones book, and by extension all of the biggest events of Season 2, check out Screen Rant’s Game of Thrones season 2 Spoiler Guide.

HBO will be hosting a Game of Thrones panel at the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday, July 21st. If you can’t get to San Diego, keep an eye on Screen Rant’s Comic-Con page for the latest news.

Game of Thrones is filming the new season in Europe right now, with a spring 2012 debut planned on HBO.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

Source: Entertainment Weekly